From the Kitchen – Crêpe Love

by Joan Saunders | photos by Amanda Cribdon Photography – 

Every time I make crêpes, I think: “Why don’t I make these more often?” They’re easy, they’re impressive, they can be packed with sweet or savoury yumminess, and they can be made ahead of time. What’s not to love?

To top it all off, guests (or family – who are also known as those pesky guests that never leave) are always genuinely impressed with crêpes. The name itself conjures up images of French bistros, which is absolutely perfect for Valentine’s Day.

So you’ve got two choices: either breakfast or dinner. You can start out the day showing some love with sweet breakfast crêpes filled with mascarpone cheese and whipping cream along with beautifully zesty-sweet lemon sugar and fruit. Use fresh fruit or thawed berries, like raspberries, blueberries or strawberries. And if you have little ones in your life, fillings can be as simple as a favourite jam or some Nutella and a dollop of whipping cream. Lovely.

A great option for a special breakfast is to put out a selection of fillings on the table and let people assemble their own concoctions. Different jams and syrups along with the whipped filling and a mixture of fruits, both fresh and previously frozen, will have everyone creating individualized crêpe masterpieces.

For a dinner alternative, you’ll get some ooohs and aaahs from your loved ones when you dish up baked crêpes full of asparagus, leeks, mushrooms, ricotta and goat cheese. Not only do they look gorgeous, but you can also make them the day before then just warm them up. They’re also infinitely adaptable: add or subtract ingredients to suit the tastes of whomever is going to show up at the table. Use the recipe as a jumping-off point; maybe augment the crêpes with some smoked salmon, crispy fried pancetta or a more robustly flavoured goat cheese.

And if you’re feeling especially generous, you could always put together both recipes to spoil your loved ones. You don’t need to tell everyone it was just a time-saving, make-ahead measure: a sweet and savoury Valentine’s Day gift to yourself.

Crêpes (makes approx. 10-12)
1 cup flour (can use gluten-free)
¼ tsp salt
3 eggs
2 cups milk
2 tbsp butter, melted, cooled

In medium bowl, stir together flour, salt. In another bowl, whisk eggs and milk; add this to flour; beat until smooth. Stir in cooled butter. Put in fridge until ready to use (helps batter stay sturdy when handling crêpes).

Heat lightly oiled 8-10 inch frying pan over low-medium heat. Pour about 5 tbsp of batter into pan (depends on size of pan used); tilt pan in a circle so batter coats surface evenly. Cook crêpe about 1-1½ minutes until bottom is golden brown. Flip with spatula. Cook other side. Stack crêpes on plate. They will stay warm stacked until ready to fill.

Savoury Crêpes: Asparagus, Leeks, Mushrooms & Goat Cheese
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp olive oil
3 leeks, sliced into 1/8 inch rings (white/light green parts only)
1 pound mushrooms (your choice of type), sliced
1 bunch asparagus, tough ends snapped off, chopped into 1-inch pieces
¾ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
pinch nutmeg
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon (optional)
6oz goat cheese, broken into chunks
¾ cup ricotta
1 tsp lemon juice

Heat butter, oil in large skillet. Add leeks; sauté until tender (3-4 minutes). Add mushrooms; continue to sauté until tender, 4-5 minutes. Add asparagus; cook another 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender yet still bright green. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg. Stir in tarragon (if using). Set one cup of mix aside for garnish.

To the remaining, stir in chunks of goat cheese, ricotta. Taste; adjust salt as preferred.

Preheat oven to 350°. Divide filling among crêpes (about 4-5 tbsp per crêpe; amount is adaptable depending on taste); roll them up. Arrange in large, greased baking dish. Place in oven 20-25 minutes.

Before serving, heat up remaining mix with added tsp lemon juice in small pot; spoon over centre of crêpes to garnish.


Sweet Crêpes: Whipped Mascarpone, Fruit & Lemon Sugar
Lemon Sugar:
½ cup sugar
zest of 1 lemon
Add sugar and zest to blender or food processer; blend until well mixed.

Whipped filling:
1 cup mascarpone cheese
1 cup whipping cream
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla

Add mascarpone cheese, whipping cream to mixing bowl. Using electric mixer, beat on high until soft peaks form. Beat in honey, vanilla.

To assemble: dollop whipped filling inside warm crêpe. Add fresh or thawed fruit, dust with lemon sugar, roll up.

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