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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Dessert Crêpes

Dessert Crêpes served with Raspberry Sauce and Preserves
Please pardon, but for the rest of this post "crêpe" will be written without the diacritic circumflex over the "e." I don't have a French keyboard and typing CTRL+EEE continually is a pain. So, we're going to talk about crepes.

It's strange sometimes how things come at you in waves. Last week I was watching old episodes of Julia and Jacques on HuluPlus and they were doing classic French Crepes. They looked delicious and after watching them they didn't seem that hard. After all, I'd always heard that doing a crepe was a bit of culinary magic - most people ended up with pancakes instead. I filed it away as something to try in the future. Then my latest copy of Cook's Illustrated arrived and they'd taken Julia's recipe and made a few tiny changes to it and proclaimed it "Foolproof!" Was it really foolproof? Could someone who grew up on pancakes really make a crepe right out of the gate?

Last night for dinner I decided to make crepes for dessert. I pulled out the Cook's Illustrated recipe and got to work. My only change was to use a smaller skillet because my large skillet is not non-stick. Instead of a 12-inch I used an 8-inch skillet. I also added some butter to the inside of the crepes when folding because I like the flavor of butter and it helped the sugar to stick better.

The result? It worked. I turned out very light and delicious crepes the first time out. It took me about 3 or 4 to get the real hang of it, but eventually I fell into a rhythm and had a huge stack ready to go. Of course, I then flirted with the idea of Julia's Crepe Gateau which is layers and layers of crepes separated by Raspberry Jam and coated with chocolate ganache. In the end I decided to go simple. I buttered the inside of the crepes, sprinkled them with sugar and topped with raspberry sauce and warm raspberry preserves.

By the way - crepes freeze wonderfully! If you find that a whole batch is too many for one use, simply freeze the remainder (before folding) then thaw them out when you want to have crepes again! 

: Dessert Crêpes
: Light and thin crepes that even the novice can turn out perfectly!

  • 1/2-1 tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. sugar plus 8 tsp. for sprinkling
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tbs. unsalted butter, melted and cooled plus 2 tbs. melted for brushing inside of crepes
  1. Place oil in small prep bowl or shallow dish. Place a 12-inch skillet on a burner turned to low and lightly brush with oil using a pastry brush. Allow skillet to heat for 10 minutes.
  2. While skillet is heating, whisk together flour, 1 tsp. sugar, and salt in medium bowl. In separate bowl, whisk together milk and eggs. Add half of milk mixture to dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Add melted butter and whisk until incorporated. Whisk in remaining milk and egg mixture until smooth.
  3. Increase heat to medium and heat skillet for 1 minute. Test heat by placing 1 tablespoon of batter in center of pan. Wait 20 seconds and flip the mini-crepe. If it is golden brown on the bottom, the pan is ready. If too light, increase the heat and retest. If too dark, decrease the heat and retest. When temperature is correct, proceed.
  4. Pour 1/4 cup of batter into far side of pan and tilt and shake pan gently to cover bottom of pan. Cook crepe without moving it until top surface is dry and edges begin to brown (you'll also notice the lacy edges begin to leave the bottom of the pan slightly). Gently slide a spatula under the edge of the crepe and grasp edge with fingertips. Flip the crepe over. Cook until second side is lightly spotted (about 20 seconds). Transfer crepe to wire rack and invert so spotted side is up. Return pan to heat and allow to reheat for 10 seconds. If necessary, brush bottom of pan with a bit more oil with the pastry brush. Repeat with remaining batter.
  5. Melt remaining 2 tbs. butter in a small shallow dish. Transfer stack of crepes to a large microwave safe plate and cover with second microwave safe plate. Microwave on high power for 30-60 seconds. Remove top plate and dry with paper towel. Using a pastry brush, brush the upper half of top crepe with melted butter and sprinkle with 1 tsp. of sugar. Gently fold the bottom, un-buttered half over the top then fold from edge to edge to create a triangle. Place crepe on clean plate and continue with remainder of crepes. Serve warm with choice of toppings or whipped cream.
I found using a ladle to be very helpful in pouring the batter into the pan.
If you put too much batter in the pan, simply tilt it and pour excess back into bowl for reuse. If you put too little batter, simply add some more immediately and it will incorporate into the crepe.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Cooking time: 30 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4
Meal type: dessert
Culinary tradition: French

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