Sunday, June 14, 2009

Summer Sunday breakfast crepes

I've been watching a lot of Jacques Pepin lately and am in love with all things French. These crepes are perfect for a lazy Sunday breakfast - the sweetness of summer blackberries, the sunny tang of lemon... Couldn't be nicer. The only trick to these is timing. Everything cooks pretty quickly, and the custard sauce needs undivided attention to avoid lumps. Do it in the order below, and you should be golden.

Start to finish: About 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

Summer Sunday Breakfast Crepes

2 pints blackberries
Sugar to taste (about 1-2 teaspoons)
Lemon custard sauce:
1 cup heavy cream
zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
4 egg yolks
1/4 - 1/3 cup sugar (depending on your sweet tooth)
1 1/4 cups skim milk (or milk thinned with water)
1 cup flour
2 eggs
2 tablespoons melted butter
Additional butter or cooking spray for cooking

  1. Rinse the blackberries. Place in a saucepan with just the water that clings to the berries. Sprinkle with sugar to taste. Cover and place over low heat. These will simmer while you make everything else.
  2. Begin the custard sauce. Put cream and lemon zest in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Heat it just until you see bubbles - you should still be able to test the temperature with your finger without getting burned.
  3. While the cream mixture is heating, beat the egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow. Slowly pour about half of the heated cream mixture into the eggs, whisking continuously. (This is where you will get lumps in the custard if you pour in the cream too fast. Lumps aren't attractive, but they don't affect the taste.) Pour the egg mixture back into the rest of the cream, whisking continuously. Cook the custard mixture until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon without dripping (about 2-3 minutes). Remove the custard sauce from the heat and set aside to cool - it should be about room temperature when it's served.
  4. Check your blackberries to make sure they're not dry or cooking down too much. If they are, remove them from the heat, but keep them covered so they stay warm.
  5. Start the crepes. This takes the longest, because they can only be done one at a time. Keep crepes warm while you finish the batch by putting them on a plate over simmering water, and cover with another plate. Put all the crepe ingredients in a blender and mix for a few seconds. The batter will be about the consistency of cream.
  6. Put a 6-inch skillet over medium heat. When the skillet is hot enough to make water sizzle when dripped on it, coat the pan lightly with butter. Pour 2-3 tablespoons of batter quickly into the skillet, and then tilt the pan to cover the bottom with the batter. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until lightly browned, then flip the crepe to brown the other side. Crepes are pretty sturdy and should stay together as you do this. Complete the batch, keeping finished crepes warm. You should have 8 crepes when you're finished.
  7. Fold crepes into quarters and plate. Spoon on warm blackberries, and cover with lemon custard sauce. A mint sprig makes a nice finishing touch.

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