September 20, 2007

apple crepes

They may be sweet or savory, filled and rolled up or folded up like with crepes suzette, but no matter how it's served, crepes are a classic favorite. I had a chance to try a savory crepe when I was in Germany for some job training and my friends from work took me for a weekend bike ride around the town. We then tried a nice creperie for lunch. I remember the restaurant was tucked in a quiet and secluded setting, along the neat bike trail. Wish I was a foodie back then so I could have taken more pictures of the food I've had and restaurants I've been to. My friends all ordered vegetable filled savory crepes and I was feeling adventurous enough to order the same. I remember I had a broccoli and cheese filled crepe, not the best one in the menu I suppose, but it was a good first taste of a savory crepe. Back then, I would only associate crepes with sweet desserts and to this day, this is still my preference.

the photo above was taken by my cousin at a
Goldilocks branch in L.A. where they had
lumpiang ubod (shown at left) & teriyaki chicken for lunch

Savory crepes are not new in the Philippines though. We have our local version of it called "lumpiang ubod", a popular fresh spring roll made with julienned heart of palm served with a sweet and salty sauce. "Ubod" or heart of palm is harvested from the trunk of coconut trees. It has a mild young coconut flavor which is best used for this spring roll version. When I was a kid, I remember we had an old coconut tree in our backyard which had to be chopped down and this huge chunk of ubod was found in it's trunk. Fresh hearts of palm, the star ingredient in this roll or crepe, are avaible in the local markets in Manila. Most Manila restaurants also have this local crepe version in their menus. It's actually one of the most popular items in the menu of a local fast food chain there called Goldilocks. Although the thin wrappers are made with cornstarch instead of flour, the same basic method is used for making them. Since fresh "ubod" is not really available here, I got the idea from a nice Filipina lady I cooked with once, to use semi-ripe pears as a substitute for it. I've seen canned hearts of palm sold in Asian markets which I would like to try as well.

Crepes are very elegant but easy to make. For the filling, I used one apple, diced, mixed with brown sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice and a little flour for thickening. The filling was simmered for a few minutes until the apples were cooked but still a bit crunchy. Set aside the filling while making the crepes. I just used a store-bought caramel syrup for the topping and sprinkled the crepes with powdered sugar. Variations for the filling are unlimited and trying out many different combinations may lead to some new ideas and interesting flavors.


1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
1-2 tablespoons melted butter

Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl then add the eggs. Pour some of the milk and whisk until most of the flour is incorporated. Slowly add the rest of the milk and continue whisking. The mixture will be very thin. Whisk until bubbles appear on the surface. Add the melted butter and mix well. Heat a small non-stick skillet and start making the crepes by pouring a small amount of the crepe batter and immediately swirling the skillet to make a very thin crepe. Use a rubber spatula or your fingers (be careful not to touch the hot skillet) to lift the crepe edges and to flip them to cook the underside. The crepe must be very lightly browned and delicate in appearance. Spoon about three tablespoons of the apple mixture into the center of the crepe and fold up. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

the crepes (above) ready for the filling

just one of the many filling variations

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