If you haven’t used your grill yet this Summer, chances are with Independence Day right around the corner you’ll be dusting it off for a backyard barbecue. Rather than spending time slaving away in the kitchen, backyard barbecues are about firing up the grill, enjoying some beverages and relaxing with friends and family. So when it comes time for dessert I want to serve something that can be made in advance and put together quickly. Pies, ice cream and brownies are all favorites, but why not serve crepes?
Crepes are a perfect Summer dessert because they are light and can be made in advance. In fact, make a whole bunch and freeze some for easy defrosting on the weekend for an impromptu brunch. While making crepes can seem intimidating, chances are if you can make a pancake, you can make a crepe.
If you’ve read the blog previously, you might have caught on to my love for Asian flavors. This Independence Day I wanted to make strawberry crepes with an Asian twist. I considered using five spice powder but instead decided on a few of it’s components: star anise, cinnamon and sichuan peppercorns. The combination of licoricey star anise, fragrant cinnamon and fruity balsamic vinegar works perfectly with strawberries. I dig the mouth-numbing effect of Sichuan peppercorns and loved the idea of this unexpected sensation from a dessert.
While I chose crepes for this dessert, the strawberries, whipped cream and balsamic reduction would also be great served over pound cake, biscuits or as an ice cream topper.
Don’t forget to try Instant Pot Christmas Pudding!
These Sichuan peppercorn strawberry crepes with star anise balsamic reduction are the perfect fruity, creamy, sweet and spiced dessert for your Independence Day party.
Sichuan Peppercorn Strawberry Crepes with Star Anise Balsamic Reduction
Yield: 8 crepes
The crepes, balsamic reduction and strawberries can be made the day ahead and refridgerated but whipped cream shouldn’t be made more than a few hours in advance. To simplify even further you can use prepared whipped cream.
Sichuan peppercorns are available in Asian groceries and specialty food stores like Central Market. If you can’t find them, simply omit from the recipe.
For the crepes:
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup flour
For the balsamic syrup
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 star anise pods
- 1 cinnamon stick
For the strawberries:
- 4 cups hulled and sliced strawberries
- 2 teaspoons ground sichuan peppercorns (optional)
For the whipped cream
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon powdered (confectioner’s) sugar + extra for dusting
Make the crepe batter:
- Add all of the ingredients except the flour to a blender and pulse until blended (or whisk in a large mixing bowl). Add the flour and pulse/whisk just until the batter is smooth. Place the batter in the refrigerator to rest for 30-60 minutes.
For the balsamic syrup
- Add the ingredients to a small sauce pan. Bring to a simmer over low heat and reduce for 10-15 minutes until thickened for a yield of 1/3 to 1/2 cup.
Mix the strawberries:
- Sprinkle the sichuan peppercorns over the strawberries and stir to combine.
Whip the cream:
- In a mixing bowl combine the cream and sugar and beat until soft peaks form.
Cook the crepes
- Heat a 10 inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Grease the pan with a dab of butter or oil. Working in batches, add 1/4 cup of batter to the pan. Working quickly, swirl the pan in circular motion to evenly distribute the batter. Cook until browned, about 30 seconds and turn over to cook for another 10-15 seconds. Transfer to a plate and repeat the process. Greasing the pan again is not necessary.
Assemble the crepes.
- Lay out a crepe on a plate. Top the crepe with a 1/4 cup of whipped cream and a 1/4 cup of strawberries. Roll up the crepe and drizzle on some of the balsamic reduction. Sprinkle on some powdered sugar.