Freshly made crèpes are filled with caviar and crème fraîche, then bunched
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup instant flour, such as Wondra
1 tablespoon butter, melted and warm
1/4 cup clarified butter, melted
12 fresh chives
1/4 cup crème fraîche
3/4 cup beluga, osetra, or sevruga caviar, chilled (about 7 ounces)
1. Combine the milk, eggs, flour, and a pinch of salt in a mixing bowl. Whisk until completely incorporated. Pour through a chinois into another bowl. Just before you cook the crèpes, add 1 tablespoon of warm melted butter.
2. Heat a nonstick, 5- to 6-inch crèpe pan (or round skillet) over moderately high heat, then brush with some of the clarified butter. Add a scant 1/4 cup of crèpe batter. Working very quickly, swirl the pan around to spread out the batter into a very thin crèpe. Cook until set, about 40 seconds. Turn the crèpe and cook for another 10 seconds or so. (Crèpes should be paper-thin and white; for beggar's purses, you should avoid the brown spots that are desirable in crèpes destined for other uses.) Place the crèpe on a plate and set aside. Brush the pan with some of the clarified butter again, and repeat the process until 12 crèpes are made. You may stack the crèpes directly on top of each other, but keep the pile covered with a cloth.
3. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and dip the chives in the water for 5 seconds. Place under cold water and reserve chives on paper towels.
4. Lay a few crèpes out and place 1 teaspoon crème fraîche and 1 tablespoon caviar in the center of each one. Pull the edges of the crèpe toward the center until they meet. Then, working with thumb and forefinger, create small pleats all around the top of the purse (where the crèpe edges meet). You'll have a ruffle at the top. Tie a reserved chive around the top and make sure the purse is tightly secured. (The beggar's purse should look like a small purse, or sack, with the chive functioning as the tie-string. This technique takes a little practice, so don't be frustrated with the first one.) Continue making beggar's purses in the same manner until 12 purses are made.
5. Brush the top of each purse with a little clarified butter, and serve immediately.
This opulent bite was made popular by Barry Wine at The Quilted Giraffe in New York City. Freshly made crèpes are filled with caviar and crème fraîche, then bunched to resemble the kind of purse that someone in Robin Hood's day might have been carrying through Sherwood Forest. They look just great when placed side by side on a silver platter, and passed as hors d'oeuvres at the start of an elegant dinner party. The amount of batter called for below is more than enough for 12 crèpes -- which gives you plenty of margin for crèpe making error. Makes 12 purses, or enough for 6 as an hors d'oeuvre