Last night, my guy and a bunch of his college buddies drove into San Francisco for a big reunion dinner. I tagged along for the ride down, but instead of crashing their party plans, I invited my mom to join me for food in Japantown.
Despite living in the Bay Area for almost 30 years, she had never actually been! We wandered around the shops inside, and I pointed out some of my favorite trinket stores before we played eenie-meanie-miney-mo to pick a restaurant.
The hostess immediately led us to a table and handed us menus. Even though Mom can’t eat raw fish, I convinced her to try the pickled gourd and sour plum sauce sushi rolls along with her soup. Her eyes lit up like it was Christmas morning as she bit into the latter—so cute!
After paying the bill, we power-walked over to the only open crêpe place for dessert. (It’s hereditary: sweets are always our top priority!) We placed our order then watched, mesmerized by the smooth swirl-and-flip motion of the cooks deftly churning out the crêpes.
To save on plates and silverware, this store served their treats wrapped up in paper cones. Not exactly ideal for a messy eater like me… Mom laughed after nearly every bite I nibbled—I always ended up with Nutella on my nose!
Although I love that classic combination of strawberries and Nutella we both chose, I created a slightly more seasonal flavor back at home: Pumpkin Pie Crêpes!
To make the crêpes, you’ll start with the filling. It’s a combination of the typical pie ingredients—pumpkin purée, sugar, spices, and vanilla—but because you won’t cook the filling, it’s thickened with Greek yogurt instead of evaporated milk and eggs. You can make the filling up to a day or two in advance; just store it in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble everything.
For the crêpes themselves, you’ll whisk together an egg and egg white until frothy and bubbly and then whisk in some milk, sugar, and vanilla. Really put some muscle into it! The harder you whisk and the frothier it gets, the lighter the crêpes will be.
You must sift the flour before whisking it into the milk mixture. This prevents the flour from clumping and makes the batter really smooth. Now after all of that hard work, you deserve a break! So let the batter rest for at least 10 minutes on the counter (or up to 1 hour in the fridge) to allow the gluten strands to relax too.
Next comes the fun part: cooking! Using a ⅓ measuring cup, drop about ¼ cup of batter into an 8” pan preheated pan generously coated with nonstick spray. Quickly pick up the pan and twist it around to coat the bottom with a thin layer of batter. I usually end up turning the pan completely vertical to do so. I look hilarious, but my technique doesn’t matter as long as the crêpes come out evenly!
To flip the crêpes, use your largest, widest spatula. Loosen the edges all the way around first; then gently slide the spatula underneath and turn them over, using your other (clean) hand to guide and support the crêpes if necessary. It’s just like flipping an omelette, except the crêpes won’t rip and tear as easily! When they finish cooking, turn out the crêpes onto a large plate and place a paper towel in between each to prevent them from sticking to each other.
To assemble, spoon ¼ cup of the filling into a rectangle in the center of each crêpe. Fold the short edges in first, followed by the longer edges; then flip it over the hide the seams. You can serve them cold, but I highly recommend warming them in the microwave for a few seconds—or at least topping them with whipped cream!
These Pumpkin Pie Crêpes taste just like their namesake! Sweet, spiced, and packed with pumpkin flavor. The thick creamy filling even sits inside of a (soft crêpe) crust!
And I bet I wouldn’t hear one single complaint if I served them instead of pie as our Thanksgiving dessert!