A few weeks ago my cooking pal, Barbara Morse, and I gave a class titled The Art of the Crepe. It had been years since either of us had given such a course, but we were betting that there was a new generation of cooks who had never made crepes. Our gamble certainly paid off. Every seat was filled and our students—both young and older—were all enthusiastic about an evening devoted to making light and airy French pancakes.
We included a tip sheet explaining that either a classic French 7-to 8- inch iron crepe pan or a nonstick skillet of similar size would work. A long, metal spatula for turning crepes in the pan, and a quarter-cup measure rounded out our utensil recommendations.
We explained that it’s best to let the batter rest before using, and that when cooking crepes, we preferred medium high heat so that the batter sizzled slightly when poured into the pan.
That night we prepared six different dishes, ending with dessert crepes filled with apples, apricots, currants, and walnuts sautéed in brown sugar and butter, and rolled into cylinders. Served warm with a sprinkle of confectioner’s sugar and dollops of rum-scented whipped cream, they made a memorable finale to our menu.
If you are a beginning crepe-maker or a lapsed one (like Barb and I) take advantage of this delicious recipe to treat your family and friends to a versatile French favorite!
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Crepes with Apple, Walnuts, and Apricots with Rum-scented Whipped Cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup flat beer (I used Hoegaarden white Belgian beer)
2 large eggs
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups sifted flour
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
Canola oil for the crepe pan
3/4 cup dried apricots, diced into 1/4 -inch pieces
3 tbsp currants
6 tbsp unsalted butter
2 cups diced apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2 –inch cubes (such as Granny Smith)
3 tbsp light brown sugar
1/8 tsp or more powdered cinnamon
1/ 2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped (see cooking tip)
Rum Scented Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy or whipping cream
2 tsp confectioner’s sugar plus extra for sprinkling over the crepes
2 tbsp dark rum (such as Myers’s)
1. For crepes, place milk, beer, eggs, sugar, salt, flour, and melted butter in that order in a food processor. Process until blended and smooth 40 to 50 seconds, stopping the machine to scrape down sides of the bowl if necessary. Strain batter through a fine sieve into a mixing bowl Cover and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.
2. Wipe a 7- to 8-inch French crepe pan (or a nonstick skillet of the same size) with a folded paper towel moistened with canola oil. Set pan over medium high heat and when hot, but not smoking, ladle 1/4 cup batter into it..
3. Immediately remove pan from the heat and swirl the batter in it until a round thin pancake is formed. Place pan back over heat; cook 40 to 60 seconds or until batter is no longer shiny and crepe is set. Underside should be lightly browned. Slide a long, narrow metal spatula under the crepe, then lift the crepe, and turn it to the other side. Cook second side until just golden, 40 to 60 seconds. Stack crepes on a dinner plate and cover each with waxed or parchment paper. Repeat, oiling pan each time, until all batter is used. You should get 10 crepes. (Crepes can be made 2 days ahead; cover with plastic wrap, place in a plastic bag, and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before using.)
4. For filling, place apricots in one bowl and currants in another. Cover each with hot water; let stand until fruit is plumped, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, pat dry, and set aside.
5. In a large, heavy skillet over medium heat, melt butter. When hot add diced apple, and stir until apple pieces are just tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon, tossing and stirring until sugar has dissolved, a minute or less. Add apricots, currants, and walnuts, and stir until mixture is heated through and diced apple is tender but not mushy, 4 to 5 minutes.
5. Divide filling evenly among crepes, spreading 2 to 3 tablespoons down the center of each. Roll into cylinders and place in a baking dish. (Crepes can be assembled 2 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate; bring to room temperature 30 minutes before baking.).
6. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake crepes uncovered until heated through, 6 to 8 minutes.
7.With an electric mixer on medium high speed, whip cream until just firm. Add confectioner’s sugar and then rum and beat a few seconds to combine. Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve crepes sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar alongside the bowl of cream. Makes 10 crepes.
Cooking Tip: To toast walnuts, spread on a rimmed baking sheet and place in a preheated 350° F oven until lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Watch carefully so nuts do not burn. Remove and cool.
Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2018