Feb 20, 2011

La Crêpe

Whether you are daydreaming about Paris or just wanting something different for dinner or dessert - try a crepe! We took a basic crepe recipe and jazzed it up with our favorite fillings, both savory and sweet. This crepe recipe is really a no fail. So break out that nonstick pan, butter it up, and Bon Appétit!

Caitlin: I spent a little bit of time in France (mostly Paris, but traveled around the South quite a bit) and came back to the states with two things on my mind: pain au chocolat, and crepes -- both of which resulted in quite a few extra pounds coming back with me, as well. One of my favorite things to do was grab a cafe au lait and a pain au chocolat and sit outside reading my book and watching people pass. Later in the day after lunch when I craved something on the sweeter side I'd grab a crepe with Nutella - which were sometimes served with fresh strawberries if I went to the right vendor. Such a simple yet completely delicious treat that I craved for months upon returning to the states. So when we talked about making crepes, my first thought was to slab some nutella in there, put on some Serg Gainsbourg and reminisce. However, I wanted to try something a little different - I mixed mascarpone cheese with a little sugar and cinnamon, put a little inside the crepe and topped it all with a strawberry sauce I canned last summer. It was delicious - simple, rich and just the right amount of sweetness. With the couple crepes I had leftover, I couldn't resist filling some with Nutella and topping it with strawberry sauce - for old times sake - to tide me over until I visit again. 
Mascarpone cheese filling and strawberry sauce
Monica:  I love crepes - both savory and sweet.  A few weeks ago I had the most delicious crepes at Upper West in Santa Monica.  Those crepes consisted of melt in your mouth port braised lamb, spinach, Israeli Feta and a crispy russett potato topping.  If you are ever in Santa Monica, definitely check out Upper West and if you like lamb...get the crepes.  They are labeled as a starter, however, I found them quite satisfying as a main. Okay, so back to my savory crepe... after having these crepes I mentioned it to Caitlin and the inspiration for doing this post came about.  I decided to model my savory crepe after the ones I had a Upper West, but I changed it up. I did a veggie version of the crepes - substituting the lamb for white wine sauteed crimini and portabello mushrooms. 
Monica's Savory Version: Spinach & Musrhoom Crepe with White Wine Cream Sauce
After making the savory version, I couldn't pass up making a sweet crepe. When I have sweet crepes they usually consist of Nutella and berries of some sort.  This time, I decided to use Cajeta Envinada (made by the company Coronado, a company based in San Luis Potosi, Mexico - my mom's hometown - a shoutout to SLP) which is a Mexican dulce de leche made from goat's milk.  I grew up eating this caramel and it really is one of my favorite things.  So I made a sweet crepe with a Mexican twist.  They were so good..I think I might have to make them for dinner (and dessert) again tonight!
Monica's Sweet Version: Cajeta, Cream & Berries

Ingredient List for Basic Crepe Batter
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup flour
Butter, for coating the pan

In a blender, combine all of the ingredients and pulse for 10 seconds.  If not using a blender, whisk the eggs, milk, water and melted butter in a large bowl, add the flour and whisk until smooth. Place the crepe batter in the refrigerator for 1 hour. The batter will keep for up to 48 hours.
Heat a small non-stick pan. Add butter to coat. Pour 1 ounce of batter into the center of the pan and swirl to spread evenly. Cook for 1 minute and flip. Cook for another 30 seconds to 1 minute and remove. Lay them out flat so they can cool.

*Savory Variation Add 1/4 teaspoon salt to the egg mixture.

*Sweet Variation Add 21/2 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract to the egg mixture. You can also add cinnamon to the mixture or a teaspoon of your favorite liqueur.

Ingredient List and Method for Mascarpone Cheese & Strawberry Crepes
1 cup or small container of Mascarpone cheese
1 - 2 tbsp of sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Strawberry sauce: if you don't have pre-made sauce, you can cook fresh strawberries with sugar on the stove until soft and sweet. Add a little water if it's too thick.

Fill the cooked crepes with a little of the Mascarpone filling, fold and top with strawberry sauce. You can also sprinkle a little powdered sugar on top for presentation :) 

Ingredient List and Method for Spinach & Mushroom Crepes
2 cups crimini mushrooms
1 portabello mushroom, chopped
2 tbs olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced or thinly sliced
1 cup white wine
16 oz fresh spinach
1/2 cup heavy cream or half & half
1 cup crumbled feta
3 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced
salt & peper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Arrange the potato slices on baking sheet and add a bit of olive oil or olive oil spray to the potato slices, toss and salt. Once the oven is hot, bake potato slices in the oven until they are crisp and golden brown, almost like a baked french fry/chip texture.  Remove from oven and set aside.

Heat olive oil in pan with 2 tbs olive oil (more if necessary) and 2 cloves minced garlic for about 1 minute.  Add mushrooms and sautee in pan until soft.

While the mushrooms are cooking, steam fresh spinach in a separate pan.
Once the mushrooms and spinach are cooked, you are now ready to make the pan sauce and assemble your crepes.

Make the pan sauce in the same pan that you prepared the mushrooms in, in order for the sauce to grab the flavor.  On medium-low heat add 1 minced garlic clove, the heavy cream or half & half, white wine and salt to taste.  Whisk until the sauce thickens.  You can also add pepper and dried thyme to the mixture if you like.  Once the sauce thickens remove from heat.

You can choose to prepare the crepes beforehand or after you make the filling. Use the recipe above.

You are now ready to assemble your crepe.  Lay crepe flat, fill the middle with steamed spinach and spoon mushroom mixture on top of spinach. Fold.  Drizzle the white wine cream sauce over the crepe.  Add feta cheese crumbles to the top and also, crumble the crispy potatoes and sprinkle on top of the crepe.  Add more sauce if you like and enjoy!

Ingredient List & Method for Cajeta & Cream Crepes

Cajeta or dulce de leche, I prefer Cajeta Envinada made by Coronado
2 1/2 cups chilled whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 tbs sugar
cinnamon,to taste
Mexican chocolate, I use Ibarra Mexican Hot Chocolate 
strawberries, thinly sliced

Beat whipping cream, sugar and vanilla extract in large bowl until firm peaks form. (Can be prepared 4 hours ahead. Cover and chill.)

Once the whipped cream is prepared you can now make your crepes.  Prepare the crepe batter as listed above and add the sugar to the batter. You can also add cinnamon to the egg mixture and 1 tsp vanilla.

To assemble the sweet crepes, fill the crepe with about 2 tbs of Cajeta (which can be found in most markets in the Latino food aisle or at any Latin  market) - if you can't find, you can use dulce de leche.  Add as much of the whipped cream as you prefer and place sliced strawberries on top.  Fold the crepe.  

Drizzle a bit more cajeta on top and top with a few dollops of whipped cream.  Sprinkle cinnamon and Mexican chocolate on top.  I use Ibarra which is a Mexican hot chocolate (like Abuelitas, but better).  I just smash a bit of the chocolate up so it becomes a powdery texture and sprinkle it on top. It really adds a great flavor to the crepe - it is a special something, somewhat unexpected.  You can find Ibarra hot chocolate in most supermarkets in the Latino foods aisle or in any Latin market.  You can garnish plate with a whole strawberry & enjoy!

Have fun with the fillings.  The great thing about crepes is their versatility. You can basically put anything in a crepe..some other ideas include: smoked salmon and dill, nutella and berries, artichokes, goat cheese, braised lamb, etc...

Drink of Choice
Caitlin: Cafe au lait.
Monica: A nice, chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc.


Caitlin: There's nothing like a little Serge Gainsbourg on a Sunday morning.
Monica: A little bit of 1960's French pop music and anything else French...
1) Mon amie la rose - Françoise Hardy
2) Je t'aime moi non plus - Jane Birkin & Serge Gainsbourg
3) Souvenir De Paris - Dimitri from Paris
4) Kelly Watch the Stars - Air
5) Faite Pour Dormir - Brigitte Bardot

No comments:

Post a Comment