Vegan Crêpes, and the Ideal Filling for Them

This recipe actually works. Something persuaded me to try it over the other recipes for vegan crêpes that I found, despite it having no egg substitute whatsoever in it. The one thing to beware of is not to flip them too early; heed the comments about waiting until they are mostly dry and just starting to brown at the edges before flipping.

As for the chocolate suggestion: close, but no cigar. Right family and right latitudinal range, but wrong hemisphere and of course wrong genus and species. The perfect crêpe filling is from genus Durio, not genus Theobroma.

A big plus is that, unlike chocolate, durian is delicious just as it is: luscious, sweet, creamy, and intensely flavorful. No need to dump lots of refined sugar and vanilla into it in an attempt (never completely successful) to cover up intense bitterness. Another plus, if like me you’re a White guy in his fifties, is blowing people’s minds. You get some pretty good doses of incredulity when purchasing the requisite ingredient at an Asian market, typically an astonished “You like that?” from the clerk.

I think I’ve figured out some of the magic of durian. It’s the combination of intense flavor and intense sweetness. I have a sweet tooth, like all primates. It’s something that’s evolved to make us crave fruits, which have necessary vitamins.

Furthermore, I have personally always loved intense flavors. Candied ginger has always been one of my favorite candies ever since a little tot, when a great-grandmother gave me some in response to my pleading after my grandmother advised: “Just give him a little piece, Nana. He’ll try it, he’ll cry, and then he’ll not pester us again for it.” No such luck. I devoured it and said “More!” From then on, whenever they had tea when I was visiting, they had to share a piece of candied ginger with me. When I got a little older, I would also raid the spices and extracts cabinet and sample said goods directly because I loved how intense the flavors were.

One of my fonder elementary-school memories was when a schoolmate was attempting to play practical jokes at recess by getting his classmates to try eating whole cloves. He made the mistake of picking me as his first mark, and one of my best friends (Indonesian, and thus used to spicy cooking at home) as his second. We both knew what cloves were because we would both occasionally eat them as-is for the flavor, so we both accepted the prankster’s gifts, ate them with appreciation, and asked for seconds. This of course got the jokester thinking that maybe cloves weren’t so strong-flavored after all and maybe someone had played a joke on him by saying they were. We saw him sneak off and pop one into his mouth, followed by immediate signs of distress and pleading with a teacher to be let in early because he was “very thirsty.”

But I digress. I love both sweetness and intense flavors. I don’t know the exact mechanism by which it happens, but durian is both intensely sweet and intensely flavorful, simultaneously. That’s something that’s normally not possible (in most desserts the sweetness wins to the detriment of the flavor). It’s probably related to how durian can, unlike pretty much any other food, taste so different from how it smells (surprisingly delicate given how intensely pungent it can be). However it is accomplished, it is for me a magical combination.

Moreover, most things as sweet as durian come with a evil, nasty refined-sugar buzz as a side-effect. But durian is a natural fruit; there is no refined sugar, so there is no nasty sugar buzz. Quite the contrary: it’s high in tryptophan, so instead of a sugar buzz there’s this nice, relaxed, gentle, blissed-out feeling that lingers. And being a natural fruit it’s actually nutritious and good for you, instead of being simply empty calories.

On top of the those aspects, the consistency is right, too. Unusual for a fruit, durian is high in fat. Plus in the USA it will (alas) always be frozen and never fresh wherever you find it, so it will be very soft and mushy when thawed. So it’s naturally the consistency of custard or Boston creme filling anyhow. Perfect for using as a filling for something.

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