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For the Love of Crepes

April 27, 2010

I experienced a moment of bliss sitting on my couch Sunday evening, enjoying a chocolate crepe filled with Nutella, bananas, & slivered almonds, and smothered in Creme Anglaise. These were the leftovers from a very wonderful Saturday brunch, fit to feed a group of runners after an exciting 5K race (more on that later).

I received a crepe pan from my brother for Christmas (best brother ever, thanks to his girlfriend!). A (the boyfriend) and I have been experimenting with crepes since this wonderful contraption entered my apartment!

Rewind for a moment to September, when I received a gift certificate for a cooking demonstration (for 2) to The Chopping Block in Chicago. A & I had be scouring the website every once & awhile, waiting for the perfect class to take. Everything looked delicious and educational, but I just couldn’t bring myself to sign up for one, they all looked too good!

Well anyways, the stars aligned when I saw the name “For the Love of Crepes” on the schedule. Although we doubted whether or not it was worth spending a whole class learning the art of the thin pancake, I followed the little voice in my stomach and clicked the button to get us on the class list.

IT. WAS. AMAZING. Our instructor was the marvelous Hugh Amano (he worked on the show “Good Eats”, which made me WAY too excited). Hugh demonstrated everything from chopping techniques to “tempering”, and made sure to do plenty of passing around for sniffing & observing.

A pre-breakfast parfait

The most nerve-wrecking part of the class was when Hugh asked for volunteers to do some crepe flipping. Now, I had plenty of experience with flipping my crepes at home using a long spatula, but this was not the flipping of that sort. Hugh wanted us to flip the crepe INTO THE AIR. A volunteered to go first, because he is brave like that…


A perfect flip, my hero!

Not one to jump up in front of people if I can help it, I thought that I had made it home free. However, there were chocolate crepes to be flipped after we devoured our savory crepes, and Hugh was going to make us work for our food. After much convincing, I got up to gift it a shot…

Oh snap!

 The crepe flew so high into the air that at that moment, I thought that there was NO chance of catching it! By some miracle however, the crepe landed flat in the pan, and hence the look of pure shock and suprise on my face! The class applauded, and although I thought that maybe I had convinced everyone that I was really just a pro, and had flung the crepe into the heavens on purpose, this picture demonstrates that I was fooling no one 🙂

Here is my favorite recipe from the class, which sounds fancy, but is so very easy to create at home! I’d highly suggest making these ASAP (don’t shy away from the creme anglaise, a little creme never hurt anyone, and it takes the crepes from marvelous to out-of-this-world).

Chocolate Crepes (From “The Chopping Block”)

Yields 20-24 crepes

Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup cocoa powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 3 TBS. sugar, 4 eggs, 2 cups plus 2 TBS. milk, 1 stick of butter melted, Butter to cook the crepes

1. In a bowl mix together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and sugar. Set aside.

2. In another bowl, mix together the eggs, milk, and butter.

3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk until the batter just comes together. If the batter is too thick add more milk. The consistency should be of heavy cream

4. Allow the batter to rest refrigerated for 30 minutes before using.

5. Heat a small non stick saute pan over medium heat and add just enough butter to coat the bottom (I just use Pam, but butter works too!)

6. Ladle in just enough batter to coat the bottom of the pan and be sure to swirl the pan so the batter is in an even layer.

7. Cook until the crepe is set up and the edges are golden brown, about 1 minute. Flip and continue to cook an additional 15 seconds. Transfer to a plate and continue to prepare more crepes!

See….nice and simple! For the filling, spread a spoonful of nutella down the center of the crepe, and add some chopped bananas. Roll the crepe and place on a plate to serve.

Creme Anglaise (From “The Chopping Block”

Yields 2 1/2 cups

Ingredients: 1 cup heavy cream, 1 cup half and half, 1/2 vanilla bean (cut in half lengthwise and seeds scraped out), 3 egg yolks, 1/4 cup sugar

1. Combine the heavy cream, half & half, and vanilla bean in a heavy pot, and heat until steaming (Note: I don’t like buying half & half because it sounds like 7-Eleven coffee for some reason. Instead, I combine equal parts milk & heavy cream. Also, I was gifted some vanilla bean paste that worked like a charm for this recipe. I’d suggest picking some up!)

2. Whisk egg yolks and sugar together in a large bowl

3. Temper the egg yolks by slowly adding the hot cream while stirring constantly

4. Return the mixture to the pot and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until it coats the back of a spoon. Do NOT allow to boil!

5. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, and cool over an ice bath, about 30 minutes.

Pour this sauce over your rolled crepes, and garnish with some slivered almonds. Decadent, yet the perfect morning (or evening) treat!



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