Yesterday was one of my favourite English ‘holidays’. Pancake Day is not a hyped up, marketing holiday designed for companies to make millions, but an inexpensive celebration that draws the family together for a meal of pancakes (crepes). Those simple and humble ingredients of milk, flour and eggs can be combined to make an irresistible treat. Of course, getting the basic recipe is vital but let’s face it, the reason crepes have become a huge hit across the globe is really more to do with the fillings and toppings. Sweet and Savoury alike, the possibilities are endless and even though Nutella is probably the most popular of indulgences, there is something to be said about the sour crunch of the English classic with sprinkled sugar and lemon juice.
However, in true Grumbling Belly fashion, where darkness and moments of brilliance collide, I decided to explore some new flavour options last night. One was inspired by my love affair with lemon curd, and the other was born from my need to use up some leftover pumpkin and sage. This certainly wasn’t the usual holiday fare but it was fun and delicious.
What are some of your favourite crepe fillings and toppings?
Basic Crepe Recipe
(makes about 8-10 crepes)
1 cup of plain (AP) flour
1/2 tbsp melted butter
pinch of salt
1 cup of milk
1/2 tbsp butter
(Mix all ingredients until smooth and place in the fridge for a couple of hours before cooking. For more tips on crepes see Peppermint Chocolate Crepe Cake)
Drunken Pumpkin Crepe Filling (savoury)
(makes about 4 servings)
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large shallot chopped
1 large garlic clove chopped
1 tbsp of finely chopped fresh sage
1 tsp grated orange zest
2 tbsp whiskey
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 can of pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
2 tbsp of grated Parmesan cheese
(toasted pine nuts- optional)
salt and pepper to taste
4 slices of prosciutto
Heat butter and oil on medium heat. Add shallots, and brown for about a minute, then add garlic and sage. Stir for another minute. Mix in orange zest and remove from heat to incorporate alcohol (make sure you always remove your pan from heat when adding alcohol). Immediately add whisky. It will bubble up quite furiously but will start to settle. Put back on heat and sprinkle in sugar. Stir occasionally as it simmers and begins to reduce. After about 5 minutes add the pumpkin and simmer for another couple of minutes. The colour should get darker as the pumpkin absorbs the sauce. Then stir in the Parmesan, and add salt and pepper to taste. (If you want to use pine nuts, go ahead and add them into the pumpkin mixture at the end)
Lay crepe out flat and place a slice of prosciutto down the middle. Spread 1/4 of the pumpkin mixture on top of the prosciutto and then fold each side of the crepe over the middle (almost like a burrito).
White Chocolate Raspberry Lemon Crepe Filling
(makes about 6 servings)
1 cup of fresh (or defrosted unsweetened) raspberries
1/2 jar of lemon curd (available in the jam section of the grocery store)
1 cup of white chocolate chips
2 tbsp of ricotta cheese
Mix the raspberries with the ricotta. (If using frozen, defrost them in a sieve so the excess water can drain away.) Spread the chocolate chips over the fresh hot crepe and allow them to begin to melt for a minute. Add a few healthy dollops of lemon curd, and the ricotta raspberry mix. Fold over and indulge!