Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Lemony Crepes: Perking Up A Winter Weekend
That said, I'm also fully conscious that, as the Milwaukee winter turns snowier and more blustery, my mind also has a tendency to wander to thoughts of more tropical climes where inhabitants sip limey drinks in the warm sun. The increasing presence of citrus fruits (including one of my very favorites -- the satsuma tangerine -- a fruit whose candy sweet flesh is surrounded by an inexplicably easy-to-peel skin that makes it easy to consume multiples in one sitting) has me craving bright, sunny dishes
Fortunately for me, I've just returned to the grind from a delightfully long weekend during which we had a little bit of time to poke around the kitchen and create some delicious new dishes. One of the highlights was a plate of deliciously tender lemon crepes strewn with beautiful seasonal pomegranate seeds, a perfectly welcome brunch dish that would also double as a light evening dessert.
To make my favorite lemony crepes, spread the pale side of a warm homemade crepe with a bit of butter, sprinkle with sugar, and embellish with a generous squeeze of lemon before rolling up into a loose cigar shape. Top with powdered sugar or a generous sprinkling of pomegranate seeds or other fresh fruit.
Secret #1: There really are no secrets. Most information about successfully making crepes can be found right on the miraculous Internet... so don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
Secret #2: The crepe batter is actually best made ahead. After mixing, the batter needs a rest so that it can relax and absorb the flour, ensuring that the finished product is supple and tender. Rather than being a nuisance, this is actually an advantage to the home cook with less than scads of time. Be sure to make the batter at least 1/2 hour ahead of time... but you can also make it the night before and allow it to rest in the refrigerator until you're ready for it in the morning. Your crepes will thank you by being deliciously tender & easy to deal with.
Secret #3: You don't need a special crepe pan to make crepes. And don't let the so-called experts try to fool you. Any old 8-10 inch non-stick skillet will do. I used any number of pans for my crepes before I finally broke down, in a moment of uncharacteristic weakness, and procured a 10-inch non-stick crepe pan from Amazon.com.
Secret #4: You'll probably mess up a couple of the crepes when you make a batch. So what? I've made lots of crepes, and I still mess up at least one per batch. Sprinkle some sugar on it and enjoy it as a snack. It will taste just as good as the rest, even if it's not quite as gorgeous.
Secret #5: Crepes are the perfect playing field for getting creative with more interesting flours. Try substituting half of the wheat flour with buckwheat, quinoa or corn flour. If you're gluten-free, crepes can also be made with a wheat-free blend, such as Bob's Red Mill.
I tend to make an entire batch of crepes at once, stacking them on a warm plate. The residual heat from the crepes will keep them warm enough while you're working that you shouldn't have to reheat them before filling and serving.
Once you've got your crepes made, it's up to you to let your imagination run wild. Crepes are delicious with as little as a sprinkling of cheese or a drizzle of honey. But, they can be fancied up with any number of either sweet or savory fillings.
Of course, I'd recommend a smattering of sugar and a drizzle of lemon juice... it's a sure cure for just about any winter funk.
©BURP! Where Food Happens
Want more? Read Lo's latest ruminations at FOODCrush, her Milwaukee Magazine blog.