Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Crepes with stewed cinnamon apples

Ha ha!  Man, that is a great way to start my day.  For those of you keeping track, it's roughly 19 days until my birthday.  (If you aren't keeping track, well, keep reading anyway.)  And since I've been perusing recipes worthy of being crowned my birthday cake, I've been getting ideas for other meals, including breakfast.  Crepes.  I've never made crepes and have always considered them a dish best ordered from a restaurant.  After all, watching the local Frenchman at my favorite crepes haunt in Pittsburgh pour and whirl away with the batter on the special crepe pan thingie tends to intimidate onlookers into thinking, "No way, I can never do that."

Well, I'm here to say yes, you can!  Full disclosure -- while it's an easy recipe and process, theoretically, it takes some practice.  Mostly because the heat, timing, flipping, and batter consistency must be just right.  If you're okay with a few early (and inexpensive) mistakes (and, you should be, it's the kitchen, not an operating room), you will be handsomely rewarded. 

Well, after working on Saturday, Sunday morning seemed perfect for an extra effort breakfast.  Still working on using up the food I have around the kitchen, I decided that one crepe would feature Nutella and the lone banana left on my counter.  The other, hmm... I had a few apples just rolling around.  Stewed apples for the other crepes.  Who says that apples have to be just a fall/winter taste?  I love the sweet tart flavor of them all year round.

While this was my first crepe-making experience, it certainly won't be my last.  I'm not claiming perfection here, folks, but the results were delicious (even the initial ugly ones were munched while making the prettier later versions).  Have a sense of humor while making these and you'll have much more fun with it :)  To be continued...

Sweet Crepes
(loosely adapted and pieced together from Alton Brown and Paula Deen)
-makes about twelve 10-inch crepes, or more smaller... duh

2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 Tablespoons melted butter
Topping of your choice, if using stewed apples, see below

In a large bowl, whisk together all ingredients briskly for a minute.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill crepe batter in refrigerator for at least one hour, or up to 48 hours.  If making stewed apples, start them now (see recipe below).

Heat a small (I used a 10" pan, took some adjusting but the recommended size seemed to be about 6 inches) non-stick pan on medium heat.  Brush with butter to coat.  Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into the center of the pan and quickly swirl to spread evenly.  Cook for 45 seconds and flip, carefully.  Cook for another 30 seconds and remove flat to a wire cooling rack.  Repeat process until batter is gone.

"Decorate" crepes as desired.  I spread one with Nutella, topped with banana slices, and folded into the middle.  For Matt's, I rolled three crepes and topped with the apples.  You could try layering like pancakes, too.  It's up to you!

Cinnamon Stewed Apples
-makes about 1 1/2 cups

2 apples, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped
1 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup water (or apple juice)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar
Pinch of nutmeg

In a small saucepan, combine ingredients and cook over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens slightly.  Remove from heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.  Pour over rolled crepes (or hey, pancakes and waffles need some love, too!) and enjoy.

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