It’s apple season! And what better way to enjoy the season’s bounty than by wrapping fragrant apple compote in delicate crêpes! The aroma of sautéed apples will make your kitchen smell fantastic.
The simple crêpe batter, made primarily of eggs, milk, and flour, benefits from resting before cooking in order to allow the flour to absorb the liquid and let the gluten relax. You can prepare the batter the day before and let it rest in the refrigerator overnight. Just before cooking, whisk in a little fizzy seltzer water, which helps lighten the crêpes.
You do need the appropriate pan: An 8-inch nonstick or well-seasoned carbon steel skillet works well. As the crêpes have to be cooked one by one, it takes a little time to put this dish together, but everything can be prepared ahead.
The crêpe recipe also works well gluten-free; see Gluten-Free Version below.
Note that these are not the hearty buckwheat crêpes from Brittany; rather they are the delicate dessert crêpes made with wheat flour.
½ cup white whole-wheat flour
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
Pinch of salt
3 large eggs
½ cup milk
1 tablespoon butter, melted, or vegetable oil
½ cup seltzer water or club soda
Vegetable oil for rubbing over skillet
2 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
3 pounds apples (8 apples), such as Braeburn, Cortland, Gala, Northern Spy, Jonagold or Ginger Gold, peeled, cored and sliced (9 cups)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
Water as needed
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
Whipped cream or Caramel Sauce (see recipe below) for serving
1. To prepare crêpes: Combine whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon sugar and salt in a food processor; pulse several times to blend. Add eggs, milk and butter (or oil) and process until smooth, scraping the sides once or twice. (If you notice any lumps, strain the batter through a fine sieve.) Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
2. Slowly whisk seltzer water (or club soda) into the crêpe batter. The batter should have the consistency of heavy cream. Place a plate by the stove. Place a little vegetable oil in a small bowl and set it by the stove. Dip a piece of crumpled paper towel in the oil and rub it over an 8-inch nonstick skillet. Heat the skillet over medium-high heat. Lift the skillet and, using a small ladle or ¼ cup dry measure, ladle in about 2 tablespoons batter; immediately tilt and rotate the pan to spread the batter evenly over the bottom.Cook the crêpe until the underside is lightly browned, about 30 seconds. Using a small offset metal spatula, lift the edge of the crêpe, quickly grasp it with your fingers and flip. Cook until the second side is lightly browned, about 20 seconds longer. Slide the crêpe onto the plate. If serving immediately, fill and roll or fold the crepe. Continue to cook the crêpes with the remaining batter, oiling the pan between each crêpe and stacking them as you go. (Crêpes can be made ahead. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days or place sheets of wax paper between each crepe and freeze in a sealable plastic food bag for up to 1 month.)
3. Meanwhile, to prepare apple compote: Melt butter (or heat oil) in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add apple slices and sprinkle with 1/3 cup sugar. (It will seem like a lot of apples, but they shrink as they cook.) Cook, tossing or stirring occasionally, until the apples are very tender and lightly caramelized, 25 to 35 minutes. Adjust heat as necessary to prevent burning and add water as needed to ensure that all the slices become tender. Remove from the heat. Stir in vanilla and cinnamon.
4. To assemble and bake crêpes: Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread about 2 tablespoons filling over one half of the less attractive side of each crepe and roll the crêpe around the filling. Alternatively, fold the unfilled side over the filling, then fold the crêpe in half to make a fan shape. (You may have a crêpe or a little apple compote leftover – enjoy as a cook’s treat!) Arrange the crêpes, in the prepared baking dish. (The recipe can be prepared ahead to this point. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.) Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until heated through, about 5 minutes more. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve warm with whipped cream or caramel sauce, if desired.
Serves 8 (2 filled crêpes each).
Per serving: Calories: 230. Total fat: 8 grams. Saturated fat: 3.5 grams. Cholesterol: 80 milligrams. Sodium: 55 milligrams. Carbohydrate: 37 grams: Fiber: 3 grams. Sugars: 23 grams (added: 9 grams). Protein: 5 grams.
Gluten-Free Version: In Step 1, substitute gluten-free all-purpose flour for whole-wheat flour and all-purpose flour. In Step 2, use 1/4-1/3 cup seltzer water.
Variation: Apple Crêpe Cake. In Step 4, coat a 7-inch (1 ½-quart) soufflé dish with cooking spray. Line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Coat the parchment paper with cooking spray. Place 1 crêpe in the prepared dish and spread about 3 tablespoons apple compote over top. Stack the remaining crêpes, spreading about 3 tablespoons apple compote between each layer. Cover with foil and bake at 375°F until heated through, 25 to 35 minutes. Unmold the cake onto a serving plate. Remove the parchment paper. Serve warm, with caramel sauce or whipped cream, if desired.
Once you are comfortable making caramel, this sauce is easy to make. It makes a beautiful finish for vanilla ice cream, as well as roasted apples and pears.
¾ cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
¾ cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of kosher salt
Place sugar and water in a small heavy saucepan (not a dark colored saucepan). Cover and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Remove cover and cook, without stirring, until the syrup turns deep amber, 5 to 8 minutes. You can tilt the saucepan and swirl the syrup if it is not caramelizing evenly. Remove from heat. Standing back because the caramel may sputter, add cream all at once. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sauce is smooth. If some of the caramel does not dissolve, place the saucepan over low heat and stir until the caramel has melted. Stir in vanilla and salt. Let cool and serve warm, at room temperature or chilled. (The sauce will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.)
Yield: 1 1/8 cups
Serves 12 (1 ½ tablespoons each).
Per serving: Calories: 100. Total fat: 5 grams. Saturated fat: 3.5 grams. Cholesterol: 15 milligrams. Sodium: 15 milligrams. Carbohydrate: 13 grams: Fiber: 0 grams. Sugars: 13 grams (added: 13 grams). Protein: 0 grams.