September 8, 2009
Crêpes au Cerises
by Gareth Mark
Now that I have nearly 2 liters of cherry liqueur sitting around, I have to come up with excuses to use it. Yes, it makes a great Cherry Coke, but I can only drink so many of those. As it happens, I'm teaching a series of classes based on classic French cooking, so instead of Crêpes Suzette, I made this.
First I made some crêpes using the basic ratio in Michael Ruhlman's Ratio. If you don't have that book yet, you really ought to get a copy. The standard ratio for crêpe batter is 2:2:1 (liquid : egg : flour), which works out to 8 ounces of liquid, 4 large eggs, and 4 ounces of flour. He suggests milk for the liquid. I used cherry liqueur and milk. I also added a tablespoon of sugar, whisked everything together, then covered and refrigerated for several hours to let the flour hydrate fully.
Next, I altered the standard Suzette butter, which calls for orange. I used the zest and juice of one tangelo instead, to which I added a third of a cup of sugar and ½ cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter. The ingredients went into a food processor for thorough mixing, then into a covered bowl for thorough chilling.
The cherry liqueur I'd made tasted pretty good, but I felt it needed more depth, so about a week ago I strained it and added half a pound of dried sour cherries. They cut just enough of the sweetness to make the liqueur much better, and at the same time added a third layer of cherry flavor. I strained those cherries out of the liqueur and chopped some to add to my dessert.
To complete the dessert, I heated a large skillet (12") over medium high heat, then added about half the compound butter. As the butter melted, I added the crêpes, folded in triangles, and the chopped cherries. Once everything was hot and the butter was bubbling nicely, I added about a third of a cup of cherry liqueur and flambéed. After plating, I added a dollop of crème fraîche to balance the sweetness.
If you don't mind the number of steps in this preparation, making a flambéed crêpe dessert is a rather spectacular way to finish off a meal. Do be careful, though, or have enough to share with the fire department.