It’s almost strawberry season. I’m impatient. So, I purchase supermarket strawberries, just to get myself in the mood. They are almost always a disappointment, but oddly enough, even those work reasonably well with this lovely springtime dessert.Crêpes are wonderfully flexible, but not eaten nearly enough. They’ve become passé. They’re no longer as “exotic” as they once were. So let’s bring them back. Crêpes are flexible, as they can be both savory and sweet. Today, we’re focusing on the sweeter side of life.
We’re going to fill these with a wonderfully rich cheese mixture—mascarpone and ricotta cheese. We toss in some orange zest, vanilla and a little powdered sugar, whisk it all up and set it aside. You can even do this a couple days ahead and have it ready and waiting in the fridge.
And we’re going to make a nice little strawberry sauce…because it’s all about the sauce! Supermarket strawberries look good, but looks don’t count. We’re interested in their personality, or flavor. For years, I’ve been adding strawberry-flavored gelatin to out-of-season berries. Now don’t get your apron all in a bunch, people. We’ve already established the fact that supermarket strawberries are lacking in the flavor department. And flavor is where it’s at. We’re not adding much, but it really does make a difference. Add the balsamic vinegar is essential. The late, great Marcella Hazan served off-season strawberries to the late, great Julia Child, who was amazed to find that the strawberries actually did have flavor. I always add some balsamic, even when I’m using local, yummy berries.
When you’re ready to fill the crêpes, smear each crêpe with 1-2 well-rounded tablespoon of filling, using an off-set spreader to spread the mixture to the edge. You want the filling to completely cover the crêpe, but not be too thick, about 1/8-inch. Fold the filled crêpe in half, then in half again. Place two filled crêpes on each plate, top with about 2-3 tablespoons of the sauce. Sprinkle with powdered sugar (or a dusting of cocoa) and serve.
That’s it! We have a rich, creamy filling. We have a slightly sweet/tart strawberry sauce. And when we combine the two, it’s a match made in heaven. Dessert anyone?
Crêpes with Ricotta-Mascarpone Filling & Strawberries
These filled crêpes are a lovely spring dessert, but they also make an equally delightful brunch or breakfast treat.
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese, at cool room temperature
- 3/4 cup whole milk ricotta
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon grate orange zest (lemon, tangerine or lime zest are also good)
- Strawberry Sauce:
- 1 quart strawberries, thinly sliced
- 1-3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon strawberry-flavored gelatin (optional–see NOTE)
- Pinch of salt
In a medium bowl, combine the filling ingredients. Whisk together until the mixture is smooth. Cover and chill. This mixture can be made several days in advance; it is actually even better when the mixture is allowed to rest for at least 6 hours.
At least 2 hours prior to serving, prepare the sauce. Place the sliced berries in a bowl; sprinkle with sugar, vinegar, gelatin, if using and the salt. Stir the mixture to combine thoroughly, mashing the strawberries slightly, using the back of the spoon or a whisk. Set aside; stirring occasionally. You want the mixture to ooze it’s lovely juices.
When you’re ready to serve dessert, remove the filling and the crêpes from the fridge. Peel off a crêpe, smear with 1-2 well-rounded tablespoon of filling, using an off-set spreader to spread the mixture to the edge. You want the filling to completely cover the crêpe, but not be too thick, about 1/8-inch. Fold the filled crêpe in half, then in half again. Place two filled crêpes on each plate, top with about 2-3 tablespoons of the sauce. Sprinkle with powdered sugar (or a dusting of cocoa) and serve.
NOTE: I like to stir some strawberry gelatin into the strawberries. It doesn’t thicken them, but when you’re using supermarket strawberries, it’s a flavor enhancer. You can fill the crêpes up to two hours ahead. Place all the filled crêpes on a plate, cover with plastic and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve them.
Crêpes with Ricotta-Mascarpone Filling & Strawberries Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2017. All rights reserved.
This is a lovely dessert; it is refreshing and delicious anytime. And it makes a particularly nice finish to Easter brunch or dinner.