the last of summer

September 3rd, 2013

Family, friends and strangers alike called my Mother’s father, “Pappy”.  By all reports he was a magical man who wasn’t able to leap tall buildings or move faster than a speeding train. He cared for his family through the depression, ensuring food on the table and a proper song or poem at the close of each day.  He taught his daughters to waltz and his sons to think big.

Pappy always used to say that he would eat anything if it were draped in Hollandaise Sauce, including sawdust.  I have always concurred with that statement and dare to take it a step further: anything draped in Crème Anglaise, sawdust included, sounds mighty tasty to me!  I never met Pappy, because he died before I was born, but I’ve always known him, and I’m certain that he’s somewhere nearby, in spirit.

The last of summer’s strawberries bid good-bye to kitchens regaling their many wonders all season long in the form of jams, shortcakes, and brief dips into liquid chocolate.  I was thinking some local strawberries and candied walnuts tucked into a crêpe and generously draped with Crème Anglaise would bid a proper adieu to the season, and Pappy, I’m sure, would be the first to agree.

Strawberry Crêpes with Candied Walnuts and Crème Anglaise



Related Recipes

Candied Walnuts

For a spicy version add a sprinkle of cayenne.  For a sweet/salty version, add a sprinkle of sea salt.

  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup walnut halves and pieces

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper for cooling the nuts.

Melt brown sugar in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Add walnuts and mix briefly with a rubber spatula until walnuts are evenly coated.

Pour mixture onto the parchment paper and quickly separate the pieces.  Allow to cool.  Store in a tightly closed container.

Crème Anglaise

  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons sugar

Combine milk and cream in medium saucepan and bring mixture to a simmer. Remove from heat.

Whisk egg yolks and sugar in medium bowl until pale in color. Gradually whisk hot milk/cream mixture into yolk mixture. Pour custard back into the saucepan. Stir gently and constantly over low heat to a temperature of 170 degrees.

Strain sauce into a clean bowl. Cover and chill.

Fool-proof Crêpes

This ratio of wet to dry renders a perfect crepe batter that needs no tweaking.

Makes 12 eight-inch crêpes.

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

In a medium bowl, blend first four ingredients until well incorporated.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for one hour.

Prepare a crêpe station near the stove with:

  • Crêpe pan
  • Rubber spatula for turning crêpes
  • 1/3 cup ladle or measuring cup, for meting out crêpe batter
  • Large plate for stacking cooked crêpes
  • Unsalted butter for greasing crêpe pan for first crêpe

Cook the crêpes:

  • Preheat crêpe pan over medium heat.
  • Remove crêpe batter from refrigerator and add the melted butter, stirring quickly to combine.
  • Swirl a small dab of butter on the crêpe pan.  Lift pan from heat and with the other pan scoop out 1/3 cup batter and pour onto pan.  Quickly and evenly, tilt the pan side to side to spread the batter.  Return pan to stove and watch carefully as the crêpe surface changes from wet to dry.  Use the spatula to peek underneath and when crêpe is lightly browned, gently turn it over.  The second side takes less time to cook and will acquire a different appearance, slightly freckled with brown spots.  Flip out onto a plate, freckled side up, and continue with the rest of the batter, stacking them up as you go.

Note: the freckled side is considered the inside of the crêpe and the presentation side is the other. When rolling or folding crêpes in a secondary recipe, ensure that the presentation side is topside – simply because it’s the prettier!

Copyright © Katherine Stetson, all rights reserved.