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« Paring down | Main | Brunch Recipes and Tips from Haydon Street Inn »

A Valentine’s Day Dessert for Cooking Newbies

By Ben Mims
For Cooking Newbie, a blog for beginner cooks

Most holidays can be daunting for the beginning cook, with many courses to serve to large groups of people. Valentine’s Day is the best time for a beginning cook to shine since he or she will be cooking for just two.

I find the best way to approach this day is to see it as a normal weeknight meal, but with the quality and care turned up a few notches.

Serve meatloaf, if that’s what you and your significant other go for, but make it with the best ground beef, pork or lamb you can find and maybe some homemade ketchup slathered on top.

Planning a simple roast chicken for two? Perfect, but how about tucking a couple slices of shaved truffle or threads of saffron mixed with butter underneath the skin? These small extravagances can make a very satisfying, simple meal just that much more special.

It’s with this mindset that I thought of a way to effortlessly beautify one of my favorite desserts: Crepes Suzette. It also happens to be a great dessert for Valentine’s Day because a couple can make it together, it’s easily shareable and it’s simply stunning in its beauty when using blushing, sour-sweet blood oranges.

Blood oranges are at their peak right now, and I love the combination of a warm crepe, bathed lightly in a sweetened, butter-rich orange sauce offset with the fresh burst of blood orange segments, their deep red hue bleeding on to the plate. It’s a dessert that’s sure to catch the tastes of the one who’s caught your eye.

To get the recipe and shopping list on your smartphone (iPhone, BlackBerry, Android device) or PC, click here.

Crepes in Blood Orange Sauce
Serves 2

1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp. melted butter
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
4 medium blood oranges
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/4 cup sugar (or whatever other sweetener you prefer)

  1. Make the crepes: Whisk the flour and eggs together in a bowl until smooth, and then whisk in the milk, melted butter and salt. Let batter sit for about an hour, then whisk again until there are no more lumps. Heat a small nonstick skillet (about 8 inches) over medium heat, and pour 2 tablespoons batter into the skillet. Quickly tilt the skillet all around until the batter covers the bottom completely, and then continue cooking until the batter begins to brown at the edges. Immediately invert the skillet onto a paper towel and let the crepe fall out (Like pancakes, the first crepe never looks the best and is really more of a tester so you can adapt your cooking to the heat and practice tilting the batter to cover the pan easily.) Continue making crepes in this fashion until you have no batter left. You will only need 6 to 8 crepes for this recipe (depending on how hungry your significant other and you are), so stack any remaining and wrap them tightly in plastic wrap; you can refrigerate them for up to a week or freeze them for a month, and then use them in this recipe later or fill them with any number of leftovers, spreads and condiments for a quick snack.
  2. Make the sauce and plate the crepes: Peel 1 orange of all its pith, and working over a strainer set in a bowl, cut between each membrane to release the segments into the strainer, letting the juice fall into the bowl. Squeeze the spent membranes of any juice and then discard. Juice the remaining oranges and add to the juice in the bottom of the bowl (you should have about 3/4 cup or more of juice); set segments aside until ready to use.
  3. Add the juice to a small skillet along with the butter cut in small cubes and sugar, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, swirling the skillet to dissolve the sugar, until reduced to a thin syrup, about 2 to 3 minutes. Place 1 crepe in the skillet, and using a pair of tongs, fold it in half to form a half-moon, and then again to form a triangle. Nestle the folded crepe to the side of the skillet, and continue bathing and folding the remaining crepes until they’re all in the skillet and getting warm in the sauce.
  4. Transfer the crepes to a warmed plate and then drizzle with the sauce from the skillet. Scatter the blood orange segments over and around the crepes, and eat immediately.

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Related posts:
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  2. Sweets for the Sweet on Valentine’s Day
  3. Vacation Cooking – Improvised!
  4. Katie offers Cooking Newbie Help every Tuesday
  5. Cooking with Kids

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