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 April 2013 - In this Issue:
RECIPE: Crêpes St. Jacques
Improvisation with Crêpes
Cookbook Review
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Crepes, Sweet and Savory

Light and delicate, sweet or savory, crêpes are realizing a renaissance and gaining renewed appreciation as an impressive, yet deceptively easy entrée or dessert presentation.

IN THIS ISSUE, we’re joining the crêpe revival by delving into the basics of making crêpes, then enjoying them folded in a sweet citrusy crêpe, a savory seafood crêpe, then stacked in a very remarkable Gâteau de Crêpes. Crêpes beg for improvisation and we get you started with some inspirational ideas.

Sweet or Savory, Always Delicious
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A Primer on Crepes
RECIPE: Butter and Rum Crepes
RECIPE: Butter and Rum Crepes
RECIPE: Butter and Rum Crepes
Making Crepes
RECIPE: Crepes St. Jacques
RECIPE: Crepes St. Jacques
RECIPE: Crepes St. Jacques
Cookware
Le Creuset Crepe Pan
The shallow sides of this nonstick pan allow easy access and turning of the crêpes. Stay cool handle.
Electric Crepe Maker
Making flawless crepes is quick and easy. This is a great appliance for entertaining or for brunch with the family
Crepe Pan
This Blue Carbon Steel Crepe pan design has remained unchanged since the early seventeeth century
Culinary Torch
Turn the fire on your desserts with this small torch that melts sugar toppings on gâteaus, crème brulee, and more.
Turner
Turning is easy with this broad spatula that supports crêpes, pancakes, and french toast during “the flip.”
Crepe Rake
This Beechwood Crepe Spreader is the perfect tool for making thin, delicious crepes.
Cookware
Improvisation with Crepes
Improvisation with Crepes
Cookware
Balsamic Strawberry Jam
It’s like summer in a jar! Delicious berries have been preserved as jam. The perfect brunch or dessert crepe filling.
Morello Cherries
Dessert toppings are rarely better than this one! If you love cherries, this is the filling for you!
Dulce De Leche
A favorite citrus flavor is captured in this marmalade. Tangerines have a unique citrus taste that you’ll enjoy a lot!
Cookware
RECIPE: Gateau De Crepes
RECIPE: Gateau De Crepes
RECIPE: Gateau De Crepes
Gateau Tricks
Gateau
Gateau Tricks
Cookbook Review
Inspiration
Pinterest Crepes
 

Take pleasure in rediscovering crêpes and unleashing some culinary improvisation in the process!

From all of us at Kitchen Window

Kitchen Window
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Newsletter - Text Version


Crepes - Sweet and Savory

Light and delicate, sweet or savory, crêpes are realizing a renaissance and gaining renewed appreciation as an impressive, yet deceptively easy entrée or dessert presentation.

IN THIS ISSUE, we’re joining the crêpe revival by delving into the basics of making crêpes, then enjoying them folded in a sweet citrusy crêpe, a savory seafood crêpe, then stacked in a very remarkable Gâteau de Crêpes. Crêpes beg for improvisation and we get you started with some inspirational ideas.


A Primer on Crêpes
French in origin, crêpes are found at the fanciest of restaurants, and simultaneously on the streets as a popular walking snack food. Not many foods have this range of performance in popular culture. Once the rage in the 60s and 70s, crêpes are currently enjoying a renaissance along with the current flashback fascination with those decades. It’s a welcome redux on a favorite food.

Perhaps the most intimidating aspect of crêpes is how to pronounce and spell the word! We don’t pretend to be linguistic experts, but to our research, how you spell and pronounce “crêpes” may depend on where you are at the moment. The French spelling places a circumflex above the first “e”. The French pronunciation of “crêpes” uses a short “e” sound, phonetically, “kreps.” Here’s a link to an audio version:
http://www.howjsay.com/index.php?word=crêpes&submit=Submit

The English version of “crepes” drops the accent mark in its spelling, and pronounces the word in a manner that rhymes with “grapes.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRdADIbGr7U

Some say both versions comprise correct usage; today we’ll defer to the French version since crêpes are French in origin though our featured author Dorie Greenspan prefers the English presentation. Looks like two right answers on this topic!


Butter and Rum Crêpes - Crêpes Suzette-like
In true crêpe fashion, our featured author offers her take on this French favorite with a very improvisational style. Her Butter and Rum Crêpes are reminiscent of the famed dish, Crêpes Suzette. This famous dish is said to have originated through error in 1895 when the serving waiter was preparing a dessert crêpe tableside. Warming liqueurs in the sauce caught fire in the process. Undaunted, Henri Charpentier placed the waiting folded crêpes in the flaming sauce, and Crêpes Suzette were born. (Read more of this story by clicking on the recipe picture). While this presentation does not include the flambé aspect, the crêpes and matching sauce feature a citrusy, buttery personality that’s exquisitely delicious. These crêpes are filled with a couple of tablespoons of lemon curd, folded twice into lovely fans, sauced and garnished with fresh orange sections. Serve extra warmed sauce in a small pitcher.

Recipe adapted from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan. Copyright 2010. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York, NY. Reprinted with permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.


Making Crêpes
Crêpes are thin, delicate, egg-based pancakes. While intimidating at first, making crêpes couldn’t be easier! The batter is quite cooperative and did not stick while cooking.

Mixing the Batter in 4 Quick Steps:
Step 1 – Mix together well, the eggs, milk, and any flavorings.
Step 2 – Add the melted butter and mix well.
Step 3 – Add the flour, stir to just combine.
Step 4 – Refrigerate and let the batter rest for at least 2 hours or more.


Cooking the Crêpes:
The size of crêpes you choose to make depends on their intended usage, and the size of pan available. You’ll find crêpe size descriptions ranging from 5–10-inches in diameter.

Step 1 – Heat a shallow pan over medium heat.
Step 2 – Swipe the cooking surface with an oiled paper towel. This may be necessary only for the first crêpe, but repeat between crêpes if required.
Step 3 – Pour 2-3 tablespoons of batter (depending size desired and pan diameter) onto the hot pan and immediately swirl the batter to cover the cooking surface evenly. The batter will cook quickly.
Step 4 – As the batter loses its wet look, lift the crêpe and check the browning on the underside. If nicely golden, flip the crêpe with a broad silicone spatula.
Step 5 – Cook the second side for 30 seconds. (The second side will not show the lovely brown markings like the first side – that’s ok, the second side will be kept inside when folded or rolled.
Step 6 – Remove the cooked crêpe to a waiting dinner plate and allow to cool thoroughly before stacking the next crêpe. Use two plates if needed to alternate the cooling crêpes.

Three Key Tips:
(1) Don’t overmix the batter – it should be smooth with not too many bubbles. It should have the consistency of heavy cream.
(2) Let the batter rest at least 2 hours or overnight. The flour changes composition as it rests.
(3) When adding batter to the crêpe pan, don’t use too much, just enough to coat the surface in a thin layer. Pour off any excess.


Storing Crêpes
Crêpes may be made just prior to enjoying, or made ahead of time and stored for future use. Once the crêpes have cooled, stack and wrap well with plastic wrap. Crêpes may be kept for up to 2 days in the refrigerator. Or, freeze the well-wrapped stack of crêpes and thaw in the refrigerator or microwave when ready to use. A slip of wax paper between the crêpes assists in keeping them from sticking to each other.


Tools for Making Crêpes:
We made three batches of crêpes in preparing this issue and used a different pan each time. A crêpe pan with its very shallow sides was the easiest, but the crêpes were also easily made in a regular stainless skillet and a nonstick skillet as well.

CUISINART 10” NONSTICK CRÊPE PAN - The shallow sides of this nonstick pan allow easy access and turning of the crêpes. Stay cool handle.
MAUVIEL 8” COPPER SKILLET - This French-made copper pan just feels right when making crêpes. The interior stainless performed without sticking.
SWISS DIAMOND 8” NONSTICK SKILLET - Always a kitchen workhorse, the diamond-infused surface is a safe and nonstick. Perfect, too, for eggs and omelets.
CULINARY TORCH - Turn the fire on your desserts with this small torch that melts sugar toppings on gâteaus, crème brulee, and more.
BROAD SILICONE TURNER - Turning is easy with this broad spatula that supports crêpes, pancakes and french toast during “the flip.”
PANCAKE PEN - This dual-ended tool does double duty as a batter storage container and a batter dispenser. Less mess!


Crêpes St. Jacques
The savory side of crêpes is featured in this recipe. The crêpe recipe builds on the basic eggs, milk, butter, and flour, but is reduced in sweetness and omits the flavorings included in the sweet version above. The process of making these crêpes is just as easy, however. The seafood filling for these crêpes features scallops, small shrimp, and quartered button mushrooms sauteed in butter and wine, then added to a béchamel sauce spiked with a generous helping of Gruyère cheese. It’s the type of entrée that is enjoyed deliberately, forkful, by forkful.

Serving Variation: These filled crêpes may be prepared and enjoyed immediately, or rolled and placed side by side in a casserole, topped with additional cheese, baked, and served later or even the next day.


Improvisation with Crêpes

Crêpes, like tortillas, crostini, or other fresh breads, are a versatile vehicle for an endless array of fillings, toppings, and sauces. Crêpes beg for improvisation and are the perfect place to unleash some culinary creativity. Also, like the French, a favorite use of crêpes is as a vehicle for leftovers.

Classic Sweet Crêpe Dishes
Crêpes Suzette – Prepare sweet crêpes with the classic citrus butter sauce with Grand Marnier, flame and served warm.

Bananas Foster Crêpes -- Warm bananas in brown sugar, cinnamon, rum, and butter, flame and serve on vanilla ice cream

Street Crêpes – Top a warm crêpe with butter and sprinkled with sugar. If you like, add a swipe of jam or marmalade.

Crêpes Belle Hélenè – Place sliced, poached pears on top of folded crêpes with ice cream and drizzled chocolate sauce.

Favorite Savory Crêpe Dishes
Spinach Crêpes – Wilt fresh spinach and add to a creamy bechamel sauce. Fill the crêpe with the spinach mixture, top with Fontina cheese.

Mushroom Crêpes – Saute a mixture of cremini, shittake, oyster, and bella mushrooms in butter flavored with a clove of crushed garlic. Add in a tablespoon or two of cream cheese or a chunk of Brie. When all melty, fill the crêpes, roll or fold, top with extra mushroom mix.

Fresh Goat Cheese and Roasted Red Peppers – Spread fresh, herbed, whipped goat cheese on crêpes, place a few strips of roasted red pepper on top, fold and enjoy.

Ham and Cheese – Layer a few caramelized onions on a crêpe, sprinke with ham cut into a small dice, top with a strong, grated Swiss cheese. Fold and warm the crêpe.

Quick & Tasty
Jam or Marmalade – Spread a spoonful of your favorite jam or marmalade on a crêpe, roll or fold, enjoy plated or eaten out of hand.

Hot Fudge Sundae Crêpes – Fill crêpes with vanilla ice cream, fold or roll, drizzle crêpes with hot fudge, top with whipped cream and a cherry

Fruit Pie Crêpes – Fill crêpes with any pie filling, fold or roll, make it a la mode with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Nutella Crêpes – Smear a tablespoon of Nutella on a crêpe, fold and eat out of hand.

Fresh Berry Crêpes – Add a dollop of sweetened mascarpone cheese to a crêpe, top with fresh fruit (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, or your favorite). Roll the crêpes and top with whipped cream and/or a drizzle of chocolate sauce.

Nut Butter Crêpes – Apply a spoonful of your favorite nut butter – almond butter, hazelnut, or even peanut butter. Sliced bananas always seem to complement nut butters.


Ready to Go Fillings and Sauces:

BALSAMIC STRAWBERRY JAM
It’s like summer in a jar! Delicious berries have been preserved as jam. The perfect brunch or dessert crepe filling.

GRIOTTINES MORELLO CHERRIES
Dessert toppings are rarely better than this one! If you love cherries, this is the filling for you!

LA SALAMANDRA DULCE DE LECHE
A favorite citrus flavor is captured in this marmalade. Tangerines have a unique citrus taste that you’ll enjoy a lot!


Gâteau de Crêpes
Another popular presentation of crêpes involves stacking the crêpes instead of folding or rolling. Using twenty crêpes, thick pastry cream is spread in a thin layer. Our interpretation of this recipe included alternating layers of vanilla and chocolate pastry creams. We thought that this would be an interesting presentation, but it far exceeded our expectations for easy assembly and fabulous dining! The layer upon thin layer is eye-catching and dramatic. Your guests will be quite impressed!

Recipe adapted from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan. Copyright 2010. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York, NY. Reprinted with permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

Gâteau Tricks:
(1) Chilled crêpes and pastry cream are key to assembling the Gâteau. Cooled crêpes allow the pastry cream to stick without melting or softening the pastry cream. The pastry creams become thicker as they chill yet are still quite spreadable. The thick cream allows the crêpe layers to stack neatly without any slipping or sliding.
(2) Before cutting, allow the assembled Gâteau to chill thoroughly, at least 4 hours. Use a serrated knife to slice the Gâteau. Wipe the blade clean after each cut.


COOKBOOK REVIEW:

Around My French Table, more than 300 recipes from my home to yours
by Dorie Greenspan – James Beard Award Winning Author
Published in 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York, NY

We’ve focused on just one subject and only a few pages of this fabulous cookbook by talking only about crêpes, but this book is a rich compendium of traditional and new dishes spanning hors d’oeuvres, soups, salads, poultry, meats, seafood, vegetables, grains, and desserts. As Ms. Greenspan describes, this collection is “a mix of old and new, traditional and exotic, store-bought and homemade, simple and complex.” Not at all fussy or effete, the recipe choices are real food intended to be savored and enjoyed as real people. The recipe instructions are clear and complete with all those little notes that Dorie might share with us if she were standing next to us in our kitchen guiding us to success. Beautiful photography, entrancing reading, and lovely eating – all between this book’s covers!


Take pleasure in rediscovering crêpes and unleashing some culinary improvisation in the process!

 

 

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