This torta not only looks pretty when served but it’s easy to make. You have to factor in a couple of hours for it to set in the refrigerator though, so assemble it the night before or a couple of hours before baking.
For the dessert, I’m using my basic crepe recipe which I’ve posted on this site previously and then assembled it according to my recipe below. If you want a really tall cake, make two batches of the crepe recipe. I’m okay with just one batch. Search “crepes” in the search box on the left for the basic crepes.
Ingredients for main dish
1 large eggplant
olive oil as needed
sea salt as needed
1/4 tsp of white pepper
1 lb of ground veal
1 lb of carrots
1/2 tsp dried thyme or 1 tsp fresh
1 bay leaf
1 tsp minced garlic
4 oz white wine
8 oz of good quality jarred tomato sauce or use your own
8 oz of milk
1 lb of penne pasta
Ingredients for Gateau de Crepes
1 or 2 batches of my basic crepe recipe (search this site)
1 lb of shelled walnuts
1/2 lb of semi sweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 TB butter
1 jar of seedless raspberry preserves
fresh raspberries to garnish
Vanilla ice cream for serving
Method for dessert
Make 1 or 2 batches of my basic crepe recipe found on this site. Place the walnuts in a food processor and buzz until ground into tiny pieces. In a bowl, thin the preserves with a TB of water, mixing with a whisk. Place a crepe on the serving platter and spread with the thinned preserves and sprinkle the walnuts over. Repeat with all the crepes. Heat the cream and butter to a boil. Place chopped chocolate in a glass bowl and pour the cream/butter mixture over it. Stir to combine and pour just enough over the cake to cover and run down the sides in a decadent manner. (My favorite part!) If you have leftover ganache, refrigerate and use a melon baller to scoop ganache and roll with your hands into truffles to garnish the top or around the bottom of the cake. (You can roll them in crushed pistachio or coconut or leftover ground walnut.) Keep truffles refrigerated until 1/2 hour before serving.
Method for main dish
Slice eggplant thinly, lengthwise and place in a colander over a bowl or pie plate. Salt generously with 2 tsp of sea salt, making sure all the eggplant is salted. Put another bowl on top of the eggplant to weigh it down. All the bitter liquid in the eggplant will drain this way. Allow to sit for ten minutes up to 1/2 an hour.
Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, put about 2 TB of olive oil and heat over high heat. Add the veal and about 2 tsp of sea salt. Saute until browned and broken into small bits. (Tip: use a potato masher, if necessary to break up the meat.) Add onion and carrot to food processor and buzz until they are tiny pieces. Add to the meat and add a little more sea salt, add the pepper, bay leaf, thyme and garlic. Saute until the vegetables are soft. Deglaze with the white wine and add the sauce. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Turn down the heat to low and add the milk. Allow to simmer until sauce is slightly thickened, then test for seasoning.
Boil the pasta according to package directions. After draining, put back in the pot and add the sauce so that all the pasta is coated with the sauce. If it is too thick, add a little more milk.
In a frying pan, add a splash of olive oil and turn the heat to high. Add slices of the eggplant and saute until golden on both sides. If they are getting too charred, lower the heat slightly. You will have to keep adding olive oil now and then because the eggplant will soak it up. Another alternative is use something like a George Forman grill to grill the eggplant and you won’t need to use so much oil. I personally don’t mind the olive oil.
Spray a glass or ceramic deep-dish casserole or pie dish with cooking spray or coat with olive oil. Add slices of eggplant around the bottom with each slice hanging over the side about 3 inches. Add pasta up to the top of the dish. Use the overhanging eggplant to fold back over the top and cover the pasta. Add a couple slices to the middle on top, if needed. Put a plate on top and a large can to weigh it down and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to a day. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F and bake for 1/2 an hour. Cover loosely with foil and bake another 1/2 hour. Allow to cool slightly and run a knife around the edge. Invert onto a serving plate. Slice into wedges and serve.