Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Fresh Strawberry Crepes

The first strawberry grown in a garden was in the  late 18th century in France. Before that they were primarily used for medicinal purposes. Thank goodness someone recognized that strawberries can be appreciated just for being a strawberry. I hate to think about missing out on the wonders of this remarkable red berry. 8 berries have more vitamin C than an orange. The little strawberry is also among the top 20 fruits in the antioxidant category and 1 cup has just 45 calories.

As a child I got hives from eating strawberries. I  don't get them anymore but  still I'm cautious about eating to many. And sometimes they are hard to stay away from. Not that I'd want to. I fondly remember strawberry season in Israel where thirty some years ago the family I lived with had 5 kids. At lunch, dad would march home with food from the market, and with any luck he'd  have giant bags of strawberries. After seeing how they were sold in the US I was amazed that one could buy strawberries in such quantities. As quickly as they were washed, those berries were gone, and all that was left were 5 red berry, stained mouths waiting for the next day when dad would arrive home again with more.

My mother always made us the Bisquick shortcakes for the requisite strawberry shortcake topped with Cool Whip at least once each season. That is unless we were on diets whereby we resorted to bowls of fresh red strawberries along side a big bowl of sour cream and another of brown sugar. Simple and sublime. What a perfect match and one I still serve today. Trust me there is nothing better than dipping a giant red strawberry in sour cream and then in brown sugar. Today Greek yogurt would make a great substitute.

Now I am not a big fan of strawberry ice cream or strawberry syrup-even on a Banana Split. But I love strawberry jam and strawberries on waffles and these strawberry crepes. I love crepes.  Crepes at the Magic Pan in Chicago on Michigan Avenue were like a decadent treat when I was growing up. Any shopping day requires requires a well fortified lunch and that was always my choice. I don't remember what I ordered but it was the only lunch where I was allowed to get dessert, too!  If we were lucky enough to still be in the city for dinner, The Blackhawk and their chilled spinach salad brings up fond memories but alas, I don't believe either are there anymore.

It was the Magic Pan that convinced my mother to buy a proper crepe pan. She bought some black domed iron pan that sat directly on the burner. The idea was to dip it in the batter and then turn it right side up to cook. These didn't require flipping. Frankly, I don't remember it working the way it was supposed to so I just use a teeny Calphalon 7" saute pan to make mine. I think that black pan was probably tossed years ago but I still have the cookbook that came with it. It's missing its cover but that's OK. The good stuff is on the inside.

Crepes are perfect foils for any kind of filling, be it sweet or savory. You can always make crepes benedict or fill your crepes with mushrooms and cheese. I remember dessert crepes filled with chocolate mousse and topped with whipped cream. The varieties are endless but today is really about the crepe.  When my kids were young and for a change from pancakes we often made crepes. One can eat them like pancakes with syrup or fill them with fruit or bacon or just whipped cream. Cheese is a great filling and then the crepe can be folded in quarters and eaten like a sandwich. Crepes always made the meal feel more special and that is why they are another great choice for Mother's Day.

The first crepe is always the hardest but on the other hand it is always the one I taste first. Just to make sure, don't you know? Don't be intimidated. give it a go!

Strawberry Crepes (Makes about a dozen 7" crepes)
2 eggs beaten
1/3 c milk or cream
1/3 c water
3/4 c all purpose flour
1 T melted butter
2 T sugar
1 t vanilla

(Extra  melted butter for greasing the pan)

In  4 cup measuring cup beat eggs and then add milk and water. Whisk well. Gradually mix in flour. This mixture should end up smooth, but if you don't want to do this an immersion blender works, too! Add melted butter, sugar and vanilla and mix well.

Batter should be smooth and have the consistency of heavy cream.

Heat your teeny pan and and brush well with melted butter. You don't want the pan to hot or your crepe will burn. Medium high usually works for me but you may have to lower the heat if it gets to hot. A drop of water should bounce and sputter, not evaporate immediately if you want to check the temp.

Pour in about 1/4 to 1/3 c of batter starting in the center of the pan and pour in a spiral fashion. Now swirl the pan and make sure you have enough batter covering the bottom of the pan and that it is even in depth. Cook until the bottom is light golden in color. This takes about a minute. If you cook the crepe on too high of heat it will get to crisp. Using tongs gently lift the crepe to check. If it is ready turn over and cook the other side until done but it doesn't have to turn gold on this side. Now you've got it! Brush pan with butter and repeat! Crepes can be stacked and kept warm under a towel until ready to fill.

Strawberry Filling
1 lb of fresh strawberries cleaned and quartered or sliced.

If strawberries are not sweet enough feel free to add a spoonful of sugar.

Strawberry Sauce
1 c hulled strawberries
2 T confectioner's sugar
2 T orange juice or raspberry juice or Grand Marnier

Put strawberries in a deep bowl or cup and using immersion blender blend until desired consistency. Stir in sugar and juice or liquor.

Sour Cream Brown Sugar Sauce
1 c sour cream or plain Greek Yogurt
1/4 c brown sugar

Mix together and use for a dollop. Lots of dollops!

To Assemble:
Fill crepes with fresh strawberries. Surround one side with some strawberry sauce. Top with a dollop of sour cream brown sugar sauce.

Make sure your mouth is berry stained and be sure to kiss the cook!

More to Try:
German Apple Pancake

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  1. This post brought back so many fond memories for me Abbe. My Dad went back to school when we were in junior high - he always wanted to own a restaurant.

    He had to take cooking classes along with restaurant management classes, and we had Crepes Suzette with strawberries 7 days in a row until we said "no more!"

    I've never made a crepe before. I think I need to fix that. :D

  2. Oh, that is too funny! Crepes for Father's Day works for me! I can tell you though that I've never flamed anything-at least on purpose.

  3. I remember the Magic Pan restaurant! That chain was everywhere for a decade or so, then basically disappeared. I always make my crepes in a 7- or 8-inch frying pan too - much easier that way. And the first one is never that good, although I always eat it. Just to test, you know. ;-) Nice dish, totally fun post. Thanks.

  4. Where did they go? Anyway, it's worth learning to make crepes as they make happy memories! Glad you test the first one, too!

  5. These crepes look fabulous! I love strawberries and these look so lovely.

  6. Thanks Amy. They are sooo good! The crepe is also good all by its self!

  7. The Blackhawk closed around '83 or '84, Abbe. The Magin Pan Co. went out of business in the '90's. Nothing good lasts forever...
    Your crepes look fantastic and that sauce is perfect! I've never made a crepe and I should give 'em a try one day. What could happen? A complete failure and then I'd have to eat a bowl of strawberry filling and sauce over ice cream? Gee. I don't know if I could do that. Hmmm ... It's time I conquer my fear and make some crepes! Thanks, Abbe. I'm inspired.

  8. Such a delicious and colorful breakfast! I love eating fresh fruit!
    Thanks for sharing and thank you for the lovely comment left on my guest post (dulce de leche bars) on Liz’s blog

  9. I don't mind strawberries, but they're not my favorite, except the locally grown ones that appear for like a week in June. Of course, strawberries and crepes I can do!

  10. Thanks Angie!

    And thanks for taking a look here Roxana. Those bars looked fabulous! Crepes are a perfect way to get your fruit in!

    Laura, I'm with you! I like strawberries but really only love them like this and of course in shortcake.

  11. Hi Abbe! I love crepes, and now I'm wishing I had a pound of berries in my fridge and crepes on the stove. Thank you for sharing this beautiful recipe!

  12. Oooh, these look amazing! I can't wait for our local strawberries to ripen :)

  13. Thanks Liz. You and I know that any berry would taste great!

  14. Oh...Your fresh strawberry crepes are so beautiful. Simply divine. My family loves strawberries, in any form. I used to not care about strawberry ice cream either...until one day, my Son asked me to make strawberry ice cream for him. So I roasted the strawberries with a little bit of honey and balsamic vinegar before adding them to my ice cream base. And that, forever changed my life. It's the best strawberry ice cream I've ever tasted and now I made them regularly. It's so good that store bought ones just can't compare. Maybe you can give that a try too. I bet you'll fall in love with strawberry ice cream after just one bite. ;)

  15. Amy, that sounds great! I once made strawberry jam with black pepper and that was pretty awesome, too!

  16. How spectacular! I just bought a few lbs of strawberries, for Strawberry Rhubarb Pie...but now I'm thinking I might need to make some crepes as well. What a delicious summer breakfast or dessert. YUM!

  17. Pie sounds great! And crepes are good too! But I must admit, I do love pie!

  18. OK! I'm in Phoenix helping out my mom and I am so behind! Thanks everyone for your sweet comments!

  19. these look deliciousss


  20. These would be perfect for next Sunday. Thank you for sharing.