These crepes dentelles with sautéed apples and caramel sauce are an elegant and enticing combination of sweet crepes topped with apples cooked in butter and sugar and drizzled with creamy caramel.
Crepes Dentelles are the thin, delicate, curiously satisfying crepes you already know and adore. Except they’re even more lacy and delicate than usual with an almost custardy texture in the middle. As someone we know described them, “Really beautiful delicate things.” And then they’ve embellished with buttery caramelized apples and a rich caramel sauce. Elegant and extravagant whether for brunch, dessert, dinner, foursies, whenever the craving strikes.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Crepes Dentelles with Sautéed Apples and Caramel Sauce
For the crepes
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 tablespoons superfine sugar
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1 1/4 cups whole milk
- 1 medium egg plus 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled, plus more for the skillet
- Crème fraîche to serve
For the caramel
- 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup soft light brown sugar packed
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the apples
- 2 large tart apples peeled, halved, and cored
- 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 1/2 tablespoons superfine sugar
Make the crepes
- In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, and salt and make a well in the center. In a separate medium bowl, beat the milk, egg, and egg yolk with the water and gradually whisk this into the well, until smooth, about 2 minutes. Stir in the melted butter, cover, and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour. The batter will be quite thin. (Alternately, you can simply mix all the ingredients in a blender for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and then blend again until smooth, about 5 seconds more.)
Make the caramel
- Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the cream, sugar, and salt and bring to a gentle boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to low and gently simmer, whisking from time to time, until the caramel mixture thickens slightly and is the desired consistency, 8 to 10 minutes. Keep in mind the caramel will continue to cook even after you remove it from the heat due to the residual heat of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
Prepare the apples
- Slice the apples into thin wedges about 1/4 inch (6 mm) at the thickest part. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Working in batches if necessary, arrange the apples in a single layer, without crowding them, and cook, trying to stir just once, until golden, 3 to 5 minutes per side. It’s okay if they’re not yet fully tender.
- Return all the apples to the skillet over medium heat, sprinkle with the sugar, and cook until lightly caramelized, about 3 minutes. Place the apples on a baking sheet in a single layer. (This is important. If the apples are on top of one other they’ll continue to cook and lose their nice caramelized edges and turn soggy.)
Make and assemble the crepes
- Preheat the oven to 200°F (95°C).
- In a medium well-seasoned cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat, melt a smidgen of butter and tilt the pan to swirl so the butter just coats the surface of the skillet. Ladle in a small scoop of batter, being careful to use just enough to thinly coat the surface of the skillet or actually you may want to use slightly less to make the crepe smaller than your skillet and therefore easier to flip. Quickly tilt the skillet to swirl the batter and pour off any excess. You want these crepes to be exceptionally thin. Cook over medium heat until golden underneath, about 1 minute, and then use a thin, preferably flexible, metal spatula to flip and cook the other side. (These crepes are delicate and tear quite easily. Don’t worry if they do. They’ll taste the same.)
- Slide onto a baking sheet and slip it in the oven. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding a smidgen more butter in small increments as needed. If the skillet gets a touch too hot and the butter browns when you add it, wipe it out and start again. As you finish cooking the crepes, pile them on a baking sheet and keep them in the oven.
- Serve the crepes, either assembled by spooning some apples along the center of each crepe and then folding over the sides, or simply by placing out a stack of crepes alongside the apples along with warm caramel and crème fraîche.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
We enjoyed these crepes dentelles for a weekend dessert. This would be a bit complicated for a breakfast but would work for a brunch later in the morning. The crepes were tender and buttery. The apples were soft, sweet, and had crunchy caramelized bits here and there. The caramel sauce was sweet and rich.
Don’t skip the crème fraiche. It adds those final dimensions that makes the dish—extra richness (and who can turn down a little extra), a little tartness to offset all the sugar, and a visual punch of white on a plate of beige, brown, and tan. We wanted more apples with each serving—I would double the apple portion next time.
We ate 2 crepes each at our dessert bacchanalia and divided the apples evenly among the 3 of us. We ended up with some crepes as well as a lot of the caramel sauce leftover. My son enjoyed the leftover crepes with berries and crème fraiche for breakfast on Monday and I spent the week eating the leftover caramel sauce, one spoonful at a time, from the fridge.
I used one Granny Smith apple and one Pink Lady. The caramel sauce came together quickly and easily. Everything was very tasty, but there weren’t enough apples. Three of us ate all the apples in one sitting. We started with one crepe each and all went back for seconds. We would have enjoyed more apples and would have needed even more to eat all the crepes. As written, the recipe only provides a few slices of apple per crepe.
I used Bramley apples, which weighed 260g when cored and peeled. I got a fairly smooth pancake batter after 2 minutes of mixing, but then rested the batter for 1 hour. My preference would be to either use a blender to remove all lumps or to leave the batter overnight, which usually gets rid of all lumps.
I found that my caramel had separated after 10 minutes of cooking and the toffee part had gone quite dark and hard. I managed to rescue the caramel by adding more double cream and heating the mix up again gently.
Overall I found the batter to be very thin and it was therefore very easy to spread out around the skillet, but the pancakes were so thin I found them very hard to turn. I would therefore use a less runny mixture next time. I got 10 pancakes—2 large ones the full size of the pan and 8 smaller ones as I reduced the size to enable me to turn the pancakes more easily. However the overall recipe was lovely and I think the mixture of warm pancakes, warm apples, melting caramel, and cold crème fraiche was delicious.
Originally published February 11, 2019