Thursday, March 18, 2010

Crêpes au fromage + Strawberry crêpes

This recipe is for very simple, yet delicious crêpes au fromage. I must confess that I've never made crêpes before. I have tried making dosa, a South Indian rice crêpe, but they never turned out very good. For my first crêpe-making adventure, I decided to turn to the mad scientist/MacGyver of food: Alton Brown. His recipe was so easy- you mix the batter in a blender! And the crêpes turned out mouthwateringly perfect.

The Perfect Crêpes
2 large eggs
3/4 cup lowfat milk
1/2 cup water
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 tsp salt

Extra butter for coating the pan

In a blender, combine all of the ingredients and pulse for 10 seconds. Pour into bowl and refrigerate covered for 2 hours. Allowing the batter to rest reduces gluten formation so the crêpes will be thiner and also allows air bubbles to escape so the crêpes will not tear as much. Alton says the batter will keep for up to 48 hours.

Heat a small 6" non-stick skillet on medium heat. Butter the pan.  Pour 3 tblsp of batter into a 1/2 cup measuring cup. Lift skillet at an angle. Pour 3 tblsp of batter into the center and tilt skillet to coat bottom evenly with batter. Cook for 1 minute until top is set and center is lifted by air pockets. Lift edges with spatula, slip under crêpe and flip. Cook for about 45 seconds until golden brown spots form on bottom.

Transfer to large cutting board to cool. The first one may not turn out perfect. Repeat until all batter is used, buttering the pan every 2 or 3 crêpes. If pan gets too hot, wipe quickly with a wet paper towel. Lay each crêpe flat on the cutting board to cool. Once cooled, stack the crêpes. Can store in a ziploc bag in the refrigerator for a few days or in the freezer for up to two months. Makes about 15 crêpes.

I think I will use the stack of crêpes for a gâteau de crêpes. I'm thinking either a savory dish with shiitake and cremini mushrooms, gruyère, and chives or a sweet dish with layers of vanilla pastry cream. For now, I made crêpes au fromage from the first two not-so-perfect looking-but-still-mouthwatering crêpes.

Crêpes au fromage
1/4 cup cave aged gruyère, shredded
fresh ground pepper
1 tsp fresh herbs, finely chopped (I used tarragon but thyme and/or chives would work too) 
2 crêpes

Heat large nonstick skillet. Meanwhile sprinkle gruyère on one half of crêpe. Season with fresh herbs. The cave aged gruyère is pretty salty so it is not necessary to add salt. Pepper however is a must. Fold the crêpe over. Cook on skillet for 2 minutes, flip and cook on other side for 1 minute. Serve immediately with side of bitter greens with lemon vinaigrette.

UPDATE March 21
I made some delicious crêpes with strawberry sauce the other day and wanted to share the recipe. These crêpes make a tasty dessert or a lovely addition to brunch and are much, much lighter than using a cream cheese based strawberry filling.

Crêpes with Strawberry Sauce
1/8 cup Grand Marnier
1.5 tsp sugar
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
8 oz fresh strawberries, quartered and stems removed
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp powered sugar
small piece of chocolate for grating (optional)
2 crêpes

In heavy saucepan, heat Grand Marnier, sugar, and fresh lemon juice on medium heat. Add fresh strawberries. Cover and let simmer for 5 min, until soft. Remove from heat. Transfer 1/3 of strawberries with slotted spoon to food processor and puree. Keep separate.

In small bowl, beat 1/4 cup cold heavy whipping cream with 1 tsp powdered sugar until peaks form.

Spoon pureed sauce onto center of plate. Place strawberry filling on edge of crepe and roll. Repeat with another crepe. Place crisscrossed over sauce. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and top with fresh whipped cream. If desired, grate chocolate on top.

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