Here in South Bend, IN, it was a big deal when a very well known coffee chain (rhymes with "sucks") first rolled into town. The city rejoiced with jubilant glee when an equally well known doughnut chain showed up next. Basically, unless a popular chain feels it can make it in South Bend, we don't get it (South Bend -- also rhymes with "sucks"). This means we don't get some of the smaller chains, like Peet's Coffee. I've heard great things about them, but the only time I experienced their coffee for myself was at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. I dug it. So when Foodbuzz Tastemakers offered up some Peet's Coffee to review, my heart skipped.
Peet's has unveiled two new medium roast coffees. I typically go for a dark, deep roast, though because I pretty much can't tolerate coffee anymore, I figured a lighter roast would be easier for me to drink. And to actually finish a cup.
The two roasts are a Café Domingo, a blend of Central and South American coffees, described by Peet's as a medium roast cup with hints of toffee and clean crisp finish, and Café Solano, a blend of African, Indo-Pacific, and South American coffees that is lively and aromatic. Peet's experts describe it as a world blend with floral notes and a subtle fruit essence for a lively, yet rounded cup.
Peet's and Foodbuzz asked us to pair the coffee with a breakfast/brunch or dessert dish. What I came up with was a dark chocolate crepe with a caramelized banana sauce for a filling. Think of all the flavors going on here - the cocoa in the crepes, the caramelized blend of butter, brown sugar, and a splash of whole milk, then the tropical banana. I feel that both the coffees would be excellent when paired with this dish, though I chose to try it with the Café Domingo. I wanted a coffee that didn't have as many flavor undertones so it compliment the dish without competing with the flavors.
For a medium roast, I really enjoyed my cup of Peet's. It didn't have a watered down taste, but at the same time wasn't as strong as a dark roast. It was full of flavor and easy to drink without any bitterness. Just the impression I was left of with Peet's from my one lone experience way back when.
Foodbuzz gave me some coupons for $2 off a bag of Peet's medium roast to pass around, so I will mail a coupon to the first five people who email me at email@example.com with shipping info.
So, about them crepes. I adapted my favorite crepe recipe from my mom's Joy of Cooking, very old edition. We make it for birthdays, and the recipe is simple to whip together. Unlike other recipes, there is no fat in these crepes. I don't really think it needs any.
To modify the recipe, I replaced some flour for dark cocoa powder. At first, I thought I made a mistake by using so much cocoa, so to compensate for the rather intense taste I added a few tablespoons more sugar. It ended up working out well.
The highlight of this dish turned out to be the caramelized banana sauce. I didn't follow any recipe, I just added some butter to the skillet. When it melted and turned a little brown, I stirred in brown sugar.
Banana slices are added with a pinch of kosher salt. The mixture is left to bubble away for a few minutes, then I removed it from the heat, added a splash of milk, and mashed the bananas into the sauce. It was amazing.
Folks, these were some serious crepes, filled with a serious sauce. I can't rave about this more than I already am. Usually, I eat crepes filled with jam, and they're good. But the flavors in this banana sauce were so complex, yet simple that it took the crepes to a whole other level.
I'm not going to leave the crepe recipe here. Perhaps another post will be dedicated to crepes, but I will leave you with the caramel banana sauce. Use it with your favorite crepe recipe, or use it to top waffles. Or straight from a spoon. I don't judge.
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Caramelized Banana Sauce
Recipe by Christina Provo
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 firm, ripe bananas, sliced
Pinch of kosher salt
1 tablespoon whole milk or whipping cream
- In a skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Once it melts, watch it carefully until it just begins to brown. Stir in the brown sugar. Add the sliced bananas and salt. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until a spoon leaves a trace in the sauce and the bananas have softened. Remove from heat.
- Stir in milk or cream. Coarsely mash the bananas to blend into the sauce. Serve, or lick straight from the skillet.