Seasonal Chef: Making Crepes

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There is nothing better on a lazy morning than cooking with your loved ones. Everyone is in their pajamas and heading to the kitchen. Sounds a little “Norman Rockwell,” but what the heck? Dishes that have many options are always the best when you are faced with different tastes and palates. Crepes happen to fit the bill on that count. Lacy looking thin pancakes can be filled with a wide array of ingredients. Sweet and savory alike work well. Think of it this way: crepes are a canvas to color as you desire.

I also have a few thoughts for last minute gifts for the foodie in your life. With less than a week to shop, I like everyone else, have a couple of ideas for you too. Starting with a crepe pan. You can find them on line at Amazon and at almost every cooking store. Prices range from $20 to $200. All you really need is a good non-stick pan and most skillets will work, but the nice thing about a crepe pan is the shallow edge.

Crepe batter is incredibly easy to make. Simply add all your ingredients to a blender, combine and then let it rest. Resting the batter is important, otherwise you will have rubbery pancakes and that is not good eats! My go-to crepe recipe is one that Alton Brown had on his show nearly 10 years ago. It’s still the best one in my book. I should note that on his recipe it says that it will make 17 crepes. I have done this recipe countless times and get 8 – 8″ crepes, using a 1/4 cup measure in a 9″ pan.

banana

Now for the filling and toppings: as I mentioned above, the sky is the limit. We always have bananas in the house so I decided to use them as the centerpiece and go from there. Caramelizing them is quick and easy

caramelized banana

and adds a nice smoky dimension, not to mention how they look!

Now that I had the base ingredient for my crepe I wanted to add a little something else. Consulting my Flavor Bible inspired me to consider blueberries. The Flavor Bible is another great foodie gift. It reads like a dictionary, with ingredients listed in alphabetical order. It’s literally the one book that never gets placed back on the shelf in my house. I probably pick it up once or twice a week when I am cooking something new.

While your crepe batter is resting in the ‘fridge you, and your extra hands, can busy yourself with the rest of fillings. The blueberry sauce is just a matter of getting it on a back burner to cook down and thicken a little. Fresh blueberries will work too, I just happen to keep a bag of nice big bag of organic ones in the freezer for smoothies.

The last part of this dish is your whipped cream, and I have a few strong thoughts on that as well! This would be the time to skip the tub (basically made up of oil and fructose corn syrup) and the can (cream yes, but also corn syrup) and go right for the real thing. I have had many people say “it takes too long” or “it’s too much effort.”

heavy cream to whip

Not at all! It literally takes exactly 2 minutes (I timed it!) from pouring in the bowl

whipped cream

to getting a perfect consistency. Whipping aside, you don’t need to add any extra sweetness to this dish. The bananas and blueberries will provide enough.

test crepe batter

Just about the time you have the components ready you can make your crepes. Do a little test first to make sure your pan is hot enough. No sense in loosing any batter to a pasty looking first crepe!

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My other tip would be to remind you to add a little canola oil in-between each crepe. Use a paper towel to spread it around. This step will ensure that all of your crepes have a pretty lacy look to them.

crepe panMaking crepes can be a really fun thing to do with kids. It’s a highly requested dish for my cooking classes. With little people you can give them the sense of doing it by holding the pan and swirling.

Make sure you have a little nutella on hand, it’s the most requested crepe filling for 9 out of 1o kids.

Caramelized Banana, Nutella Crepe, Seasonal Chef Maria Reina

 The grown-up version: Caramelized Banana and Nutella Crepe.

Caramelized Banana and Blueberry Crepe

The finished dish: Caramelized Banana and Blueberry Crepes.  All in under an hour with a few hands to help you. If you want to save a little time make the batter the night before and while you are making the crepes you can have the fillings cooking at the same time. Click the link to see the recipe.

Enjoy the holiday and cooking with your family. Buon Natale!

 

 

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About Author

Seasonal Chef blogger Maria Reina comes to the world of food as a third career, spending a great portion of her adult life in the field of Human Resources. With her private company Bella Cucina Maria she is a personal chef, caterer and recreational cooking class teacher in Westchester. She's an avid food television watcher and cookbook collector, always looking for a new take on a traditional dish. In her free time she loves hanging out at local farmer's markets, chatting it up with the farmers and doing cooking demos with their seasonal ingredients. In addition to her blog, which is loaded with easy recipes, you can follow her on Facebook (Bella Cucina Maria), Twitter (Bellacucinam), Instagram (Bellacucinam) and Pinterest (Bellacucinam).

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