Crepes have become my dessert after a heavy entrée

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By Norm Harding, Reporter

For more than a decade, I’ve been making great dessert crepes stuffed with lemon soufflé and other types of fruit fillings and dusted with powered sugar. I’ve also had good success with the classic crepe suzette, which is nothing more than dessert crepes bathed in an orange-flavored sauce and then, for dramatic flare, flamed with a little Grand Marnier or Cointreau.
The soufflé crepes are folded into triangles and stuffed with a pale yellow soufflé that puffs dramatically in the oven. Eating one is like biting into a cloud. Because it’s so light and citrusy, it has become my dessert of choice after a heavy entrée of casserole or T-bone steak.
The crepes themselves can be made a day in advance, and the soufflé base can be made several hours ahead. Just before serving, beat the eggs whites, fold them into the soufflé base and stuff the crepes. The dessert takes just 10 minutes to bake.
The soufflé inside the crepes deflates quickly, so serve them at once. The memory, though, will linger on.

Dessert Crepes
Do not despair if your first crepe is not to your liking. Even the best of chefs routinely take a mulligan on the first one!
1/2 cup flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp. vanilla
Stir together flour, sugar and eggs. Add milk and vanilla, whisking until smooth. Cover and let rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.
Warm a crepe pan (or an 8- to 10-inch diameter skillet with sloping sides) over medium-high heat. Film the bottom of the pan with butter.
Pour about 1/4 cup of the crepe batter into the pan and immediately tilt the pan to spread the batter into a very thin, 8-inch circle, pouring any excess batter back into the bowl. Cook about 15-20 seconds, until the bottom is light brown. Flip the crepe over using a spatula and cook 15-20 seconds longer.
Repeat with remaining batter, making sure to film the bottom of the pan with butter before making each crepe. Stack the crepes between pieces of waxed paper or foil. Store at room temperature, wrapped with plastic wrap. Makes 8 crepes.

Lemon Soufflé Crepes
These are my favorites, and are really easy to make.
3 Tbsps. butter
5 Tbsps. flour
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs, separated
1/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsps. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. grated lemon peel
8 dessert crepes, about 8 inches in diameter (see recipe)
Powdered sugar
Melt butter over low heat in a heavy, one-quart saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring for one minute. Remove from heat and let cool. Beat in milk vigorously to blend. Return to heat, cook and stir briefly, until the mixture boils and thickens. Pour into a large bowl.
Beat in egg yolks one at a time. Add 3 tablespoons of the sugar, lemon juice and grated lemon peel; stir well.
In another bowl, beat egg whites with an electric beater until soft peaks form. Add remaining tablespoon of sugar and beat until whites are stiff peaks. Stir a heaping tablespoon into the soufflé base to lighten the mixture, and then fold in the remaining egg whites.
Place crepes, speckled side up, on a work surface. Place about 2 tablespoons of the soufflé mixture on the top half of each crepe and gently fold the lower half over it. Then lightly fold the crepes into quarters to make small triangles.
Place the crepes on a buttered cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. With a spatula, gently place two crepes on each dessert plate. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

Fruit-Filled Crepes
1 can (21 oz.) fruit pie filling (apple, peach, etc.)
4-6 dessert crepes, about 8 inches in diameter (see recipe)
Powered sugar
Heat the pie filling in a saucepan, but do not boil. Place crepes, speckled side up, on a work surface. Place about 2 tablespoons of the pie filling along the center of each crepe. Gently fold the two sides over the filling, one at a time, sort of like a burrito.
With a spatula, gently place the crepes on each dessert plate, folded side down. Spoon some of the filling on top of each crepe. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Makes 4-6 servings.

Crêpes Suzette
5 fl. oz. orange juice (or juice from 3-4 medium oranges)
1 medium orange, grated zest only
1 small lemon, grated rind and juice
1 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsps. Grand Marnier, Cointreau or brandy
2 oz. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
8 dessert crepes, about 8 inches in diameter (see recipe)
A little extra Grand Marnier, for flaming
For the sauce, mix all the ingredients, except the butter, in a bowl. Using a 10-inch saucepan, melt the butter, pour in the sauce and allow it to heat very gently. Then place the first crêpes in the pan and give it time to warm through before folding it in half and then in half again to make a triangular shape. Slide this onto the very edge of the pan, tilt the pan slightly so the sauce runs back into the center, and then add the next crêpe. Continue like this until they’re all reheated, folded and well soaked with the sauce.
You can flame them at this point if you like. Pour a little liqueur or brandy over the crepes and carefully ignite with a long kitchen match. This can be done at the table for a more dramatic effect. To serve, place two crepes on each serving dish and spoon the sauce over the crepes. Makes 4 servings.

Norm Harding is a cooking columnist for the Beacon. To send him recipes, email him at nharding@brunswickbeacon.com.