Tuesday, January 6, 2009

July in January.....or, Dessert on the Cheap!

Lawd have mercy, I wish I had the occasion to serve these to company tonight. It would go down in history as by far the least expensive dessert I would have ever served to anyone!

This week strawberries (yes, strawberries) are on special at 2 quarts for $5.00. Unbelieveable, especially since we're smack in the middle of the winter doldrums in Wisconsin. But, because I don't like to argue or quibble, I snapped up 2 quarts and brought them home, where I challenged myself to come up with a dessert using the super cheap strawberries and ingredients from the pantry only. Well, the fridge too.

Here's what I ended up with:
Crepes with Strawberry Sauce
Crepes Recipe Source: The Joy of Cooking
Strawberry Sauce Source: I have no earthly idea; I've been making it for years!
Serves: 6

1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. lukewarm water
2 large eggs
2 T. butter, melted
1 1/2 T. sugar
pinch salt

Combine the ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour the batter in to a Pyrex container (or some other container with an easy-to-pour lip). Cover and let stand for 30 minutes or refrigerate up to 2 days.

Place a nonstick pan over medium heat. Coat the pan with a little bit of butter. Stir the batter and pour about 2 tablespoons into the pan, lifting and tilting the pan so that the batter is evenly distributed, forming a nice, thin layer. Cook until the top is set and the underside is golden. Turn the crepe over (trust me, your fingers will work better than any fancy gadget here) and cook until the second side is browned. Remove the crepe to a piece of wax paper. Continue to cook the rest of the crepes in the same manner, buttering the pan before each new crepe. Stack the finished crepes between sheets of wax paper. Use immediately or let cool. Wrap airtight, and freeze up to one month.

3 c. strawberries (I used one whole pint)
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. water
1 T. cornstarch
dash salt
1 t. butter

Clean and stem all of your strawberries. Remove one cup of berries and slice them evenly. Set aside. Place the remaining berries in a smallish saucepan and crush them -- I use my pastry blender here with a pretty good result. Add the sugar to the berries. Dissolve the cornstarch and salt with the water in a small bowl, add to the berries in the saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. When mixture comes to a boil, continue to boil and stir for a full minute. Remove from heat. Stir in the butter and the sliced berries. Serve with the crepes or on top of ice cream sundaes.

I think the approximate cost of this dessert is around .50 per person -- I added an additional .10 per person for the pantry ingredients I had to use. Now, if you choose to purchase whipped cream, that 's a horse of a different color. You'll have to adjust accordingly for whipping cream!

Because I'm nice, I'm not going to eat all of these myself; instead, I'll serve them to my kiddos tomorrow morning. I plan on filling them (the crepes, not my kids) with a little bit of vanilla yogurt, top them with the strawberry sauce, and change my name to International House of Overachieving Moms. Ha!

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