As a kid, one of my favorite treats was this lacy rice crepe that my mom would make occasionally, a thin batter of rice, ground smooth. It was referred to as 'verrum arisi dosai ('just rice dosai', if you care for a literal translation), a rather temperamental dish, which is probably why it wasn't made that often. Or more likely, It disappeared faster than the time it took to make them. The dish was invariably served up with a spicy, tart smoked eggplant dip (gothsu) and my mom would say that it was served that way to make up for the bland mild flavor of the crepes. Although I never voiced it aloud, I always wondered why it was never served in a sweet version.
Fast forward *** number of years, and the crepes still remain a firm favorite that I gobble down alternately as a sweet and savory version with myriad varieties of fillings, Mushrooms, squash, pears, peaches..the list goes on!
I must admit, I've neither tried many recipes with plums, or ever even thought about pairing the crepes with them, but a sweet/salty appetizer sounded intriguing. The crepe's are barely sweet despite the presence of honey and the salted caramel aspect of the plum filling makes this dish worthy of a delicious appetizer as much as a dessert.
I decided to make a couple of dishes, simply because working on just one of the ideas that come to mind is seriously shortchanging myself. I wanted to post the dishes together as a hot & cold pair of appetizer & dessert, but changed my mind. I will post the other dish on my other blog 'A dish a day', but here's a sneak peek of the plum sorbet dessert.
My local farm had just started selling these absolutely divine sugar plums and the grocery store was stocked up on the larger variety. Of course, I never need any excuse to go produce shopping, so picked up large and the sugar plums of both colors. And then during the process of sampling them, promptly proceeded to snack on most of it. I was looking for the red fleshed fruits, but it turns out that the black skinned fruits could be either yellow or red colored inside.While there is no difference in taste, I preferred the darker fleshed fruit for making the filling. The filling is flavored with a single spice note, viz cloves.
Rice Crepes with a Plum and Salted Caramel filling
You need (For the Plum filling):
5 ripe plums peeled and quartered
1/3 cups sugar
2 tablespoons salted butter
2 teaspoons orange zest
5-6 cloves lightly crushed
Heat the sugar in a skillet until the crystals melt and turn a golden color, carefully drop the butter into the sugar and stir rapidly to create a caramel sauce. Add in the cloves, orange zest and the plums, stir to coat the fruit, lower the heat and simmer till the fruit softens. Set aside. The filling can be prepared in advance by about a day and chilled in the refrigerator until needed.
1 cup Basmati rice, rinsed and soaked overnight
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons honey
Plain Seltzer or club soda as needed
a stick of cold butter for greasing the pan
Icing sugar for dusting & mint leaf chiffonade for garnishing
Add the rice and one cup of water into the blender. Blend down into a thick paste (not completely smooth, but with a very fine gritty texture). Transfer the batter into a container. Now, add the second cup of water, rinse out the blender jar and rinse out the container as thoroughly as possible. Pour out this starchy water into a saucepan and bring it to a gentle simmer. When the water appears 'syrupy' and thick, pour it out slowly into the rice batter mixing it simultaneously to ensure that there are no lumps floating around. Season with salt and the honey. When you're ready to make the crepes, pour out some of the batter into another container and dilute with an equal amount of club soda. You don't want to dilute all the batter at once and lose the fizz from the soda.
Heat a non stick skillet (Yep, this is one of those occasions that call for the good quality non sticks I've stashed away) and brush it with the cold butter. Once the butter begins to turn golden in color, pour out 2 ounces of the batter into the skillet and swirl the pan around to evenly coat the surface.
Cover the skillet allow the batter to firm up on a medium high heat until the edges begin turning brown and start leaving the sides of the pan. Gently, VERY gently, release the edge of the crepe (I find that a flexible silicone spatula works best) and transfer it to a serving plate. Repeat with the remaining batter.
Spoon out the chilled plum filling in the center of the crepe, fold over twice as in the photograph, dust with the icing sugar and garnish with the mint leaves. Serve warm. (the crepes tend to dry out when they cool down)