Baked Austrian Crêpes with Apricot Caramel Sauce . $7.40

Oh you’re having a party, you say? A special party? Like the blockbuster blogging event, the one year anniversary of Fiesta Friday? The event where the premier food bloggers can’t wait to bring their favorite dish every week? And you’d like me to bring a dessert, you say? You don’t have to ask me twice!

Austrian Crepes baked in Custard, served with Apricot Caramel Sauce
Austrian Crepes baked in Custard, served with Apricot Caramel Sauce

Let me describe to you a show stopper of a dessert, one that will take you to a village square in Austria, the stars twinkling, snow gently falling, people gathering, chatting, children running. The air, crisp, clean. Horses with sleigh bells. Time suspended. Then imagine you’ve come inside to toasty warmth, shedding the cold with your hats, mittens and coats to find the sights and smells of Christmas embracing you.

The Austrian Crêpes are ready, just coming out of the oven. the smell of custard and apricots filling the air. On the table now, just being dusted with powdered sugar as the clinks of plates and silverware and warm conversation fill the room. Crispy, golden brown peaks jut out above the pool of creamy custard sauce, and the warmed Caramel Apricot Sauce sits to the side to be passed and drizzled over all.

Then the room quiets, the conversation comes to a standstill. A bite of these Austrian Crêpes is an experience like no other. A subtle, delicious combination of flavors and textures. The top of the crepe is a little crunchy and sweet, giving way to the rather fluffy, flavorful filling, punctuated by the dried fruit. That’s all enveloped, a few bites in, by the luscious vanilla custard, warm and silky. And the Apricot Caramel Sauce, drizzled over the top, just takes this to another world. Maybe another universe.

Austrian Crepes baked in Custard, served with Apricot Caramel Sauce
Austrian Crepes baked in Custard, served with Apricot Caramel Sauce

Making these crêpes is an anniversary for me; I’ve made these crêpes every Christmas season for the past twenty years. It seems a fitting dish to bring to Fiesta Friday’s anniversary.  I wish I could say these were passed down by my (former) Mother-in-Law, an Austrian by birth, who could whip up all kinds of wonderful desserts at the drop of a hat. I wish I had more food memories from her to pass down to my daughter.

I wonder if she’d embrace the American substitutions, or turn up her nose? She was a woman of definite opinions. I imagine, though, she had to make some of the same substitutions, here on our soil. In Austria, I’m sure these would be filled with Quark rather than our American cream cheese, and the crêpes, I’ve read are a little different. Currants, hard to find here, are often substituted by me with dried cherries, cranberries, and even once, finely diced dried pear. At any rate, these are for you, Liana, and for you, my dearest daughter.

These crêpes are a bit of a project, but I make it easy by breaking it down into components. That keeps me from filling up my kitchen with pots and pans and dirty dishes and makes baking these off, even on a busy Holiday, a piece of cake…er, crepe!

  • First I make the Apricot Caramel Sauce, usually a couple days ahead, just to get it out of the way.
  • The Crêpes are made ahead. They keep beautifully between layers of wax or parchment paper in the fridge for a day or two, or in the freezer for several weeks. I often double the recipe just to have an extra stash in the freezer for a quick, elegant dessert anytime. Imagine what a hero you’ll look like when you need a dessert at a moment’s notice and show up with crêpes!
  • Day of, I mix up the filling, spread it on the crêpes and roll them, whip together the custard sauce and bake them off. 🙂

With just a little planning, this extravaganza of a dessert comes to the table looking absolutely effortless, and you’ll look like a hero! Happy Holidays, everyone!

Austrian Crepes baked in Custard, served with Apricot Caramel Sauce
Austrian Crepes baked in Custard, served with Apricot Caramel Sauce

Baked Austrian Crepes

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Overview: First make the filling, then assemble the crêpes and place in dish, whisk together custard sauce, pour over the crêpes, then bake.

Preheat oven to 400°F after making the filling. and lightly butter a 14-inch-long oval gratin dish or other 2 1/2-quart shallow baking dish.

Filling:

  • 1/2 cup dried currants (see note at bottom of page)
  • 1 cup boiling-hot water
  • two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup apricot jam
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

In a small heatproof bowl plump currants in boiling-hot water 15 minutes and drain. Pat currants dry between paper towels.

In a bowl with an electric mixer beat whites with a pinch of salt until they hold soft peaks. Add sugar to whites and beat meringue until it holds stiff peaks.

In a food processor or in a bowl with an electric mixer blend together well the cream cheese, jam, yolks, zest, and vanilla.

Fold cheese mixture into meringue gently but thoroughly and fold in currants.

Assemble the Austrian Crêpes:

    • crêpes
    • filling, above

Working with 1 crêpe at a time, spread about 2 tablespoons filling down the center of each crêpe. Fold in half, and roll from the center. Gently pat to make sure filling is distributed throughout the length of the crêpe.

With a sharp knife cut crêpes on a diagonal in half and arrange vertically, cut side up, overlapping slightly. Crêpes may be prepared up to this point 4 hours ahead and chilled, covered. Bring crêpes to room temperature before proceeding.

Custard Sauce:

    • 2 large eggs
    • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
    • 1 cup milk

In a small bowl whisk together eggs, granulated sugar, and milk and pour over the stacked crêpes, letting custard seep between layers. If necessary, depending on how tightly packed, nudge the crepes just a bit to allow the custard to seep through.

Baking:

Bake crêpes in middle of oven 35 to 40 minutes, or until puffed and custard is nearly completely set. Watch carefully as this varies quite a bit with different pans and ovens.

Have a piece of foil ready to gently lay over the top of the crêpes once they’ve turned golden brown, as the tips may easily burn. Cool to warm before serving.

Finish and accompaniment:

Dust crêpes with confectioners’ sugar and serve with apricot caramel sauce.

from the kitchen of http://www.frugalhausfrau.com

 

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Adapted from  Gourmet, December 1994.

 Put Your own Spin on It:

      • Vary the dried fruits: Slice dried cherries, cranberries, dried peach or pear, or other dried fruit.
      • Vary the soaking liquid for the dried fruit. Consider Brandy, Grand Marnier or another favorite instead of water.
      • If desired, another jelly or jam could be substituted for the Apricot, although one might want to be mindful of the color of the finished filling. Some jams may produce a startling color which might be rather off putting when cutting into the dish.
      • Change the Caramel Sauce to complement the changes in the filling.

Note: When you make these Austrian Crepes, you’ll soak the dried fruit in hot water, then strain. It’s a bit of a waste to toss that lovely juice down the drain! Plus, when you make the crepes, you’ll likely have a little Seltzer or Club Soda left over.

Why not combine the two for a beautiful blush beverage – just enough for one thirsty cook or perhaps enough to divide in small glasses for the eager children looking on, just waiting and waiting and waiting for the crepes?

A little Chef bonus - juice from the dried berries & left over Soda
A little Chef bonus – juice from the dried berries & left over Soda

Let’s talk about saving money:

This is a long post, so I’m just going to give a few notes for the cost. The dried fruit – buy it during the holidays if possible on sale with a coupon. I think my package ran $1.50, regularly $2.99, but I didn’t use the whole thing, so I’ll estimate 50 cents. Cream cheese is often on sale for a dollar a package, and always a dollar at Aldi, $2.00. Jam was $3.29 full price, I saved a bit with a coupon and sale bought the jar for $2.50, used about 1/3rd so it cost me 83 cents. The rest of the sugar, eggs, milk, etc., ran around 60 cents. This totaled up to $3.93.

Add the $3.93 plus the $1.90 for the crepes and $1.58 for the sauce, it all comes to about $7.40. Even with careful shopping this is not exactly “cheap,” but you’d be hard pressed to make a gourmet dessert of this caliber that serves 10 to 12 for much less.

I’ve spent much more than that for just the chocolate in a dessert, before! 🙂

20 thoughts on “Baked Austrian Crêpes with Apricot Caramel Sauce . $7.40”

    1. Thanks! I always worry a bit when I post a recipe with the name of a country in it – what if they’re completely different there! 🙂

      Of course, if one lived in Austria, they probably wouldn’t be called “Austrian.”

  1. That first photo is gorgeous…fabulous cross-section view or a delicious dessert! I’m so glad you shared this with all of us at FF…this recipe is moving to the top of my “must make” recipe list!

    1. Thanks so much, Nancy! I’m afraid the photos don’t do this dish justice! I hope you and your family love it as much as we do – and if you’re not having a party, well this dish is an excuse to throw one together! 🙂

  2. Gorgeous dessert … I’ve made a crepe cake with matcha powder green crepes, raisin and ricotta blintzes, crepes suzette, peach melba crepes with a honeyed ricotta filling, lemon curd crepes and cherry jubilee crepes. I even even filled savoury crepes with paprikash and baked it in the sauce and I’m never tired of trying a new version.

    I look forward to trying this custard version in the future.

    1. I have never met a version of a crepe I haven’t liked, although I’ve never had one with Matcha powder~!!

      There is a deli I love here in town where there are an assortment of savory crepes. I’ve been meaning to copycat one of there recipes! It’s a Polish deli and they make their own sausages…wonderful place!

      http://kramarczuks.com/

      1. I checked them menu and spotted the Nalesnyky. Sounds good. The first savoury crepe I ever heard of were the seafood ones, which I’ve never made, strangely enough.

        I’ve gotten to the point that even my first crepe is usually a success. I like letting the batter sit in the fridge overnight and then straining it to get out any lumps the next day. I’ve never used seltzer water because my mom never did. 🙂

        1. Hey did you happen to notice the Piroshok; they look an awful lot like my Bierock or Runza we were talking about the other day. Unless they’ve cut back their menu, they serve a lot more than is shown there.

          1. I took a look and you’re right. Except for the hard boiled eggs.

            Funny how sometimes there’s one or two things in a recipe that you don’t like which stops you from making it even if you like the OTHER stuff. There’s an Argentinian-style empanada recipe that I’ve been wanting to make for ages but they haves olives (don’t like) and hard boiled eggs in them … which makes me hesitant to try it. Oh, and raisins. If I could taste one and knew I liked it in spite of that one ingredient, I’d make it, but I hate to make an entire recipe if I don’t think I’ll like the filling.

            1. I love empanadas, and I’m guessing your recipe is based of Picadillo, which has the raisins and olives. I’d say leave out the eggs, use a bit of vinegar or just the olive juice – and don’t be afraid of the raisins. Chop them up and they’ll melt in and you’ll never know that they’re there.

              What’s lovely about these picadillo recipes is the sweet/sour notes from the olive/raisin combo, and the raisins add a rich taste that doesn’t taste like raisin at all. Kind of like using prunes in an Eastern European stew! 🙂

              I have been meaning to post an Empanada recipe, but I don’t have a fave!

              1. I’d use the vinegar, since I’m not likely to be buying the jarred or loose olives, but I think I’ll use the eggs and raisins. I’m not sure if I HAVE raisins in the house right now so, depending on how motivated I am to get out of the house tomorrow (before the big snow storm that’s supposed to hit us Saturday evening), who knows what I’m going to be making this weekend.

                So many great recipes to try and I cooked up a storm today. I made two kinds of chicken livers today, and a spinach rice dish which I turned into baked spinach-rice balls. I had some of the chicken livers on top of cheesy polenta, instead of my usual mashed potatoes. Delish.

                http://a-boleyn.livejournal.com/

  3. This is quite stunning. I loved your narrative and could completely imagine myself outside and then in the room, digging in – gah – there are times I regret that this is a virtual party!! Thank you so much for this fabulous contribution to the Fiesta Friday table – it’s bound to be very popular with the crowd! Happy Weekend!

    1. Selma, thanks for stopping by and for the lovely compliments! I sure wish you were at my kitchen table so I could serve you up a slice!

      I am so glad I took the plunge and joined in on the Fiesta Friday Festivities! (Plus what a great excuse to make these crepes, which didn’t happen while I was traveling for the holidays! 🙂 ) So now, my 20 year streak is intact! 🙂

  4. Thats incredible, what a beautiful and delicious dessert. I’ve never heard of anything like this before but it has everything I love in one lovely dessert. Thank you for bringing this gorgeous confection to the party.

    1. Thanks so much! I felt like I should “bring” something special, and what a great opportunity to get this recipe on my blog for my daughter! And NOT break my 20 year streak!

      I hafta say I am absolutely impressed with your Pasticiotta, and have never heard of them! What a wonderful heritage recipe!

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