Brown Butter Apple Crêpes

If I threw a dinner party and invited all the seasons as guests, Spring would arrive late, flutter between the other guests like a social butterfly, disappear here and there, then run back out to her car to reapply her make up, leaving just as quickly as she’d come.  Summer would sprawl out on the couch and stretch his long legs across the coffee table with his feet in the air.  He’d very likely spill a glass or two of Rosé on the new rug, then apologize loudly, while dabbing it up with the cuff of his shirt.  Winter, no doubt, would over-stay his welcome, howling with laughter long into the night.  I would refill his mug with hot mulled wine over and over until his cheeks were rosy and he was far too drunk to make it home, so he’d stay even longer in the guest bedroom until morning when I’d serve him a hearty breakfast and send him on his way.   Autumn, however, would arrive right on time, neither late nor early but punctual as always, draped in a lovely crimson evening gown, with mahogany velvet trim.  Her golden hair would be swept back by the fingers of the wind into a graceful up-do.  At the door she’d hand me a very fine bottle of cellared Bordeaux from a vintage like 1964 or 1982, which we’d open and decant with dinner.

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How funny that these days the arrival of fall is determined by when Pumpkin Spice flavoured everything hits the store shelves and lands on the chalkboard easels standing outside of Starbucks!  As much as I love pumpkins, I prefer to decorate with them.  They are far too beautiful to eat!  I’ve never been a huge pumpkin fan especially when it’s mixed with sweet spices like cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.  To me, apples are what fall is all about.

Friday was the first day of fall, and true to form, by Saturday morning the temperature had dropped and a fine veil of mist hung in the eastern sky… right on time.  Heavy clouds clung low on the mountain side where patches of golden aspens were popping up deep within the green pine forests.  On mornings like those, there’s nothing I love to do more than wrap a blanket around my shoulders and sit in front of the window with a cup of coffee in my hands, watching the steam rise and the clouds drift across the sky.  Then, naturally, I always end up at the stove, still in my bathrobe, of course, with a second cup of coffee, baking or stirring a pot of something that is warm and comforting enough to cut through the cool, damp air.  I’d spend hours in the kitchen on Saturday morning if I could – it’s my happy place – but last weekend we had friends over from out-of-state and were planning a hike in those mountains later that afternoon.   I made these crêpes before we left.  They’re quick, easy, and everyone loves them.  I spread a thin layer of apple jelly and some toasted walnuts on the inside and rolled them up.  Then topped them with a simple apple compote that I make very often during apple season.  You could peel the apples before cooking them, but I love the color they turn the compote – a rosy pink that is so pretty on top of the crêpes.  Shower them with a dusting of powdered sugar just before serving.

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Brown Butter Apple Crêpes

I like to spread a thin layer of apple jelly – the clear kind, not apple butter – on the inside of these crêpes and fill with a handful of toasted walnuts.  Then roll them, dust with powdered sugar and top with a quick, simple apple compote.

3 TBSP butter
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup apple cider
1 cup flour
2 TBSP brown sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
additional butter for the pan

Place 3 TBSP butter in a small pan over medium heat and cook until brown and nutty, watching carefully so it doesn’t burn.  Remove from the heat and let cool.

Add all the ingredients except for the additional butter to the pitcher of a blender.  Pulse several times and scrape down the sides to make sure everything is evenly mixed.  Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Heat a small, non-stick pan over medium heat.  Add a sliver of butter and swirl until melted.  Place approximately 2 TBSP of batter in the middle of the pan and swirl the pan to spread the batter into an even, thin layer.  Cook for 45 seconds or until lightly brown, then flip and cook another 20 to 30 seconds.  Remove to a platter and continue with the remaining batter.

Apple Compote

1 tsp butter
2 firm, crisp apples (I used Honeycrisp)
2 TBSP apple cider
1 TBSP brown sugar
a pinch of salt

Core and chop the apples.  Melt the butter in a sauce pan and add the apples.  Cook, stirring occasionally unit the apples are lightly browned.  Add the cider, sugar and salt and bring to a boil.  Simmer gently, stirring occasionally until the apples are soft, but still hold their shape and the liquid is thick and syrupy.

To assemble the crêpes:

Spread each crêpe with a thin layer of apple jelly and a handful of toasted, chopped walnuts.  Roll loosely and top with the apple compote and a dusting of powdered sugar.

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