Brown Betty Beggar’s Purses

Because of apple picking, I had a plethora of apples that I needed to get rid of. I had to think of creative ways to use them, beyond just making a cake, or cookies, or pie, and that was when I thought about crepes. I remember the first time making a crepe, and how therapeutic it was to slowly rotate the batter and spread it in a super thin layer on the pan. They were feather-light, with a slightly crisped texture at the edges, and had a pleasant buttery, egginess to them that was almost custard-like in flavor! I have made sweet and savory crepes before, and in several different shapes, forms, and sizes. However, I surprisingly never bothered to post a recipe for a Beggar’s Purse. Beggar’s Purses are desserts that are made with a dough or wrapper that is, well, wrapped around a filling, making them resemble a pouch or bag. They were super popular in the 80’s, kind of outdated in that sense, but I figured, why not bring them back as a way to use up my apples in a different and creative way? Typically phyllo dough is used for these, and savory Beggar’s Purses are done so that a green onion could be used to tie the edges of the crepe together to form a bag shape, but I was pretty insistent on making a dessert one using these apples work out.

When conceptualizing this dessert, I also remembered a dessert called Brown Betty, which is an old school apple dessert that is baked with bread crumbs to be this sort of roasted apple casserole situation. It just made sense to combine two super old school desserts to make something completely original! I wanted to pay homage to Brown Betties in this recipe, by using panko bread crumbs, and using those as a textural garnish to add some crunch. I have done panko streusels and crumbles before, and I just love the crunch of that, since it would be a fun contrast to the otherwise soft textures I am featuring in this recipe. With the apples, I am sautéing them off in butter, cinnamon, brown sugar, then optionally for you reading this, I flambeed them with apple brandy to really impart in an intense apple flavor. I am also making a miso-brandy caramel sauce to not only glue the crepes together, and to act as a sauce as well. To lighten up the dessert, I have a hojicha(toasted green tea)-miso whipped cream, which adds toasty notes to echo the brown butter and panko, but also a much needed creamy texture to round out the flavors in the dish. These crepes were a pretty straightforward recipe to execute, and a great way to use up my apples!

Makes 4 purses:
For the crepes:
1 egg
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
1/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

In a bowl, whisk together everything but the flour first. Sift the flour in, then whisk to combine. Allow your batter to sit for an hour, just so it will be nice and loose. While the batter is resting, I recommend making your other components in the mean time!

After the batter has rested, line a nonstick pan with a thin layer of oil or melted butter and place on medium heat. Pour in the batter in a thin layer, just enough to coat the bottom of the pan, rotating the pan just to let the batter spread evenly. Cook the batter on medium heat for 1-2 minutes, then flip the crepes, searing them for another 30 seconds on the other side.

For the filling:
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 green apples, peeled and sliced
a pinch of cinnamon
3 tbsp dark brown sugar
a pinch of salt
1 tbsp apple brandy or bourbon*

In a pan, brown your butter first. Then add in the apples, cinnamon, sugar, and salt. Cook everything down together until the apples are just soft, then add in the alcohol. Flambe, carefully tilting the pan away from you, and allow the alcohol to fully cook off. Allow your filling to cool down before using in assembly.

For the brown sugar panko:
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
a pinch of salt
1 tbsp melted butter

Toss everything together and bake at 350 degrees F for 5 minutes. Allow the panko to fully cool down before transferring to an airtight container.

For the miso caramel sauce:
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tbsp heavy cream
1/4 cup milk
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp white miso paste
1 tbsp apple brandy or bourbon*
a pinch of cinnamon

In a pot, melt down the dark brown sugar first. Once the sugar begins to boil, add in the cream, milk, butter, salt, and alcohol first, cooking everything together until they form a sauce. Add in the cinnamon to finish.

For the hojicha-miso whipped cream:
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp white miso paste
1 tsp hojicha powder
1 tsp confectioner’s sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Whip everything together to stiff peaks. Keep refrigerated until time to assemble.

To assemble:
Place down 1/4 of the apple filling onto a crepe. Drizzle a little bit of the caramel onto the edges of the crepe to act like glue. Fold the crepes in half first, pressing the edges together to seal them with the caramel. Brush more caramel on the edges and then roll up the crepes into little purses.

To plate, start with a small pool of the caramel sauce. Make a small mound with the panko and rocher on the cream onto that using a spoon(you can use two spoons to quenelle too if that is more comfortable) that was placed in warm water. Place on the crepe to finish.

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