Simplicity with Crêpes, Plums and Vanilla — La simplicité avec des crêpes, des prunes et de la vanille



Perdue dans mes pensées
Lost in my thoughts

Walking down the street, lost in my thoughts, thinking Qu’est-ce que je vais bien pouvoir faire à dîner ce soir ? (I wonder what I am going to make for dinner tonight.) People talk to me while I walk briskly — as usual I cannot take short steps as my legs are just too long — , but all I can hear is a sequence of foreign sounds blah blah blah with my head full of images of food. I should feel bad but admit that it happens anyway. So I keep a notebook with me, a Moleskine that P. bought for me a while ago, in which I write down my random ideas at any given opportunity, before I forget them, and the clever or the not-so-clever ones disappear. I need to free my brain for more thoughts to come in. And we know how it goes. Sometimes ideas come quickly and sometimes all we can see is a big blank. La page blanche.

You know like me that plums are in season, pour la joie des grands et des petits (for the joy of adults and kids), and mainly me as I love them. I did not have one only idea for the coming Sugar High Friday theme but plenty. But because I have been pretty much under the weather for a few days — I like my dentist but do not like to visit her, with my body mainly hating the antibiotics I have to take — , I decided to make the simplest of desserts that would fit into the theme, including a food that I am particularly fond of.

This month, like every time, Sugar High Friday hosted by Alanna at A Veggie Venture is fun but also quite different. A Surprise Inside or try to find a surprise inside a sweet. I thought of making crêpes.

French Crêpes — Les crêpes

Ah ben t’es française, tu dois savoir faire les crêpes !
You are French, you should know how to make crêpes!

Pardon me? I can still remember a few years ago, when a man trying to sell us eyeglasses told me this. How should I have answered? Is that right? Pretty cliché and n’importe quoi, but certainly not something I dislike. I like crêpes too much, and if making crêpes qualifies as being French, I am obviously very French. In fact, maybe this should be a requirement for anyone wanting to take the French nationality. Know how to make crêpes? You passed! Accepté !

Une crêpe is a marvelous treat, extremely simple to make, which I could eat every day without getting tired of it, ever. Thin, delicate, flying up high as it is flipped, changing sides. Flip! Paf! I do not need crêpes to be complicated, with too many flavors. When they are sweet, I like them simple, with only sprinkled sugar and a dash of lemon juice, rolled like a cigarette and eaten in less than thirty seconds.

In France, crêperies are common everywhere, although crêpes, whether sweet or savory*, are originally a food tradition from Brittany. But the best have to be the ones bought at a stand de crêpes and eaten in the street, on the go, leaving you a mouth full of sugar and sticky hands. There are endless recipes and ways to prepare them but the more original sweet versions include crêpes served soufflées or flambées, un gâteau de crêpes (a cake made of layered crêpes), or une aumônière, like this dessert, with a surprise inside.

*Savory versions are actually called galettes.


Crème anglaise, Flambéed Plums and Vanilla Crêpes

Aumônière aux prunes vanillées et crème anglaise — Pouches with Vanilla-Flavored Plum and Custard

In French, the word aumônière is derived from the word aumône, which means “giving money to someone in need”. And, if you let your imagination wander, you understand why we call this way of folding a crêpe, en aumônière.

Can you see the purse?

Yes, a small purse with coins inside. To make an aumônière, you typically place a sweet or savory preparation in the middle of a crêpe which you then close so that it has the shape of a small purse. The preparations are endless: cooked apples or any fruit you prefer, fish, vegetables, ricotta cheese with herbs and mushrooms, all are amazing choices. I have eaten many aumônières and at each time, I am always as excited to discover what is inside. You can be as creative as you want, so there is no reason not to try as it is really simple.

I served this dessert with a cardamom-flavored crème anglaise (custard), but I know it can also be enjoyed with only the juice from the fruit, and sweetened cream or vanilla ice cream, if you like so. With a little purse like this, I actually feel very rich! Toute la richesse du monde (The world richness).

Crêpes, Plums and Vanilla

(about 10 crêpes)

For the vanilla-flavored crêpes batter

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp rum
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tbsp fine cane sugar
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted

Steps:

  • Mix all ingredients in a blender and let the batter rest for 2 hours (1 hour min).

For the plums

  • 1 lb + 6 oz Italian plums (1 lb cleaned)
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 3 oz brown sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod cut in the middle
  • Confectioner’s sugar
  • Rum (optional), 2 Tbsp

Steps:

  • Wash and remove the stones from the plums. Cut in quarters or halves (depending on their size).
  • In a sautée or frying pan, melt the butter and add the plums with the sugar and the vanilla bean cut in the middle, lengthwise. Cook on medium to low heat for 25 mns, until softer. You can cook to get the consistency of your fruit you like.
  • Optionally, you can then flambée your plums with rum. Strain and keep the juice.
  • Make your crêpes.
  • Place a few pieces of fruit in the middle of each crêpe and secure the aumônière with half of a vanilla bean (use the one from the plums, cut in halves, lengthwise).
  • Preheat your oven at 350 F and warm the crêpes for 10 to 15 mns.
  • Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar and serve with plums on the side, the plum juice or the cardamom-flavored crème anglaise (recipe follows).

For the custard

  • 2 cups + 2 Tbsp milk
  • 8 green cardamom pods
  • 2 oz minus 1 Tbsp fine sugar
  • 2 egg yolks

Steps:

  • Heat the milk with the pods and bring to a boil andlLet infuse for 15 mns before filtering.
  • Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until white.
  • Add the hot milk to the cream and mix with a wooden spoon.
  • Pour the cream in the pot and return to the stove on low heat, stirring constantly until it thickens. The cream is ready when it coats the spoon (do never boil it).
    Remove it and serve.
Le coin français
Des crêpes, des prunes et de la vanille

(Pour 10 crêpes)

Pour la pâte à crêpe sucrée parfumée à la vanille

  • 125 g de farine
  • 75 ml d’eau
  • 250 ml de lait
  • 1 càc d’extrait de vanilla pur
  • 1 càs de rhum
  • 2 gros oeufs
  • 2 càs de sucre de canne fin
  • 30 g de beurre fondu

Étapes :

  • Mélangez tous les ingrédients dans un mixeur et laissez la pâte reposer pendant deux heures (1 heure min).


Pour les prunes

  • 600 g de prunes (450 g nettoyées)
  • 80 g de sucre roux
  • 1 gousse de vanille fendue en deux
  • 20 g de beurre
  • Sucre glace
  • rhum (facultatif), 2 càs

Étapes :

  • Lavez vos prunes et coupez-les en deux ou en quatre selon la grosseur des fruits, et retirez les noyaux.
  • Dans une poêle ou une sauteuse, faites fondre le beurre et ajoutez-y les prunes avec le sucre et la gousse de vanille fendue en deux.
  • Faites cuire à feu doux pendant 25 mns, jusqu’à ce que les fruits soient bien cuits (choisissez la texture que vous préférez).
  • Vous pouvez flamber les prunes avec 2 càs de rhum, si vous le souhaitez.
  • Égouttez les fruits en gardant le jus, et laissez légèrement refroidir.
  • Faites vos crêpes.
  • Posez une crêpe sur une assiette et mettez quelques fruits au centre. Fermez votre aumonière avec la moitié de la gousse de vanille.
  • Préchauffez votre four à 180 C et réchauffez vos aumonières pendant 10 mns environ.
  • Saupoudrez de sucre glace et servez avec des prunes et le jus des fruits, ou la crème anglaise parfumée à la cardamome, si vous préférez (recette qui suit).

Pour la crème anglaise

  • 1/2 l. de lait
  • 8 capsules de cardamome verte
  • 50 g de sucre de canne fin
  • 2 jaunes d’oeuf

Étapes :

  • Dans une casserole, amenez le lait à ebullition avec les capsules de cardamome et laissez infuser pendant 15 mns avant de le filtrer.
  • Battez les jaunes d’oeuf avec le sucre jusqu’à ce qu’ils blanchissent.
  • Ajoutez le lait chaud aux oeufs/sucre et mélangez avec une cuiller en bois.
  • Transférez la crème dans la casserole et faites chauffer à feu doux tout en remuant avec une cuiller en bois, jusqu’à ce que la crème épaississe. La crème est prête lorsqu’elle nappe la cuiller (elle ne doit jamais bouillir). Retirez-la alors du feu.

Posted in Dessert, French Inspired, Fruit | 40 Comments

40 comments

  1. Qu’est-ce qu’elles sont jolies tes aumonieres Bea! Mes parents m’ont donne plein de quetsches, si j’ai le temps ce weekend, j’essaierai.

  2. Stunning! And what wonderful presentation – the crepes are transformed into something even more beautiful by their being turned into ‘surprise’ bearing purses!

  3. Bea, avec toi la simplicité devient tout un art!! J’aime aussi beaucoup les aumonières.. le seul hic, c’est que mes enfants ne veulent pas les manger.. je les fais juste pour la photo ;)

  4. I also carry a small notebook to jot down random thoughts about food so that I don’t forget them. :-) The purse crepes look delicious.

  5. Bea, this is amazing, but very very expensive with the half vanilla bean…What else can we tie this with?? I have done a savory version tied with green onions, but I am going blind with the sweet version…Thank you!

  6. crepes are a simple and wonderful way to make common ingrediants classy. especially if they are tied with a vanilla bean! oh my!

  7. Mais oui, Bea, you DO amaze, each and every time. I would happily hold such a little purse, yes, with such delights to surprise, inside. Thanks for the Sugar High Friday entry! (Hope you’re feeling better soon. Bah! humbug! dentists and doctors!) Look for the round-up over the weekend …

  8. ta description des crèpes est en tout point la même que la mienne et la “dévoration” en dix secondes, ça me connait! ;-)

  9. Oh Béa these are so gorgeous!! I wish I was eating one right now for my breakfast. I adore that you secured them with the vanilla bean, terrfic presentation!
    For ‘bakingfairy’ perhaps strips of licorice would suffice?

  10. beautiful and touching story along with just magnificent photos. Thank you Bea. Keep up the fabulous momentum you have created.

  11. Those looks so adorable! I really enjoy your blog, even just looking at the pictures makes my day. And it comes with an added bonus of scrumptious recipes too!

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  13. You certainly do know how to make crepes-those are exquisite. Just perfect. Sometimes, for infomal parties, I set out a platter of freshly made crepes with flavored butters and let people fold and eat the crepes at their leisure. It’s always a great hit.

  14. So simple and yet so elegant! I wish I could have one (or two or three) right now! Wow, wow, wow!
    Dianka

  15. Hummm c’est si appétissant et poétique, et les grains de beauté de tes crêpes, miammm !!!!

  16. J’espère que tu auras le temps Gracianne, en tout cas, bon weekend.

    Merci Audrey.

    Ellie, thanks to you!

    Claude, merci à toi. Contente de savoir que ca te plait.

    Avital, ahah les coquins alors.

    Kat, thanks.

    Glen, the notebook is a must, isn’t it?

    Jennifer, thanks.

    SqPixels, thanks a lot for your visit. I am glad you like it.

    Jeff, get some more. I saw some today at Wholefoods.

    Bakingfairy, use the one from the plums, and if you make custard with vanilla, you have another one. I did not use fresh ones. In fact, always keep old ones in a jar, for that purpose.

    Connie, yes crêpes are amazingly satisfying, aren’t they?

    Chantal, thanks.

    ALanna, thanks to you for hosting! Yes I am tired of dentist, but I am almost there!

    Brilynn, thanks.

    Alhya, ah oui dévoration, c’est le vrai mot.

    Bron, if I could send you some, I would!

    Peabody, thanks.

    Lisa, are you putting, maybe, to much batter? You should really only add a little and quickly coat your pan, and cook them quickly. This is how I do it. The mistake is to put too much and coat the pan too slowly.

    Lucy, thank you very much for your sweet note!

    Christine, thanks a lot. I am touched by your words.

    Ximena, I promise, it is easy! ;-) Promis, juré !

    Rowena, thanks my dear.

    Ces, thanks to you!

    Sher, this is a great idea. Great party food indeed. With cider, mmmmmm.

    Dianka, thanks, once more. 3, ahah not more?

    Serge, thanks to you for the nice mention. Very appreciated.

    Riana, thanks.

    Elodie, ah oui, c’est vrai que ca ressemble à des grains de beauté!

    Mickymath, merci beaucoup.

    Carol, oh, I can see a painting taking shape. Super cool!

    Thanks a lot Jann!

  17. Just reading about the recipe, sent my mouth watering. Like an old American ad goes “try it…u’ll like it”, I will and let u know.

    Peace and love from Luisa

  18. My (part Irish) husband is the crepe maker in our home. I love these. The thought of flambeed plums and creme anglais is divine…very beautiful too.

  19. Your photography and food styling is gorgeous! I really enjoy your site. I love the idea of making the crepe into a little filled purse. Thanks for the recipe–it has the perfect amount of sweetness–and for the plating suggestion!

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