The first strawberry grown in a garden was in the late 18th century in France. Before that they were primarily used for medicinal purposes. Thank goodness someone recognized that strawberries can be appreciated just for being a strawberry. I hate to think about missing out on the wonders of this remarkable red berry. 8 berries have more vitamin C than an orange. The little strawberry is also among the top 20 fruits in the antioxidant category and 1 cup has just 45 calories.
As a child I got hives from eating strawberries. I don’t get them anymore but still I’m cautious about eating to many. And sometimes they are hard to stay away from. Not that I’d want to. I fondly remember strawberry season in Israel where thirty some years ago the family I lived with had 5 kids. At lunch, dad would march home with food from the market, and with any luck he’d have giant bags of strawberries. After seeing how they were sold in the US I was amazed that one could buy strawberries in such quantities. As quickly as they were washed, those berries were gone, and all that was left were 5 red berry, stained mouths waiting for the next day when dad would arrive home again with more.
My mother always made us the Bisquick shortcakes for the requisite strawberry shortcake topped with Cool Whip at least once each season. That is unless we were on diets whereby we resorted to bowls of fresh red strawberries along side a big bowl of sour cream and another of brown sugar. Simple and sublime. What a perfect match and one I still serve today. Trust me there is nothing better than dipping a giant red strawberry in sour cream and then in brown sugar. Today Greek yogurt would make a great substitute.
Now I am not a big fan of strawberry ice cream or strawberry syrup-even on a Banana Split. But I love strawberry jam and strawberries on waffles and these strawberry crepes. I love crepes. Crepes at the Magic Pan in Chicago on Michigan Avenue were like a decadent treat when I was growing up. Any shopping day requires requires a well fortified lunch and that was always my choice. I don’t remember what I ordered but it was the only lunch where I was allowed to get dessert, too! If we were lucky enough to still be in the city for dinner, The Blackhawk and their chilled spinach salad brings up fond memories but alas, I don’t believe either are there anymore.
It was the Magic Pan that convinced my mother to buy a proper crepe pan. She bought some black domed iron pan that sat directly on the burner. The idea was to dip it in the batter and then turn it right side up to cook. These didn’t require flipping. Frankly, I don’t remember it working the way it was supposed to so I just use a teeny Calphalon 7″ saute pan to make mine. I think that black pan was probably tossed years ago but I still have the cookbook that came with it. It’s missing its cover but that’s OK. The good stuff is on the inside.
Crepes are perfect foils for any kind of filling, be it sweet or savory. You can always make crepes benedict or fill your crepes with mushrooms and cheese. I remember dessert crepes filled with chocolate mousse and topped with whipped cream. The varieties are endless but today is really about the crepe. When my kids were young and for a change from pancakes we often made crepes. One can eat them like pancakes with syrup or fill them with fruit or bacon or just whipped cream. Cheese is a great filling and then the crepe can be folded in quarters and eaten like a sandwich. Crepes always made the meal feel more special and that is why they are another great choice for Mother’s Day.
The first crepe is always the hardest but on the other hand it is always the one I taste first. Just to make sure, don’t you know? Don’t be intimidated. give it a go!
Strawberry Crepes (Makes about a dozen 7″ crepes)
2 eggs beaten
1/3 c milk or cream
1/3 c water
3/4 c all purpose flour
1 T melted butter
1 t vanilla
(Extra melted butter for greasing the pan)
In 4 cup measuring cup beat eggs and then add milk and water. Whisk well. Gradually mix in flour. This mixture should end up smooth, but if you don’t want to do this an immersion blender works, too! Add melted butter, sugar and vanilla and mix well.
Batter should be smooth and have the consistency of heavy cream.
Heat your teeny pan and and brush well with melted butter. You don’t want the pan to hot or your crepe will burn. Medium high usually works for me but you may have to lower the heat if it gets to hot. A drop of water should bounce and sputter, not evaporate immediately if you want to check the temp.
Pour in about 1/4 to 1/3 c of batter starting in the center of the pan and pour in a spiral fashion. Now swirl the pan and make sure you have enough batter covering the bottom of the pan and that it is even in depth. Cook until the bottom is light golden in color. This takes about a minute. If you cook the crepe on too high of heat it will get to crisp. Using tongs gently lift the crepe to check. If it is ready turn over and cook the other side until done but it doesn’t have to turn gold on this side. Now you’ve got it! Brush pan with butter and repeat! Crepes can be stacked and kept warm under a towel until ready to fill.
1 lb of fresh strawberries cleaned and quartered or sliced.
If strawberries are not sweet enough feel free to add a spoonful of sugar.
1 c hulled strawberries
2 T confectioner’s sugar
2 T orange juice or raspberry juice or Grand Marnier
Put strawberries in a deep bowl or cup and using immersion blender blend until desired consistency. Stir in sugar and juice or liquor.
Sour Cream Brown Sugar Sauce
1 c sour cream or plain Greek Yogurt
1/4 c brown sugar
Mix together and use for a dollop. Lots of dollops!
Fill crepes with fresh strawberries. Surround one side with some strawberry sauce. Top with a dollop of sour cream brown sugar sauce.
Make sure your mouth is berry stained and be sure to kiss the cook!