Brazilian Tapioca Crêpes
I chose this recipe to share with you from Baklava to Tarte Tatinby Bernard Laurance because it is so different from any others here on Bakepedia, because it is easy and because it is exemplary of the world of desserts that we have to explore. How simple, yet how delectable. A tender crepe, filled with bananas and dulce de leche; these make a great brunch dish. Tour the world through dessert recipes with Bernard and don’t miss his Paris-Brest as well.
From Baklava to Tarte Tatin: A World Tour in 110 Dessert Recipes, by Bernard Laurance. © Flammarion, S.A., Paris, 2015. Recipe Photography by Amélie Roche
I first tasted this unusual and delicious dessert in Rio de Janeiro, but at first I couldn’t quite figure it out. It was called tapioca, but didn’t look anything like the tapioca pearls I knew from home. In fact, this crêpe is made with tapioca flour. Tapioca flour comes from the manioc root, also known as cassava, and has a high degree of moisture. This means that tapioca flour can be used to make a crêpe that cooks in a pan all on its own without any added ingredients. It’s quite magical. Since it only cooks on one side, the crêpe has an ever-so-lightly grilled taste—utterly delicious! The crêpe can be filled with whatever you please. And contrary to what you might think, tapioca flour is not that hard to find. You can buy it in Asian supermarkets and online.
Egg and gluten free
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Sedimentation time: 12 hours or overnight
Resting time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
- 3 ¼ cups (14 oz./400 g) tapioca flour
- 1 ⅔ cups (400 ml) water
- Sliced bananas, sweetened condensed milk, freshly grated coconut, dulche de leche, or yogurt, for filling
- Place the tapioca flour in a large mixing bowl and pour in the water.
- Mix well. The mixture should look like milk. Allow the sediment to sink for 12 hours; do not touch it at all during this period!
- After 12 hours, you’ll see that the water has risen to the top and the starch has gathered at the bottom. To empty the bowl of the water, simply pour it into the sink: the starch will not pour out with the water. At this stage the surface of the flour will be very shiny and you’ll be able to gently press your finger into it. But if you push too hard, the paste will offer some resistance.
- Allow it to rest for an additional hour. More water will rise to the surface. Pour it off and mop up any excess by placing several sheets of paper towel on top of the flour for 20 minutes. The process is done when the surface of the flour is quite dull, with no more shine. If there is still some water remaining, simply mop it up with more paper towels.
- Break up the paste using a fork. Place the pieces in a fine-mesh sieve and push through to make a fine powder.
- To prepare the tapioca crêpes, heat a non-stick pan over medium heat.
- Using a spoon, evenly spread a layer of powder about ¹⁄5 inch (5 mm) thick over the pan. Do not press it down.
- Cover with the lid and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and add the filling of your choice.
- Fold the tapioca crêpe in two and serve.
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