Beggar’s Purses: Caviar For New Years

Caviar has always been synonymous with elegance and celebration. There was a time when caviar was fairly reasonable to purchase and would make appearances at my special occasions with frequency. But in the last few years, along with so many hardships, the price of caviar has gone haywire.
I still love caviar, but rarely do I present beluga anymore. I am forced to fall back on it’s distant cousin, Salmon Roe. A bit fishier than sturgeon caviar, but still a delight. Salmon roe is certainly within the price range, my small jar cost me $15. To elevate it to elegance I served it up as Beggar’s Purses. Small pouches made of dill crepes are filled with creme fraiche and caviar all tied up with a scallion tie.
Served up perched on thin slices of lemon makes a dramatic presentation and a swank bit to accompany the sparkling.
The crepes can be made a day in advance but no further. It’s imperative that they be made as thin as humanly possible. The pouch should be delicate and refined- too thick and it feels too bready and clunky. Don’t be afraid to thin the batter down to a heavy cream consistency.
Beggar’s Purses
24 6″ Dill Crepes
4 oz Salmon Roe
8 oz creme fraiche
bunch of long stemmed scallion or bunch of chives
Lemons sliced paper thin
Dill Crepes
2c AP flour
3 large eggs
1c milk
.25t salt
4T chopped fresh dill
water to thin
*use a 6″ nonstick frying pan to make crepes*
In large bowl combine all the ingredients except the water. Stir smooth.
Add water in stages to create a thin, heavy cream consistency. The batter should then rest a half hour or so- the batter can also be made the night before and kept in the fridge overnight.
Warm a 6″ non stick frying pan over medium high heat.
I use cooking spray to grease the pan.
Place ~3T of batter into the pan and swirl to even out the batter.
When edges start to pull away and the crepe looks cooked in the middle, give the crepe a quick flip and cook for just 10-20 seconds on the other side.
Allow crepes to cool before filling.
Building Beggar’s Purses
First blanch the scallions or chives. In a pot of boiling water submerge the greens for 30 seconds, then remove them and plunge into cold water.
If using scallions make thin ribbons by slicing long strips down the length of the scallion.
Lay out a few crepes on a work board. Place a T of creme fraiche in the middle of each.
Using a separate small spoon put about a teaspoon of caviar on top.
Gather up the sides of the crepe pinching together to make a pretty bundle.
Using the scallion or chive to tie the bundle closed.

Luscious Ricotta Crepes with Amaretto Apricot Cherry Sauce

Crepes are typically thought of as a special occasion treat- and why shouldn’t they? So delicate and gorgeous and so full of potential. Not the puffed up all-American pancake, but the slim, fine featured European cousin. A pancake gets syrup, crepes get sauced. Pancakes are eaten with elbows on the table, crepes with your unused hand in your lap.
I can get into making crepes. There is a zen quality to making them when the pan is just the right temperature, the sound of the sizzle of the batter as it’s swirled around the pan, and the easy flip, all become rhythm- and bit by bit they pile up in a tidy stack.

For Christmas and Easter breakfasts I traditionally make blintzes- which are similar to these, but also not even close.

I filled these crepes with a sweetened fresh ricotta and orange zest. The sauce- well the sauce is worth writing home about. Dried cherries are plumped in Amaretto and fleshed out with apricot jam. The result is a boozy, sweet, almondy apricoty deliciousness that has a bottom note of the cherries and the texture to boot.

Please add this to your holiday morning breakfast roster- or even better any ol’ lazy morning that you feel like indulging and kicking back. Crepe batter is better when prepared the night before and allowed to sit in the fridge til morning. Think how easily you could be a hero at the start of the day. These are perfect for a snowy Sunday or just a cold dreary weekend of any kind. Invite people over, let them admire your European flair- and let them keep their elbows on the table if they insist.
Crepes with Orange Ricotta Filling
 
serves 6
 
1.5c AP flour
2 eggs
1c milk
2T sugar
1t vanilla
dash of salt
*
2c fresh ricotta
4T superfine sugar, or powdered sugar to taste
grated zest from one beautiful orange
 
Combine the crepe ingredients into a bowl and whisk smooth. If a little thick add some water. I almost always do that. The batter should be thicker than heavy cream, more like a custard sauce consistency. 
 
I use a non stick 8″ fry pan. When I have to make crepes for a crowd I get two going. It’s awesome. 
 
Heat the pan on medium to slightly high heat. Lightly grease the pan with melted butter brushed on or cooking spray.
 
Using a large spoon or small ladle, pour in about 4T of batter into the center of the pan and then tilt and twist to get the batter swirled around the edges and somewhat evenly.
 
As the batter cooks the edges will begin to brown. I use a toothpick to loosen the edge off the pan and then with my fingers I flip the crepe. OK, you’re going to think that crazy and a bit dangerous, but it’s really not and it results in less fuss and less ripped crepes. Give that flipped side just about 20 seconds. That’s all it needs.
 
The first crepe NEVER turns out well. I consider it the Angel’s Share of the batch and promise you won’t don’t fuss about it. The best way to handle this is to eat it. Standing up. Over the next crepe- that is doing it’s thing in the pan.
 
I used to stack my crepes between paper towels but I stopped doing that long ago. It’s just not necessary. No need to waste paper.
 
The crepes may also be made in advance the day before, covered and put in the fridge. Just warm them a bit before you serve them. Covered with foil in a warm oven will do it.
 
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For the filling simply combine the ingredients into a bowl and stir. 
 
Let the filling sit for a few minutes for the sugar to melt in.
 
That’s it. Nice right?
 
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Use about 2T of filling per crepe. Feel free to improvise.
 
Amaretto Apricot Dried Cherry Sauce
 
makes 1.5 cup
 
.5c Amaretto
.5c water
.5 c dried cherries
.5 c good quality apricot jam
 
Combine Amaretto, water and dried cherries in a small sauce pan. Bring to a gentle boil and turn off heat. Allow the cherries to plump for a few minutes.
 
Stir in the apricot jam and cook on medium low for a few minutes to melt down the jam and thicken up the sauce.
 
This also can be made in advance and rewarmed before use. It’s so good. You’ll love it.