Editor’s note: This blog post is guest-written by my 13-year-old daughter, who was required to cook a French dish for her French class! I am using her project report as the text for the blog. She did a great job. We chose to make berry-stuffed crepes with creme anglaise, which is a light, custard-based pouring sauce used mainly with dessert dishes. This recipe makes 2 cups of the creme anglaise, so there are plenty of leftovers-try it on pancakes and waffles, french toast, or pound cake. You can serve it hot or cold. One note about the reference to the pan-I do not have a crepe pan. We tried using a griddle, but we switched to a non-stick skillet with rounded edges, which heated the batter more evenly, to my surprise. Enjoy!
I really enjoyed this project because it was different. You don’t cook for a grade very often, so this was enjoyable. We did not have to go shopping; as I picked a recipe that I already had the ingredients for, which was convenient. I used a kitchen-aid mixer as opposed to something else, like a whisk, which saved a lot of time.
The crème anglaise took a bit of patience because you had to continuously stir it while it thickened for a long period of time, but it was worth the wait. It did not thicken as much as I had hoped, but it was still delicious with the berry crepes. The crepe batter we used was flavored with brandy and vanilla, so it was good even plain or with a little sugar.
I did end up making a pretty big mess, but that’s half the fun, right? My favorite part of this project was definitely eating it, and my least favorite part was probably trying to make the first few crepes. The pan I had wasn’t working very well, and the batter kept going on too thick and would not cook all the way through. I made a mess, but made some good ones eventually.
For creme anglaise
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 egg yolks
1 tsp cornstarch or potato starch
1 3/4 cup boiling milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon rum, kirsch, cognac, brandy, orange liqueur, or instant coffee (optional)
1 cup flour
2/3 cup cold milk
2/3 cup cold water
3 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons melted butter
To make the creme anglaise, place the egg yolks and sugar into a mixing bowl and combine, beating for 2 to three minutes, until the mixture is pale yellow and forms a ribbon. Beat in the cornstarch.
Keeping the mixer running, gradually add the boiling milk in a thin stream of droplets to allow the yolks to slowly warm. If you add the milk too quickly, the eggs will cook and you’ll be finished! We used a spoon and dripped the milk into the yolk mixture, one spoon at a time.
When all the milk has been added, pour the mixture into a heavy saucepan and set over moderate heat, stirring lowly and continuously with a wooden spoon and reaching all over the bottom and sides of the pan, until the sauce thickens just enough to coat the spoon. Do not let the custard come anywhere near a simmer. (Max temperature would be 165 on a candy thermometer).
Take the sauce off the heat and beat it for a minute or two to cool it. Beat in the vanilla and any optional flavoring you choose.
To make the crepes, place all the ingredients listed above, in order, in a blender and blend for 2 minutes until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides when necessary. Refrigerate for two hours.
When it’s time to cook the crepes, hit a non-stick skillet pre-treated with cooking spray to medium heat. When you drop a few droplets of cold water on the surface, they should sizzle. Do not let it get to the smoke point! Spoon 2-3 tablespoons (we used a spoon ladle and did one ladle full) onto the pan and immediately begin to tilt the pan in all directions to cover the bottom evenly.
Cook about 1 minutes, or until browned on the bottom. Turn carefully and cook briefly on the other size. Cool on a plate as you continue to make the rest.
You can stuff crepes with a variety of things-jam, berries or other fruit, chocolate sauce, marshmallows, caramel, or plain powdered sugar. Drizzle creme anglaise over the top and enjoy!