Crêpes Take on a New Look
This was inspired by a photograph. People often ask me how recipes come about, and sometimes it is as simple as seeing a dish so visually compelling, that I cannot wait to bring it to life in my kitchen. And for such an impressive looking dessert, this is quite easy. Simple crêpe batter is drizzled in the pan to mimic a free-form lace. Once cooked and cooled the crêpe is wrapped around a brilliantly colored sorbet and it becomes a stunning presentation – a lace crêpe! The whipped cream is tinted pink with raspberry purée. Note that I mention the “attractive” side of each crêpe; this is subjective, of course, but every crêpe does seem to have a side that is just prettier and we want that side to be on the outside of the finished assembled dish. Because this recipe uses frozen berries, it can be made year-round. (I like to make it in the spring when I am a bit tired of winter fruit and ready for something bright and fresh tasting).
- 2 quarts premium raspberry sorbet, such as Haagen Dazs
- ½ recipe Crêpe Batter
- 1½ cups frozen raspberries, defrosted (measured before defrosting)
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream, chilled
- For Sorbet: Chill a 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan in the freezer. Scoop the sorbet into walnut sized balls; set them in the pan, freeze until firm. Then either cover the pan with plastic wrap to store until needed, or, to save space, place frozen balls in airtight containers. Freeze until needed, up to 2 days.
- For Crêpes: Follow instructions for preparing pan for crêpes (in crêpe batter recipe), using a pan that is 8-inches in diameter across the bottom. Also read Tips below. When pan is suitably hot, drizzle a scant 2 tablespoons of batter in a random pattern over the bottom of the pan, making sure to leave enough space to create a lacy effect. Cook as for crêpes as directed; store as directed.
- For Topping: Place defrosted raspberries in a small saucepan with sugar and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat, mashing with a potato masher. Juice will begin to exude; stir berries, juice and sugar together and simmer for a minute or 2 until sugar is dissolved and mixture has thickened slightly. Scrape into strainer set over clean bowl. Press as much purée as possible through strainer, discarding seeds. Chill the purée.
- For Assembly: Right before serving, whip the cream and 6 tablespoons purée in a chilled bowl using electric mixer just until soft peaks form. For each serving, place a crêpe on plate, more attractive side down, place two or three scoops of sorbet in a line on one half of crepe, fold crêpe over and garnish with dollop of whipped cream and a drizzle of extra purée. Serve immediately.
- The best way to make the lace pattern is as follows: place batter in a squirt bottle ( I use the one by Wilton that is meant for Candy Melts). Squeeze a border all the way around the bottom edge of the pan; this will create structure for your crêpe. Then make zig zag or loopy lines within the border and crossing over one another.
- The deep pink color of the sorbet works very well with this recipe, but depending on what you have in your market, raspberry might not be your only choice. Strawberry or even black currant, if you can find it, would work very well in terms of flavor and color. Also, the juxtaposition of textures is very important for this dish. The crêpes should be tender, the sorbet cold and the cream whipped very softly, just until it holds a shape. If you can serve this with the crêpes freshly made and right out of the pan, the dessert will be even better, although this will take some last minute juggling. You can make the purée with fresh raspberries, in which case, have some extra on hand for scattering on the plate as well.