14 Aug 2012

Holy Crepes: Savory Stuffed Crepes filled with Homemade Ricotta cheese & Spinach

The last few days have been treating us well here in lovely Lund. We are at the end of the summer but it appears that we will enjoy a few more weeks of summer warmth before the autumn comes knocking on the door. 

The inspiration for this dish comes from a fellow gastronome and countryman whom while living in the States started a small catering business - www.cookinggoodinthehood.com. I got to know this gentleman online through my website and we have chatted about our shared interest,  which is the love for good quality food! Anyways, he publishes his menus online and one morning I saw this appear on his daily menu. I just needed to see the picture to become convinced that this dish needed to be tried as I do love anything that has to do with or is related to the wonderful crepe! And this variation turns the often sweet crepe into something savoury and substantial enough to be a hearty lunch or a satisfying dinner!

Holy Crepes: Savory Stuffed Crepes filled with Homemade Ricotta cheese & Spinach

So, let's get started! 

The evening before I made some ricotta cheese. And that is simpler than many would expect. Last year I purchased some cheese making equipment from Ricki Carrol - the Cheese making Queen of New England. The kit I ordered included some simple instruments and ingredients to make some fresh cheeses including this ricotta cheese.

Simple Ricotta cheese

I started by pouring 4 L of whole milk into a clean stainless steel pot. To that I added one teaspoon of citric acid and one teaspoon of salt (called cheese salt - but I think it is just good old NaCl). Heated the milk gently to 90 degrees Celsius and stirred continuously. When the milk starts to curdle take of the heat and leave to cool for 10 minutes. Than put some "butter muslin" into a colander and strain the liquid through the muslin. The cheese will remain in the muslin. I then tied the muslin bag up and left to drain for 30-40 minutes over the sink. And that's the whole story - a delicate ricotta cheese ready to be eaten within the hour. Stored in the freezer until the day after.

The next step is to prepare the crepes. 

Crepes on the fire

I put one cup of flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1 tablespoon oil, one egg and one cup of milk and stirred all together until you have a smooth and relatively thin batter. 

Butter a pan and bake the crepes one by one. 

Preparing the filling

Cut 20 forrest mushrooms in quarters and then fried them in a potent garlic oil with a chopped red onion. When the mushrooms were cooked I added 300 gr of fresh washed spinach which is allowed to wilt over the hot pan - it will reduce in size, at leash 80 percent.  

Adding the ricotta

I put the vegetable mixture in a bowl and crumbled the ricotta cheese into the mixture. Stirred well to combine. Seasoned with salt & pepper and added 3 tablespoons of good extra virgin olive oil. 

Filling the crepes

Next step was to stuff the crepes. Placed a heaped tablespoon of filling into the centre of each crepe and than folded to seal in the mixture.

Ready for the oven

Then place the stuffed crepes in an oven drawer and bake for 20 minutes in preheated 180 degrees warm oven. 

Meanwhile I made this simple tomato sauce. Chopped half an onion, 1 glove of garlic and fried for 5 minutes. Added a whole can of tomatoes. Seasoned with salt&pepper, a dash of balsamic vinegar and a teaspoon of sugar. Bring to the boil. 

Montalto Chardonnay

We drank some white wine with the meal. A bag-in-box that I picked up in Denmark recently. This is a lovely wine made in Sicily, Italy. It is a rather light Chardonnay. Scents of  fruits, melon. Light on the palate, fruity and dry. A good accompaniment to the meal. 

Bon appetit

Served with a colourful salad, some green leaves, sliced tomatoes and multicoloured peppers. 

Simple - don't you agree!

Bon appetit!

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