Kir Jensen, a pastry chef and owner of The Sugar Cube food cart in Portland, Oregon, created these crepes to go with the roasted rhubarb and lemon cream recipes. But these nutty crepes would be great in many of the sweet recipes in this book, or eaten on their own with just a smear of butter and a drizzle of honey. Look for almond paste and almond meal in the baking section of your local supermarket. (When choosing almond paste, avoid marzipan, which is not the same thing.) Almond meal is very finely ground almonds; it's like a coarse flour.
- 6 tablespoons/85 g unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split
- 1-1/2 cups/360 ml whole milk
- 4 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons almond paste
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons finely grated orange or tangerine zest
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1-1/4 cups/160 g all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup/30 g almond meal
1. Melt the 6 tablespoons/85 g butter in a small saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add them to the pan, along with the scraped pod. Cook the butter with the vanilla, swirling the pan every few seconds, until all of the water inside the butter has sizzled off and the milk solids at the bottom of the pan begin to turn a pale golden color, 2 to 4 minutes. Continue cooking the butter until it turns golden brown and smelly nutty, vanilla-y, and delicious. Immediately pour the brown butter into a bowl to stop the cooking. Discard the vanilla pod. Let the brown butter cool to room temperature before using.
2. Put the milk, eggs, almond paste, sugar, orange zest, and salt into a blender. Whiz for a few seconds to blend everything together, and then carefully remove the lid and add the flour and almond meal. Cover and blend until very smooth, about 30 seconds. Remove the lid, pour in the brown butter, cover, and whiz until combined, 20 seconds more.
3. Transfer the batter to a large glass measuring cup with a spout (or a bowl that's large enough to easily dip a 1/4-cup/60-ml measuring cup into). Let the batter rest in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours. When you're ready to make the crepes, give the batter a stir and test its consistency; if it has gotten too thick, stir in a little milk or water.
4. Heat an 8-inch/20-cm crepe pan or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until it's hot enough to make a drop of water sizzle upon contact. Using a folded paper towel, spread about 1/2 teaspoon butter around the interior of the pan. The butter should sizzle upon contact but not instantly turn brown. You don't want the pan to be so hot that the butter burns.
5. Pour about 1/4 cup/60 ml of the batter into the center of the pan, and at the same time lift the pan from the heat, tilting and turning it in all directions so the batter spreads evenly across the bottom of the pan in a thin circle. If the crepe has any holes in it, quickly add a few drops of batter to fill them in. Or, if you have too much batter and the crepe looks too thick, immediately pour the excess back into the measuring cup or bowl of batter. You can always trim off the "tail" that's left behind later.
6. Cook the crepe until the edges begin to dry and lift from the sides of the pan, and the bottom is nicely browned, about 1 minute. To check for color, use a table knife, slim offset spatula, or your fingers to lift up the crepe and quickly flip it over. Smooth out any folded edges or pleats, and then cook until the center is firm and the second side is browned, too, about 30 seconds more. The first side is almost always much prettier and more evenly browned (in these recipes, we'll call that the presentation side), while the second side tends to be more spotty.
7. Slide the crepe from the pan onto a large plate or cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining batter, adjusting the heat and wiping the pan with more butter as you cook. You can stack the crepes on the plate as they're done. If you're going to store them in the freezer, lay pieces of waxed or parchment paper between them so they don't stick together. To keep in the fridge, just stack them neatly; no need for the paper separators. (Keep the stacks small if you usually cook for a few people, or make the stack larger if you find yourself cooking for a crowd most nights.) The crepes will soften as they cool.
To store, wrap the stack in plastic wrap, and then slide it into a large zip-top freezer bag. The crepes will keep in the fridge like this for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for 2 to 3 months.
To thaw, let the stack sit at room temperature until the crepes are pliable, about an hour, and then peel them apart and proceed with your recipe.