Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Crepe - All French but with a Secret Ingredient

Did you know that croissants were invented in Austria!? Crazy, hey? By now, obviously the French patisseries serve up the best buttery treats but, yes, croissants indeed originate from the land of the Wiener Schnitzels and Arnold Schwarzeneger. Click here to read more

What is indeed a French delicatesse, invention and staple, is the Crepe. That beauty of a thin, soft and pancake-like treat can be filled with anything from jam, strawberries, cinnamon and sugar to the all time favorite: Nutella and banana! 

Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Dinner and Dessert. All sweet or, serve or devour as you desire. Thank you La France for sharing this versatile treat with so many of us. 

I would now like to share this recipe with all of you. I discovered it through Jehnee Rains, a pastry chef on The Kitchn site. The speciality of this recipe is not the fact that it comes from a well known pastry chef (although this will, no doubt, also guarantee yumminess). What is REALLY special about this recipe is the SECRET ingredient. 

So what could this secret ingredient be that makes the crepe so fluffy and simply irresistible? The secret ingredient is:
The Belgian Blond Beer I had in the fridge
Reading this, I immediately had to try it out. Crepe pan on the stove, apron on and since I live in Belgium, there is always plenty of beer in the fridge. After a few unsuccessful tries and rather unattractive looking crepes, I had the flipping down and was loving the sizzling of the batter on the hot pan and the outcome of the circular golden goodness. 
First try
Second try...much better already!
Taste Verdict? Nothing short of lovely! The sides go slightly crispy and the taste is light and buttery. 
Voila! Les crepes son finits. Sucre? Chocolat? C'est tous bien :) 

Jehnee's Crêpe Recipe

Sweet Crêpe Batter
serves 4-6
2 cups warm milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1 1/4 cup four
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 eggs
3/4 tablespoon oil
1/2 cup beer (any light lager beer will work)
Melt the butter and heat the milk to warm, over the stove or in a microwave. Meanwhile, mix flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer (or in a large bowl with a whisk ready). Make a well in the dry ingredients, pour eggs and oil into the well and beat on medium speed with whisk using the mixer, or vigorously with your hand-held whisk. Slowly add the melted butter and milk mixture until batter becomes uniform in texture.
Now pour batter over a fine-toothed sieve into another medium-sized bowl, pressing any lumps through with your fingers. Stir in beer, until just evenly incorporated (don't overmix). Set the batter aside, covered with plastic, for 8 hours or overnight, if you can.
Pour about 1/4 to 1/3 cup batter onto a smoking-hot pan, swirling the batter to create an even surface. Add a little more batter if needed. Little holes are okay while crêpe cooks — just 2 minutes on the first side (peek to see if golden brown color is there), then about 30 seconds on other side. Keep warm with sheets of parchment paper in between each crêpe, in a low oven, about 200 degrees until serving.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The All-Sweet Cherry Crumble

European summertime - a time for sunshine, barbecues, long days, lake swimming and STONE FRUIT! Eat them plain or select from an endless list of dessert options. I simply love them - Peaches, cherries, nectarines, plums and apricots. 

It is hard to go wrong with a good crumble. The sweetness and gooeyness of the fruit mixed with the crunchy crumble topping. Uiiiii, it makes me smile just thinking about it.

Serve it warm or cold, with vanilla sauce, ice cream or whipped cream. Cherries, peaches, rhubarb, apples...mix, match and GO CRAZY!

This is a cherry crumble a la Stella, packed with goodness and plenty of LOVE!

Cherry Crumble a la Stella
Filling Ingredients:
6 cups Cherries (I used cherries out of a jar)
1 cups white sugar (200gr) - YOu can use less if you want it less sweet
1/4 cup water (62 ml)
5 tsp cornstarch

Crumble Ingredients:
1 cup rolled oats (90gr)
1 cup flour (125gr)
1/2 brown sugar (62gr)
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter (113 gr)

1. Preheat the oven to 175 C (350 F)
2. Place filling ingredients in a hot pan and simmer until the filling thickens (5-10 min)
3. Combine the crumble ingredients using your hands until you reach your desired crumble. Set aside.
4. Butter a deeper baking dish (I used a 9"x13" for a thin crumble). Place the filling into the dish and cover with the crumble. Sprinkle with some vanilla sugar if desired
5. Bake for 35-40 min or until golden brown
6. Serve warm or cold with whipped cream, vanilla sauce or ice cream
7. Enjoy!

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