Crepes are as versatile as Bubba talking about shrimp in the Tom Hanks movie, “Forest Gump.” You can make these French favorites filled with smoked ham, gruyere cheese, egg, spinach, wild mushrooms, smoked salmon, red peppers and creme fraiche. They can be simple, or fancy, like the crepes Chef Larry Kolar serves for dinner at his restaurant, filled with duck confit, prunes and roasted garlic. And don’t forget dessert: Crepes with chocolate, hazelnuts and fruit sorbet! Check out the recipes to make your own crepes at home:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 quart milk
4 tbsp. melted butter
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
Using a whisk, mix flour sugar and salt. Add eggs and 1/2 of the milk, and mix until very smooth. Add the remaining milk and let it stand for about one hour. Add melted butter.
To make the crepes
Preheat crepe pan. Melt a small amount of butter in the bottom of the pan — usually you only have to do this one time. Add about 1 1/2 ounces of batter to coat the bottom of the pan. When the edge browns, remove from the pan. Repeat for more crepes. At home I use an 8-inch Teflon coated pan.
SPINACH & MUSHROOM CREPES WITH CHEESE SAUCE
For cheese sauce
1 cup whole milk
1 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup Swiss cheese grated
1 cup Gruyere grated
1 cup Parmesan grated
For spinach and mushroom filling
1 1/2 lbs mushrooms (The type of mushroom would depend on the season and your guests’ taste.)
1 1/2 lbs spinach
2 Tablespoons butter
2 1/2 cups cheese sauce
For cheese sauce
Mix cornstarch with 1/2 cup of the milk. Make sure all the lumps are out. Heat the remaining milk in a heavy-bottom saucepot and whisk in the cornstarch. Remove from the heat and stir in cheeses. Season with salt and pepper.
Slice the mushrooms and sauté them in a large pan until brown. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. When all of the spinach is wilted, add the cheese sauce and cook for 4 minutes on medium heat. Make sure spinach doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Season with salt and pepper.
To assemble the crepe:
Place about 1/2 cup of the warm mushroom mix in center of crepe. Fold the shorter sides in, then the longer sides. Place on a well-buttered Teflon cookie sheet and back for 4 minutes at 400 degrees.
GRILLED PEACH AND STRAWBERRY CREPES WITH LEMON MARSCAPONE
3 large peaches, preferably free stone
1 pint of strawberries
6 sprigs of mint
Cut the pears in half and remove the pit. Place on grill face down (cut side down) until you get some color on them, about 5 minutes. Flip the pears over and close the lid. If you have a thermostat on your grill, try to keep it at about 375 for 20 minutes. Remove the peaches from the grill and let them cool for about 8 minutes. Slice strawberries and place them in a mixing bowl. Slice the peaches and mix them with the strawberries. Chiffonade leaves of mint and mix into the fruit.
1 cup marscapone
1/4 cup sugar
1 lemon zest (grated)
Mix together all ingredients and reserve.
Preheat oven to 425. Place 1/2 a cup of fruit mixture in the center of the crepe. Starting from one side, lift and pleat in order to create a “Beggars Purse”. Placed filled crepe on buttered sheet pan. Heat for 5 minutes.
Place 4 tablespoons of marscapone just on the center on the plate. Put heated crepe on top of marscapone. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and a sprig of mint.