I absolutely love crepes and this versatile recipe can be served as both breakfast, as well as, dessert. Crepes are decidedly French but as usual, I have taken the culinary liberty of “Indianizing” them. Crepes and fruit seem to go hand in hand and the combination is a delicious match made in heaven. I have opted to use peaches in this recipe but any ripe fruit such as mangoes, pineapple, cherries, bananas, apples, pears, berries or a combination of various fruits will work nicely. I have added some toasted hazelnuts as a garnish and for textural crunch but feel free to add your favorite variety of nuts such as toasted almonds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, cashews…
Making the actual crepes is a lot easier than you think. For many people, the thought of making crepes is a little intimidating but fear not and think “pancakes“! After all, a crepe is just a thinner version of a pancake isn’t it?
This recipe is wonderful for entertaining since both the batter and the filling can both be made in advance.
CREPES: Indian Style
Makes 6-7 crepes
For the Crepes
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar (superfine works well)
1½ cup coconut milk
¼ cup of water
small pinch of saffron
For the Filling
4 medium size ripe peaches (you can use canned peaches, just make sure to drain them well)
toasted coconut flakes (optional)
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp brown sugar (honey is a great alternative)
2 tbsp orange juice
freshly grated nutmeg
2 tbsp of unsalted butter, melted
powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
toasted hazelnut pieces for garnish
toasted coconut flakes for garnish
fresh whipped cream for garnish
Soak the saffron stands in the ¼ cup of water for at least 10-15 minutes. Prepare the peaches by cutting them into small dice. If you prefer, you may remove the outer skin of the peach. But personally, I usually don’t bother. If the peach is young and ripe, the skins are usually thin, edible and full of fiber. This is just a matter of personal preference. If you are using canned or frozen fruit, make sure to use “No Sugar Added” variety.
In a medium size skillet on medium high heat, add the butter. When melted, stir in the brown sugar (or honey). When melted and bubbly, reduce the heat to low and add the orange juice. Let cook for just 1-2 minutes and add in the peaches. Add the freshly grated nutmeg and stir to coat the peaches. Let cook for just another minute, add the toasted coconut flakes and remove from the heat. Set aside until needed. I like my peaches just barely cooked and basically warmed through, but if you prefer you could always cook the peaches for just a few minutes longer for a softer filling. Warm slightly just before use.
To Make the Crepes:
In a large mixing bowl, combine the all purpose flour along with the sugar. Using a hand held beater on medium speed, add the coconut milk and then slowly start adding the eggs and mixing them into the batter. Add the water along with the saffron strands and beat for just 15-20 seconds until you have a smooth batter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for at least 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stir the batter again just before use.
If you are blessed and own an actual crepe pan, wonderful! Otherwise, don’t worry, any non-stick skillet will do. If you have a non-stick skillet at least 6-8 inches in diameter, even better! To pour the batter into the hot skillet, I use a ladle which is about ¼ cup in measure. If you have a similar ladle, that is ideal. Otherwise you can use a ¼ cup measure or whatever you have that will allow you to measure out ¼ cup of batter.
Heat the skillet (or crepe pan) on medium heat, when hot lightly brush the bottom with a little melted butter. After 30 seconds, remove the skillet from the heat and quickly pour ¼ cup of the batter in the center of the skillet. Rotate and tilt the skillet quickly to cover the bottom of the pan with the crepe batter. A thin round crepe at least 6-8 inches in diameter is perfect. Return the skillet to the heat and using a spatula, go around the sides of crepe to loosen it from the skillet. Let cook for just 1 minute and then turn the crepe. Let cook for just 30 seconds on the second side and then carefully transfer to a plate. Make the remaining crepes in the same way, remembering to brush the skillet with a little melted butter between crepes.
To assemble the crepes:
There are many ways to do this depending largely on personal preference. To make a rolled crepe, simply spread the filling over the entire surface of the crepe and simply roll the crepe up from one end to the other.
Another way is the triangular fold, here the filling is added to the center of the crepe which is then folded in half and then folded in half again forming a triangle.
The classic crepe fold is simply to add the warm peach filling to the center of the crepe and fold in half. Garnish with a little powdered sugar, a dollop of fresh whipped cream, toasted coconut flakes and toasted hazelnuts. Voila, a delicious breakfast or fancy dessert to impress your friends and family.
Feel free to add some raisins or nuts to the filling. If you prefer, use fresh yogurt instead of whipped cream and drizzle with a little honey, chocolate or caramel sauce. You could also serve these with vanilla ice cream.
If you are planning to use apples (the Golden Delicious variety works well) or pears, I suggest peeling them and allowing them to cook a little longer until just slightly softened. A pinch of cinnamon during the cooking process only enhances the flavors.