Sunday, December 25, 2011

Crepes with caramel and bananas

My English class and Mrs. M's Global class (same students) combined for a French Christmas party this year. Our theme combined her study of the French Revolution and our study of Les Miserables. The students did some research about French customs and planned some activities appropriate for the theme.

One of my contributions to the menu was crepes with caramel and banana sauce. It sounded so good but I'd never made caramel sauce before. I checked out a couple recipes including this one, and this one.
Some of the directions I'd read warned that it was easy to mess it up and ruin the batch, but to just try again. I only had one pint of cream, so only had one shot.

Thankfully I had enough sugar; but I called my husband just in case and had him bring a 5# bag home anyway... I had more baking to do anyway. 

Not one to follow a recipe exactly, I put less water in than it called for, but ended up adding the correct amount anyway. I thought the sugar was supposed to melt, but it was just supposed to get hot and boil. It gets REALLY hot; I'd had a drop of it get on my hand a week or so ago and it blistered up and hurt like crazy for a week.  Be careful when you make this stuff.

We're shooting for a beautiful caramelly amber color, which is sort of subjective, depending on how amber amber is to you... so they also suggest using a candy thermometer if you're unsure... 350 degrees. It took awhile to boil, and I'm still not positive when you wash the sides down to get the crystals out. 

Pretty soon it starts to color... and you better have all your ingredients on hand like they tell you to because when you start pouring the cream in, things happen fast!!   I wish I had a picture of the moment I poured the cream in ... it was a split second of clumping hot sugar and cream and panic thinking I'd ruined it... and then suddenly in the same second smoothing out in to a silky creamy buttery caramel.

Let it cool a second and taste that stuff! Mmm.
I filled two small canning jars at this point 

and there was enough left; about a half cup, to try the recipe out. I chopped a half banana into the caramel and warmed it up a little. 

 I threw a couple crepes in a pan; made them pretty small, since I only wanted to taste it...

Then filled one with the bananas, folded it over and covered it with more...

Wow... decadent! With a tiny scoop of ice cream, mascarpone and honey, or whipped cream, this little sample size would make a perfect dessert. Yes, yes, I'll be making this again.

I'm afraid my students liked the crepes without the sauce (they called them "cowboy pancakes"!) and I had lots of the sauce to take home.

I liked making this because it is pretty forgiving; you don't have to be ocd to make it come out right. I'd love to see what other people tried and were successful at...

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