I vividly remember my first real-live-authentic-made-in-Paris-by-a-professional crêpe. I was twenty-one years old, visiting my best friend Gabriel during her study abroad program in Paris. To prevent jet lag from taking me to a more somnolent state Gaby walked me around the neighborhood where her host family lived. Alongside the beautiful architecture, lovely spring flowers bursting bright and cheerful colors, and of course the chic pedestrians, was a tiny roadside crêperie stand. Gaby helped me to order a savory chicken and guyere lunch crêpe and assured me I was in for a treat.
I was in for a trance.
I don't know if it was the overnight plane travel, the bright spring sunshine, or the joy of a simple repast well-prepared, but I was wrapped in a wafer-thin pancake reverie punctuated by mellow, gooey gruyere. As I stumbled along beside her, Gaby smiled knowingly and confided, "wait til you taste a nutella one!"
If I knew then what I know now I would have responded, "wait til you try my coconut crêpes!"
Instead of Paris there is bright spring sunshine in the form of tropical kiwi. There is the lovely, bursting red bloom of sweet strawberries. There are soft, pillowy clouds of coconut cream to whisk you into a coconut crêpe reverie.
It helps if you have either a crêpe pan or a nonstick pan. I don't have a crêpe pan but I did use my 8-inch Swiss Diamond fry pan which was a gift from my mother and happens to be my favorite nonstick cookware that I own. This recipe makes 5 crêpes in this small pan; if the first one goes as an offering to the pancake gods (which mine always seems to do) you'll have two 2-crêpe portions left.
Coconut Crêpes ~ serves 2
2 oz AP flour
5 oz coconut milk
1.5 oz butter, melted & divided
1 whole egg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup coconut milk solids
1/4 cup toasted coconut, divided
confectioner's sugar, to taste
This is one of those recipes where precision helps. Weigh out the ingredients before you begin. Beat the egg in the center of the flour with a fork, like you were making pasta. Whisk in just one tablespoon of the butter to batter and whisk in the remaining ingredients to a smooth, thin consistency.
Heat your pan over medium heat. When pan is hot brush with a small amount of the remaining butter and drop in 3 tablespoons of batter. Work quickly to tilt the pan so an even, thin pancake is formed. Let cook until edges are crispy and the top of the crêpe appears dry. Flip with a clean motion or use a rubber spatula to help you flip the crêpe over. You can stack completed crêpes on top of each other until ready to fill.
For the filling: whisk heavy cream with confectioners sugar until you have whipped cream. Add coconut milk solids in one spoonful at a time. This will deflate your whipped cream somewhat but that's ok - the flavor is fantastic.
Slice the fruit. An easy trick for peeling kiwi is to slice off each end and insert a spoon between the flesh and the skin. Run the spoon around the fruit to easily separate the two and then just peel off the skin. Voilá!
To assemble the crêpes add a small amount of coconut cream to each one, fill with fruit, and top with another dollop of coconut cream as well as toasted coconut.
There are many variations you can make with the coconut crêpe recipe as the base. Some options include:
Nutella + coconut (of course!)
Rum, banana + coconut
Passion fruit, raspberry + coconut
Chocolate, strawberry + coconut
Mango, raspberry + coconut
Kiwi, banana + coconut
Banana, brown sugar + coconut
Apricots, almonds + coconut
Honey, cardamom + coconut
Whatever combination you choose - enjoy!