Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Crêpes with Nectarine-Blueberry Compote, Strawberry-Blackberry Compote, Chocolate Ganâche, and Caramel Sauce

One of the most well-known crêperies in Paris, located in the heart of the incredible city.
Salut, ça va? After my amazing time in Mexico City, I “jetted off” to one of my favorite cities in the whole world—Paris, France. I left Mexico on a 2 a.m. red-eye “flight,” and stepped off the plane in Charles de Gaulle Airport at 8 p.m. local time (can you say jet-lag?). Thankfully, I arrived in Paris just in time for dessert!

What better way to represent such an iconic city than with crêpes, a classic French dessert? Crêperies are scattered throughout the streets of Paris, as quick street stalls or more formal sit-down restaurants, serving all types of crêpes, from flambéed crêpes suzette to savory buckwheat galettes.

The perfect crêpe needs the perfect filling, and, since it’s springtime, my mind immediately went to fruit. A compote (French for mixture—you’d be surprised at how many of our cooking techniques come from the French!), made of fruit cooked in a simple syrup of sugar and water, is the perfect topping to spread inside of a warm crêpe.

To create two unique flavor profiles, I combined juicy nectarines with bright blueberries and paired sweet strawberries with tart blackberries. Then, I added some fresh mint to both compotes to enhance the fruity flavors.

But you can’t have dessert crêpes without chocolate, of course, so I couldn’t help but whip up a rich chocolate ganache and some caramel sauce for a tasty third type of crêpe. And, finally, I topped each and every crêpe with some light homemade whipped cream, or chantilly, as the French would call it. Magnifique!

I’ve had a love affair with crêpes ever since my real-life visit to Paris seven years ago, and I can’t wait to visit an authentic French crêperie again. But, for now, my homemade crêpes will hopefully satisfy my wanderlust (and yours too!). Bon appétit! I’ll meet you in Italy on Friday, just in time to grab some lunch!

Nectarine blueberry compote:

2 nectarines
½ cup of blueberries
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp fresh mint

Strawberry blackberry compote:

1 cup strawberries
1 cup blackberries
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp fresh mint

Chocolate ganâche:

1/2 cup heavy cream
4 oz. semisweet chocolate
1 tsp vanilla

Caramel sauce:

½ cup sugar
3 tbsps butter
¼ cup heavy cream

Crème chantilly:

1 cup heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla
¼ cup powdered sugar


1½ cup flour
1 tbsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
3 eggs
2 cups milk
2 tbsps butter

1. To make the nectarine-blueberry compote, chop the nectarines into bite-sized pieces and throw them into a saucepan with the blueberries, water, and sugar. Cook the mixture until it’s thick and bubbling, and the fruit is tender. Chiffonade the fresh mint (yes, another French technique!), and stir it into the compote.

2. Repeat step number 1 with the chopped strawberries and the blackberries to make the strawberry-blackberry compote.

3. For the chocolate ganache, bring the heavy cream just to a boil, then take it off the heat and add the finely chopped chocolate and vanilla. Whisk the mixture until it becomes smooth and shiny.

4. To make the caramel sauce, cook the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until it’s completely melted and dark amber-colored (around 350 degrees). Stir the butter into the caramel until it’s melted and combined. Slowly drizzle in the heavy cream while stirring continuously, and then let the mixture boil for 1 minute. Next, take it off the heat and let it cool.

5. Finally, whip the heavy cream with the vanilla and powdered sugar to make the chantilly.

6. Now that all the toppings are done, you can begin to make the crêpes! Blend all of the crêpe ingredients together in a blender.

7. Pour a few tablespoons of batter into a hot, buttered pan. Tilt the pan in a circle so the batter covers the entire bottom. Cook until the crêpe is golden brown on both sides, then transfer to a plate and cover to keep the crêpes warm.

8. Assemble the crêpes by filling them with the nectarine-blueberry compote, strawberry-blackberry compote, or chocolate ganache and caramel. Fold them in half and then in half again. Top with chantilly and powdered sugar, and try not to eat every last one of them!

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