Bruléed Mocha Crepe Cake with Chocolate Liqueur Sauce

From 6 Bittersweets
Adapted from Homelife and The Essence of Chocolate
Serves 8

XIAOLU'S NOTES: The chocolate liqueur recipe obviously makes much more than you need for the crepe cake, but it's so easy to make and so delicious in cocktails or sipped with whipped cream that I'd just go ahead and make the whole batch :).

For crepes
5 large eggs, lightly whisked
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
3 Tbsp white sugar [preferably fine/caster]
2 tsp vanilla bean paste OR pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp melted butter, plus more to grease

For filling and topping
8 oz. dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup light cream
1/3 cup espresso
6 to 8 Tbsp white sugar [preferably fine/caster], divided

For sauce
4 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
3 Tbsp light cream or half and half
3 Tbsp espresso
3 Tbsp chocolate liqueur (Recipe below)
3 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp honey (optional)

Blend all the crepe ingredients just until smooth. Set aside for 30 minutes to rest.

Heat an 8-inch non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Brush with melted butter. Pour in enough batter to coat the base of the pan (swirl the pan to coat it evenly with batter immediately). Cook for 1 minute or until lightly golden and just set. Use a spatula to turn and cook for a further 30 seconds or until golden. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining batter, reheating and greasing pan between batches.

To make filling, place chocolate, cream, coffee, and 4 tablespoons of sugar in a heatproof bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water. Use a spatula or heatproof spoon to stir for 5 minutes or until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Taste a tiny bit and add up to 2 more tablespoons of sugar if desired. If more sugar was added, heat the mixture until new sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat; cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until mixture cools and thickens.

Line a 6 to 7-inch springform pan with plastic wrap. Place a crêpe in the pan. Spread with a little filling. Continue layering with crêpes and filling, finishing with a crêpe. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge until chilled and set (at least 3 hours and up to 1 day).

To make chocolate mocha sauce, combine chocolate, cream, coffee, liqueur, sugar, and honey in a heatproof bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water. Stir for 5 minutes or until sauce is smooth.

Turn the cake out onto a clean serving platter. Sprinkle the top of the cake evenly with the remaining 2 tablespoons of white sugar. Then melt the sugar evenly with a kitchen torch to form a crisp caramel topping. Allow to sit at least 5 minutes before serving. Use a sharp knife to cut into wedges. Place on serving plates and drizzle with hot sauce.

Chocolate Liqueur
Makes 3 1/2 cups

5 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup boiling water
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1 cup vodka
3/4 cup heavy cream, for optional topping
Cocoa nibs or chocolate shavings, for optional garnish

In a bowl, dissolve cocoa powder in boiling water. In a saucepan, bring sugar and 3/4 cup of water to a simmer, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add sugar syrup to cocoa syrup. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a jar with a lid. Add the vodka, cover and refrigerate overnight. (It will keep up to 1 month, but will lose potency over time.).

If serving on its own, stir well and strain again through a fine-mesh sieve into a glass until 2/3 full. Top with lightly-sweetened whipped cream, or float heavy cream on top (by holding a spoon with the bowl down and the edge almost touching the liqueur in the glass then pouring cream slowly over the back of the spoon until a layer (1/8 to 1/4-inch deep) floats on top of the liqueur). Garnish with cocoa nibs or chocolate shavings.