This month’s Recipe Redux is a food memory for which you are thankful: In the U.S., November marks the Thanksgiving holiday. But many of us are especially thankful for food memories we have shared with friends or relatives throughout our lives. Was it a special meal you ate as a child? Or, maybe it was a food you grew and harvested with your children. Please share one of your favourite food memories and a healthier “redo” of the recipe.
We met in an evening language class- Spanish, to be precise- in the second semester of my first year of university. I was seeing someone else at the time, and didn’t think much of making his acquaintance. I remember his red hair, his almost there ‘fro. It wasn’t until my second year that he charmed me over a cup of tea, and we started spending lots of time together in the library… studying, of course. We watched a lot of movies. He carried out a Star Wars experiment on me, where we watched the movies in the order of of 1-2-3-4-5-6 instead of 4-5-6-1-2-3. We went for drinks. We went for mediocre bagels. We baked cupcakes. He made me French toast. We skipped all the way down my street in our Halloween costumes. I was single and loving it, but I doubt anything could have stopped me from developing fuzzy feelings for this smart, funny, and (at the time) mysterious redhead who swept me off my feet. You’ve probably read about him here and here. This week, we celebrated our third anniversary together.
I’m so very lucky to have found someone with infinite love, kindness, and patience. I’m grateful to have someone remind me of the certain things when I can’t seem to remember them myself: that I’m beautiful, smart, and capable. I’m even luckier to have found someone who values these traits, who is a proud feminist and supporter of gender equality. He believes that I can do everything he does just as well, if not better. I’m grateful for his endless support. Whether it’s my ridiculous dreams for dinner or something more serious like my career, I know he’s got my back. I love that he is okay with, and even admires, my devotion to eating as ethically as possible. I’m grateful to have someone who loves good bookshops just as much as I do, isn’t afraid to search high and low for the best eats wherever we are, and loves to travel as much as I do. I love how goofy we are together when we are jamming to Majic 100.3 in the car, or dancing to Blank Space by Taylor Swift.
Although we have many special food memories together, I decided to come up with a recipe inspired by our first trip together. We went to Paris for my birthday, and spent the week visiting art museums, eating pastries, and devouring crêpes. The first crêpe place we ate at was Breizh Café, where I had a glorious fig crêpe for dessert. In memory of the wonderful week we had in Paris, I am sharing a recipe for a spiced caramel apple and pear crêpe cake.
The caramel filling is raw vegan, and I baked the apples with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and coconut sugar to enhance the natural flavour of the apples. This cake is made with buckwheat and coconut flour, and is gluten-free. The crêpes can be made vegan with flax eggs, however, I found that the batter produces much better crêpes with real eggs. It’s entirely up to you- I used two eggs and one flax egg and my crêpes turned out fine. As you can see, the cake is pink! I used the water from cooking my beets to naturally dye my crêpe batter. If you’d like a deeper colour, you could probably use beet juice instead of the beet’s cooking water. Since this is a pretty big post already, I’ll be posting about the health benefits of beets.
Spiced Caramel Apple Crêpe Cake
Yields 15-17 medium sized crêpes.
Step One: Caramel Sauce
This raw salted caramel apple dip recipe comes from My New Roots. Other great caramel recipes I’ve been meaning to try: the vegan caramel from Pastry Affair and the almond milk caramel sauce from Oh, Ladycakes.
- 2 cups pitted Medjool dates
- 1/4 cup unsalted almond butter
- 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 vanilla bean, scraped or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- water for soaking
- Soak the dates until they are soft. Although the original recipe on My New Roots recommends soaking them for four hours, my dates were soft and ready after two hours of soaking in hot water.
- Drain the dates. Save the water.
- In a food processor, blend the soaked dates with the almond butter, lemon juice, sea salt, and vanilla. If you’d like a thinner caramel, add the soaking water to the mixture one tablespoon at a time, until it reaches a thickness you like. Scrape the sides and blend again.
- Store in an airtight container and set aside until the crêpes are ready.
- Refrigerated, the dip will last a week.
Step Two: Spiced Apples + Pears
- 4 small apples
- 1 pear
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- Preheat the oven to 375ºC.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Slice the apples and pear. Toss in a bowl with the coconut oil, cinnamon, ground cloves, and nutmeg.
- Pour onto the baking tray and bake until tender and fragrant.
- While the fruit cooks, prepare the crepes.
Step Three: Crêpes
- 1 1/4 cup buckwheat flour
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 3 beets, peeled + 1 1/2 cups of the leftover water used to cook the beets OR 1 1/2 cups beet juice
- 3/4 cup almond milk
- 3 eggs or flax eggs
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- coconut oil, for cooking
- On medium high heat, cook the beets in a pot of water. Make sure you have at least 1 1/2 cups of water leftover for the crêpe batter.
- Once the beets are cooked and the water has turned purple, mix the almond milk, beet water, and eggs in a blender.
- Add the dry ingredients a few tablespoons at a time, and blend until well incorporated.
- If you don’t have a blender, mix the wet ingredients in a large bowl and slowly sift the dry ingredients in, mixing as you go.
- Melt the coconut oil in a pan (I used a cast iron skillet) over medium heat.
- Once the pan heats up, ladle the batter into the pan. Spread the batter into a thin, round crêpe with a spatula.
- Once air bubbles begin to form, flip the crêpe. Allow it to cook until both sides begin to brown.
- Line a plate with a paper towel. Stack the crêpes on a plate and cover with a paper towel while you cook the rest of them, or allow them to stay warm in the oven at 60ºC/140ºF.
- Repeat with the rest of the crêpes.
Step Four: Assembly
- Spread the caramel on a crêpe, and top with apples and pears. Top with another crêpe and repeat until you reach optimum cake height.
Enjoy : )
What’s a special food memory you have? What kind of toppings and fillings do you like with your crêpes? Let me know in the comments below!
Wishing you much love and happy kitchen adventures,