Sunday, June 17, 2007

A Breakfast Request

This is what my dad made the first night I was home:

So you can understand my surprise when he asked me to make this:

I’ve talked about my dad before, he’s more of a carnivore than a dessert eater. When he does want a dessert, it usually comes from a package, so whenever I’m home, I tell him I’ll make whatever he wants. Usually it’s something simple like chocolate chip cookies or brownies, but to me it’s all the same, I’m just happy that I can save him from using a frozen Pillsbury pie crust. This time when I was home, one of the first things he asked me was could I make crepes. Even he admitted the first time I cooked them, he didn’t think he would like them very much, and now look who’s requesting them…

I actually make crepes quite a lot at home, aided with the help of my crepe maker, a handy appliance (another one that longingly awaits my arrival) that my family got after a friend came and stayed with us one summer and we tried to make crepes for breakfast one morning and the results were less than perfect. The thank-you gift for letting her stay at our house? A crepe maker, followed in years to come by many, many crepes, and some satisfied crepe-consumers.

Having made crepes numerous times, I’ve tried all different fillings (ricotta, cream cheese, mascarpone, cottage cheese) mixed with different flavorings, and different combinations of fruits and sauces. I have a favorite, and very easy one that I like to do, but for this morning, because my dad had specially requested them without me having to beg him to pick something he wanted, I told him to get whatever fruits he wanted, and pick a cheese. That way I could throw something together, without using an actual recipe, and see what would happen. We ended up with raspberries and blueberries, a container of ricotta cheese, and some orange juice. A perfect palate to work with, and with the two kinds of fruits, I decided spur-of-the-moment to make two variations and get some different flavors going. I started by dividing the cheese in half, and then I got out granulated sugar and brown sugar and put spoonfuls into each bowl, and went from there.

Basic Crepe Batter

I always make the batter the first thing because most recipes say to let it sit for an hour because it will make more tender crepes.

1 cup all purpose flour
2 eggs
½ cup milk
½ cup water
¼ tsp salt
2 tbsp butter melted

Combine in blender or with wire whisk in order given. Blend 30 seconds, stop and scrape down sides, blend again until smooth, scraping sides down as necessary. Makes about 16 crepes.

If you do let it sit for an hour, stick it in the fridge while you prepare the filling and sauce for your crepes.

Raspberry crepes

8 oz ricotta (I used half the container)
granulated sugar to taste
Grand Marnier to taste
pinch of salt

Your own taste buds and preferences are very important when making these crepes. I started with a bowl of ricotta and mixed in sugar until I could barely taste it, the mixture was slightly sweet but not extremely so. I knew that the sauce I was making would be pretty sweet, so I didn’t want the filling to be too sweet. Then I splashed in Grand Marnier until I began to taste it. So, depending on how sweet you like things, how strong you want your crepes in the morning, etc., you are given free reign with your filling. Finish it off with a tiny pinch of salt and set in the fridge.

1 package of raspberries
granulated sugar to taste
1-2 cups orange juice

Once again, I relied on my own taste for the sauce. I began with a small saucepan over medium-high heat and threw in half the raspberries with about 1/3 cup sugar and enough orange juice to almost cover the raspberries. I stirred occasionally, making sure the sugar dissolved, adding orange juice or sugar if necessary, and always tasting to make sure it was good. I cooked until the raspberries were all broken up and mixed in well into the sauce and it began boiling, then I turned it off and left on the burner.

You can let it cool while you make the crepes, and then while you fill them put it on low to reheat it. The same time I was doing the raspberry crepes, I mixed the filling and made the sauce for the blueberry crepes.

Blueberry Crepes

8 oz ricotta (or the other half of the container)
brown sugar to taste
pinch of salt

Follow the same process as for the raspberry crepes. Trust your tongue and add slowly. Make sure you mix the brown sugar in well because sometimes it balls up. I found I had to use more brown sugar than I did granulated sugar for my desired degree of sweet because it doesn’t have as obvious sweetness as granulated sugar does. When you reach the flavor you like, leave the filling in the fridge until needed.

container of blueberries
lemons (2-4)
granulated sugar to taste

Before you start: I made this one along with the raspberry sauce which reheats very nicely, but found that this one cooked great, then as it cooled began to gel, like I had make jelly, and reheating it was just like making jelly warm because it wouldn’t turn back into a liquid very easily, although it still tasted good. Because of this, I would recommend waiting to make this one until you have filled and rolled all the crepes and then you can immediately spoon it onto them without it turning into jelly.

Start with a saucepan over medium high heat and put in half the blueberries and about ½ cup-1 cup sugar (you might need to add more. Again, this takes more sugar than the raspberry sauce because of the sour lemon juice). Use enough lemon juice to almost cover the blueberries. Stir occasionally, letting the blueberries release their color and the sugar dissolve and taste. Add sugar as necessary (I had to keep adding a lot until the tart lemon flavor wasn’t so strong). Let the sauce come to a boil and turn off the heat.

To make the crepes
If you have a crepe maker like me, you are lucky. If not, you can probably find better directions than what I’ll tell you on how to make crepes, but I’ll try even though it’s been about two years since I did it the “old-fashioned” way. Heat a large saucepan to medium and melt butter. Take a ladle and spoon a thin layer of crepe batter onto the pan quickly but evenly. It should start to bubble when it is finished (like a pancake) and if I can remember right, all you need to do is slip a spatula or knife underneath and it should come off.

Because I have my handy crepe-maker do the work for me, I just turn it over and dip in my pie pan of batter, wait for the light to turn, slip the crepe onto a plate, and repeat. No greasing necessary.

I do this until all my batter’s gone. Then I turn my sauces back on to low heat, and fill my crepes with a spoon of ricotta mixture spread down the middle of each crepe. (Remember which mixture you put in which because the sauces each go with their respective filling).I lay a few on a plate and drizzle with the sauce, then throw on a few of the fresh berries and viola. Breakfast fit for a carnivorous dad.


d anything said...

Great intro. Actually that steak could make a good breakfast too...

northumbrian said...

This sounds delicious - the missus will be given the recipe tonight!

oliver said...

It's very hard to read that without dribbling onto the keyboard.

I wish it was breakfast all the time now!

northumbrian said...

Magic - the raspberry crepes are fantastic, everyone should print out the reipes and eat them (the finished food - not the print-out) She says that I cant have them everyday though.