Oh coconut, how I adore you! It is impossible for me to eat anything with coconut in it without getting flashbacks of applying some Hawaiian Tropic suntan oil on a hot day at the beach. It is the essence of a summer vacation, in an edible form. But I always feel that coconut needs a companion, something a bit more zingy and sharp, like the pineapple in a piña colada, to really bring the best out of the creamy flavor, or else the dish will be a little bland.
I had a serious hankering for crepes the other day, and wanted to try a coconutty version, with some gorgeous homemade strawberry syrup as its sidekick, which is also gorgeously easy to make. This is my best recipe for crepes, and I have tried a few to get it exactly right. The edges must be crispy but not dry, and the center should be moist and soft without being too greasy. The coconut flavor here is not too overpowering, but subtle and perfectly sweet. Another great thing about coconut is that due to its natural sweetness, you don’t have to add any sugar to the batter!
A favorite technique of mine while frying crepes on a pan (and I’m sure this is completely wrong according to all fancy French cooking laws, but I don’t care) is to drop a dollop of butter on the pan, wait until it has just melted and then without spreading the butter all over the pan, I pour the spoonful of batter right in the middle of the melted butter puddle, and then use the bottom of the spoon to spread the batter into a perfect round shape. For me, this gives the edges that great crispiness and just a nice texture overall.
The strawberry syrup is so delicious that you’ll never go back to the store-bought stuff after this, especially as it is so ridiculously easy to make. You can make the syrup the previous day and store it in the fridge if you want to have the syrup ready.
FOR THE STRAWBERRY SYRUP:
2 cups de-hulled and halved strawberries
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice
FOR THE CREPES:
1 cup coconut milk
1 ¼ cups regular milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ stick butter, melted
1. First, make the syrup. Put the de-hulled, halved strawberries, water, sugar and orange juice in a small saucepan. Mix to combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and let simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, so that the strawberries have completely softened and mushed up.
2. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing the pulp against the sieve with a spoon to get all the liquid out.
3. Pour the liquid back to the saucepan and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes or until the liquid turns into a syrupy consistency. Pour into a serving cup or jar and let cool in room temperature before storing in the fridge.
4. To make the batter, combine coconut milk, regular milk, flour and salt in a large bowl. Mix the ingredients together with a wire whisk until you don’t see any more clumps. Let rest in the fridge for 15 minutes and melt the butter in the meantime
5. After 15 minutes, add the melted and cooled butter and the egg, and whisk to incorporate them in the batter.
6. Fry the crepes in butter, testing to find the perfect temperature for your stove, usually for about 3 minutes on both sides. I like to start with a medium-high temp with the first side and then lower the temperature slightly for the other side.