Pasadena is not all about rose queens and debutantes, or penny loafers and posh hotels. Along the edges, nearing the fringe Bijouxs and the Baker (that’s me); inspired by art & culture, the storied past of Pasadena, more underground than paseo more after hours than high tea, more pop art than prep school, created an unexpected gem. A confection well loved in the tea salons of Paris, transforms to lust worthy in the Altier of Bijouxs.
Bijouxs and The Baker met at camp and instantly bonded over immaculately curated bunk rooms think pendleton blankets, leather steamer trunks and vintage oil lamps and an aversion to mingling. It was no surprise to learn they both hail from Pasadena. It was an instant friendship bonding while breaking bread. Not clear who said it first, but both agree; Pasadena can be sexy and hip and well ahead of the curve. It just doesn’t want everyone to know. Now the secret is out.
Lynn and i have collaborated on an amazing dessert: preppy handbook meets laduree.
Lynn gray of Bijouxs is an artist in the kitchen. She brings a designer’s palate to food. When the light casts like chiffon in my kitchen, I close my eyes and wander my mind to the Bijouxs studio to watch my simple dessert of crepes and custard become art.
Makes 1-9-inch cake
Green Tea Crepes
3 cups milk
1 tablespoon matcha (green tea powder)
4 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
7 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups flour
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend very well. Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to overnight. Heat a 9-inch non-stick crepe pan over medium heat. Hold the crepe pan in one hand, while using a measuring cup or ladle to spoon a bit of batter with your other hand into the middle of the pan. Gently swirl the pan, moving the batter to make a thin pancake the same size as the base of your pan. Place back on heat and allow it to cook, but not brown. The top of the crepe will become dry. Turn and quickly cook the second side. Turn out onto a platter and proceed with the remaining batter. This recipe makes about a dozen crepes.
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
6 ounces fresh raspberries
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
6 egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 ounces butter
Pinch kosher salt
1 tablespoon Chambord liquer (optional)
Whirl the raspberries, buttermilk and sugar in a blender until the raspberries are fully pureed. Pour through a strainer into a heavy saucepan. In a bowl whisk the egg yolks with cornstarch and salt. Heat the buttermilk mixture over low heat until it simmers. Remove from heat and slowly pour over the egg mixture while whisking the eggs. Return the mixture back to the saucepan, turn heat to medium and continually stir until thickened. Allow the custard to become a bit thicker than you would for a soft pudding. Place the butter and Chambord (if using) in a clean bowl. Run the custard through a sieve (to remove any lumps) into the bowl. Stir to melt and incorporate butter and Chambord. Continue to stir until the temperature drops a bit. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the custard and place in the refrigerator to cool and firm (can be made a day in advance)
Whip 2 cups cream with 1 tablespoons powdered sugar until peaks form. Mix in 50/50 with the cooled raspberry custard.
12-15 green tea crepes
1 batch raspberry filling
Granulated or demerara sugar
Place one crepe on your serving platter. Spread a 1/4 inch layer of filling over the crepe using care not to go fully to the edge. Place a crepe on top. Continue layering until you have used all crepes and filling. The cake should be 10-15 crepes high. Cover and place in the refrigerator and allow to firm up. This can be done a day in advance.
Before you are ready to serve, remove from the refrigerator. Sprinkle a nice layer of sugar over the top and torch until crisp. Sprinkle a second layer of sugar and torch again. This will give you a nice thick crunch on top. Slice and serve while still chilled.