These salted banana coconut crepes are inspired by a recent dash to Thailand for the holidays. What started as a little street food exploration quickly turned into a full-blown obsession. An obsession shared by everyone I met on this trip.
My first Thai pancake was on the island of Koh Lanta, a sleepy, gorgeous patch of paradise with reggae bars scattered along the shores and a friendly population of Thai Muslims eager to share their delicious treats.
On the way to the ferry, a few of us went lunch hunting along the stalls lining the street, and I netted out with the most delicious banana coconut crepe in the universe. (If you want to challenge me on this claim, I totally understand.) The main thing that I remember was the overt presence of salt. Each bite had a distinctly salty note that set off the banana and coconut in a totally new way.
A true Thai pancake actually resembles an Indian roti, rather than a pancake or crepe, with balls of elastic dough rolled, stretched and flatted into discs, then fried quickly with ghee (clarified butter). For the sake of simplicity, I use the classic French crepe method, saving you hours of resting time and the agony of trying to wrangle paper-thin rounds of dough.
I also replaced the classic sweetened condensed milk topping with salted caramel. Because caramel. Yeah.
These would make an amazing decadent brunch, or a perfect dessert after a Thai feast.
Salted Banana Coconut Crepes
Prep Time: 20 minutes plus 30 minute rest Cook Time: 5 minutes per crepe Total Time: 1 1/2 hours
1/2 cup / 64 g all purpose flour
large pinch of salt
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 cup / 235 mL plus 1 Tbs milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 Tbs salted butter, divided
2 bananas, sliced into 1/4" rounds
1 cup coconut flakes or fresh shredded coconut
Salted Caramel Sauce
1 cup / 200g sugar
6 Tbs butter, cut into chunks
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp salt
Sift together flour and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in eggs, egg yolk, and 1 Tbs milk. The mixture will have a paste-like consistency. Add remaining milk and vanilla extract, then whisk vigorously until the mixture is absolutely smooth, the consistency of heavy cream.
Melt 4 Tbs butter in a 10" non-stick skillet, and stir thoroughly into the batter. Reserve the buttered skillet for use later. Let the batter rest for at least 30 minutes.
Heat the skillet over medium heat. Add an extra dash of butter. Stir the batter, then slowly ladle in about 1/4 cup. Rotate the skillet so the batter spreads evenly in a thin layer, and add a tiny pinch of salt. Cook until the edges are browned and lacy, pulling away from the edges of the skillet, about 3 minutes.
Very carefully, flip the crepe, and quickly layer in 1/6 of the banana and coconut. Fold over the edges into a square packet, almost like a flattened burrito. Press into the skillet to flatten and brown. This should take about 1 minute. Flip and press down again for about 30 seconds. Remove from skillet and place on a plate in warmed oven.
Repeat with remaining 5 crepes.
To serve, drizzle with caramel sauce. For true Thai style, slice each crepe into 1" squares and serve on a paper plate with toothpicks.
Heat sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a high heat resistant spatula or wooden spoon. The sugar will eventually melt into an amber-colored liquid as you stir. Let the sugar continue to darken until it resembles the color of whiskey. Be careful not to burn.
Once you've achieved that nice rich brown color, stir in the butter until melted, about 2 minutes. Be careful because the caramel will bubble and splatter a bit.
Very slowly, whisk in the heavy cream. Again, be careful! The cold cream will cause the caramel to react violently. Let it boil rapidly for a minute, then remove from the heat. Stir in the salt, and allow to cool.
Store in covered glass jar up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Warm the caramel up for a few seconds before using in a recipe.