When I was in high school, my mother (the gadget queen) had an electric crepe maker. You plugged it in, dipped the surface in the batter, and when the crepe was browned, you pulled it off. I remember being obsessed with making crepes, mostly savory dishes, filled with (now) retro fillings like tuna and chicken mixed with mayonnaise and topped with lots of cheese.
Last year (I think), my sister Jennifer bought a crepe pan and declared crepes to be her new holiday signature dessert. Was it for New Years’, Jennifer? I don’t recall ever making sweet crepes though. Until now. This week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie is Butter and Rum Crepes, Fancy and Plain.
The batter is what you might expect for pancakes (milk, eggs, flour, melted butter) with some flair (sugar rubbed with citrus zest, dark rum and Grand Marnier). It needs to rest, so I made in the day before I wanted to make the crepes.
I’ll admit that I’m not very good at making regular pancakes. That’s Howard’s job (I was fired years ago). Making crepes is a bit more difficult. I had a hard time figuring out the right amount of batter to pour in and swirl around to get full coverage. I finally settled on using a quarter-cup measure, not quite filled, to scoop from the batter bowl and pour into the pan.
I used the non-stick skillet I use for omelets. Its sides are a bit high and sloping which made it hard to loosen the crepe for turning. A flatter pan might have been worked better for me. I found a rubber spatula worked well to separate those lacy bits from the pan before gently grabbing the edge to flip it over. You definitely need Nonna fingers for this one (that’s those experienced fingers that grandmothers have that don’t feel the burn of touching hot food). It took me most of the batch to get the technique down and feel comfortable. At least the mistakes were tasty.
Dorie suggested leaving the crepes plain (well, they are sprinkled with sugar, so not quite plain) or filling with lemon curd. I had a jar of lemon curd in the fridge, so I didn’t make it from scratch, though I do highly recommend the Lemon Curd recipe in AMFT. For variety, I filled some and left some plain.
To top off the dessert, Dorie gives a recipe for a warm honey-citrus sauce. What are you doing with your leftover sauce?
I liked the crepes. I certainly need more practice to be able to make these with confidence. Miraculously of all, Howard said he wanted a plateful of crepes. Go figure. There isn’t any component of this recipe that I would have predicted he would eat. He said “it was alright”. I don’t know if that’s the truth, or if he’s just gaslighting me.
To see how my Dorista friends made out, check out their links here.
We’ve been on dessert overload at home. There was the Chocolate Chip Cake I made for New Year’s Eve, which lasted through the weekend. Then, there was an apple crisp to help combat the frigid temperatures early in the week. We now have a Meyer Lemon Tart in the refrigerator to celebrate Howard’s birthday.
Because I didn’t plan ahead, there wasn’t really room in the lineup for this week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie: baked apples filled with fruits and nuts. On top of that, baked apples isn’t something Howard eats. Fortunately, it was easy enough to make a one apple version just for me.
After the indulgences of past six weeks or so of the holiday season, a baked apple is a relatively virtuous dessert. I think the recipe’s name in French sounds much more special: pommes au four (apples in the oven). And, it was so simple to make.
You core the apple (melon baller works best, thanks, Diane). Then you peel the top half and score the boundary between peeled and not peeled so it doesn’t explode. The filling can be any combination of your favorite dried fruits and nuts bound together with some honey and a dash of warm spice. I used apricots, prune, golden raisins and cherries for fruit, walnuts and pistachios for nuts, and ginger for spice.
I even used a spoonful of my own honey from the 2012 harvest.
To stuff, a dab of butter goes in the core followed by as much filling as will fit, then another dab of butter on top. The apple bakes in a small amount of apple cider, some more butter, and the apple peelings. This liquid is used to baste the apple while it’s baking.
I ended up eating my lone apple cold for breakfast (see wide array of desserts above) topped with warmed juices. I can’t remember ever making or eating baked apples before, though the taste reminded me of so many apple desserts I’ve had. I liked it, but I’m not sure I’d bother making it just for myself again. So, this might be a one-hit wonder.
I don’t have much else to say today. I hope you are staying warm where you and that the weather is treating you gently. Happy Friday!
You can find the recipe on-line here. As always, the recipe is also in the most-used recipe on my shelf, Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table. To see the combinations my Dorista friends used, check out their links here..