I am all about using carbs as a vehicle for my sweets (despite the fact that Nutella is just as good served on a spoon), and these crêpes are no exception.
Crêpes Two Ways: Blueberry-Lemon-Vanilla Compote and Nutella-Orange-Banana With Chopped Nuts
Simple crêpes with flavorful toppings make this breakfast tough to beat.
I usually prefer a savory breakfast to a sweet one, but every now and then I like to start my day with something distinctly sugary. I usually just grab some sweetened granola with milk, but when I have a bit more time to devote to preparing my meal, I go straight for the crêpe maker. I’ve always loved crêpes, at breakfast or any other time of day, and I prefer making them instead of more traditional breakfast foods, like pancakes or waffles, because they’re just so darn simple and delicious. Crêpe batter is actually remarkably similar to pancake batter, which means that they taste (and look) a lot like a flat pancake. In fact, the main difference between the two is the addition of a leavening agent (like baking soda) to pancake batter, which makes it puff up when you cook it. Without the leavening agent, a pancake wouldn’t be fluffy or airy, either. Crêpes also have a bit more of what I like to refer to as the “good stuff,” which includes melted butter or oil as well as milk, whereas pancakes are gonna be heavier on the dry stuff (a/k/a: flour).
Just as you can with any batter, you can play around with crêpe batter and develop some fun flavors, if you like. My favorite addition is cinnamon, which just makes everything taste more breakfast-y, as far as I’m concerned. So, if you’ve ever tried a crêpe and thought of it as bland or underwhelming, keep in mind that you don’t have to stick to the recipe for the batter exactly – dress it up a bit! That being said, unlike pancake or waffle batter, to which you can also add nuts, chocolate chips, bacon, etc., crêpe batter isn’t thick enough to accommodate that kind of stuff in the batter itself, so, the best way to make sure your crêpe experience is top notch is to completely cover them with delicious toppings.
I decided to make two different toppings for my crêpes this past weekend: Blueberry-Lemon-Vanilla Compote and a Nutella-Banana combination with orange zest and chopped walnuts. The blueberry compote required actual cooking (though not a ton), but the Nutella-Banana concoction required next to no effort, so, if you’re in a pinch, that’s the one you can get ready without any planning ahead. My favorite is the blueberry compote, mostly because I think it’s just so damn pretty – the purple syrup looks great on the crêpes – but the flavors are also pretty mouthwatering, not to mention this stuff smells amazing…I mean, between the berries, lemon and vanilla, your kitchen’s gonna smell like the inside of a Yankee Candle Company (which I consider to be a pretty good thing).
If you’ve got a crêpe maker, I strongly suggest dusting it off and whipping up an all-star breakfast this weekend. Here’s how I made mine:
For the crêpes:
Pre-made crêpe batter (its cheap and it keeps things simple, which is true about very few things in life, so don’t be a hero and try to make your own – this stuff is totally fine)
Water or milk
For the Blueberry Compote:
2 6 oz packages blueberries
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup water
1 vanilla bean pod
For the Nutella-Banana topping:
3 rounded kitchen spoonfuls Nutella, warmed on the stove top or in the microwave
1 banana, sliced
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Zest of 1/2 orange
2 tbsp powdered sugar
Add the eggs, butter and other liquid (milk or water) to the crêpe batter (along with cinnamon or other spices, if desired) according to package directions and blend in a blender until all lumps are gone and batter is very smooth.
Preheat crêpe maker according to device instructions and cook crêpes, keeping them warm in the oven while you prepare all of them.
Meanwhile, prepare the compote by combining blueberries, lemon juice, lemon zest, water and sugar in a pot. Bring the ingredients to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes, until the sugar is totally dissolved, the flavors are blended and the liquid has turned a vibrant purple. Scoop the vanilla seeds from the pod and add them to the mixture, stir to combine.
Note: The addition of a 1/4 cup of sugar might look like a lot as you add it to the blueberries, but you’ll want it in there. Blueberries aren’t actually all that sweet on their own, they’re pretty tart, so unless you want sour berries and lemon juice on your crêpes – which doesn’t that great – add all of the sugar (and then taste it as you cook – you might even want more, depending on how ripe your berries are).
To prepare your crêpes, simply top them with the compote or the Nutella and banana topping (sprinkle the Nutella-banana batch with the orange zest) and finish both batches with a dusting of powdered sugar.
*you might be able to get away with using a griddle or another type of pan instead of an actual crêpe maker to cook this dish, but I haven’t tried that. If you go that route, my primary piece of advice would be to make sure it’s a non-stick surface!