This special dessert is so good-and so much fun to prepare and serve-I hope you'll be persuaded to make and keep scrippelle (crêpes) on hand all the time, as they do in the kitchens of Abruzzo. Here, you slice the scrippelle into into strips (they look like fresh fettuccine!) and toss them in a hot caramel, apricot, and citrus sauce that you've got bubbling in a skillet. Serve the beautifully glazed ribbons still warm, with whipped cream melting on top. This recipe calls for a full batch of the thin pancakes (the same ones used for the savory Crespelle with Spinach, but it is easy to adjust the amounts to make a larger or smaller dessert. Even if you have only a couple of extra scrippelle in your freezer, you can still transform them, with this basic technique, into a treat for two. Let your creativity loose: Just like pasta, scrippelle ribbons can be dressed for dessert in countless ways. Add rum or liqueur to this caramel sauce, or vary it with other fruit preserves or juices. Shape the ribbons into a little nest for a scoop of ice cream. Or drizzle melted chocolate over the warm ribbons, sprinkle with chopped toasted hazelnuts, and top with a dollop of whipped cream.
1 batch of scrippelle , cooked and cooled (crespelle with spinach)
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoon soft butter
1 cup apricot preserves
Juice of 1 lemon, freshly squeezed (about 2 tablespoons)
juice of 1 orange, freshly squeezed (about 1/4 cup)
1 cup heavy cream, chilled, whipped to soft peaks, for garnish
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted, for garnish
You will need a heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet or sauté pan, 10-inch diameter or wider.
To make the ribbons: Stack three or four cooled scrippelle evenly, and roll them up into a cylinder, about the size of a cigar. With a sharp knife, slice the roll crosswise every 2/3 inch (for thin strips like tagliatelle) or every inch (for wider strips, like fettuccine). Separate and unfurl the cut pieces into ribbons. Continue to slice up all the scrippelle this way.
Put the sugar in the skillet, pour 1/3 cup water over it, and shake the pan a bit to spread out the moistened sugar. Set the skillet over medium-high heat, and, without stirring, let the sugar dissolve into a syrup and come to a boil. Don't stir or shake the pan as it bubbles away, evaporating all the water and nearing the temperature of caramelization-this can take 10 minutes or more. Have the remaining sauce ingredients (butter, apricot preserves, and citrus juices) near at hand, as well as a long wooden spoon for stirring, and thick kitchen towels for holding the pan.
When the syrup bubbles become noticeably thicker, watch closely for it to take on color, usually near the edge of the skillet. At the first signs of darkening, lower the heat and swirl the syrup, so it caramelizes evenly to a deep-golden color. Still over low heat, drop in the butter and the apricot preserves, and stir steadily as they melt into the caramel. Pour in the lemon and orange juices, stirring carefully, because the caramel will bubble and splatter.
Raise the heat, and bring the sauce back to a boil, stirring steadily. Adjust the heat to keep it at a simmer, and drop in the scrippelle ribbons. Toss and tumble the strips with tongs or long-handled utensils, for a minute or more, until they're heated through and glazed all over with the caramel sauce.
Turn off the heat, lift out one serving of ribbons, and drop it onto a dessert plate-giving the ribbons twist as you release them to make a pretty nestlike mound. Top each serving with a big spoonful of whipped cream and a scattering of pine nuts. Drizzle any sauce left in the skillet over and around the ribbons, and serve right away.