Friday, March 5, 2010

Crepes Stacked with Cheese, Spinach, and Mushrooms

Tonight, I attempted to make crepes for the first time.  I have always enjoyed eating crepes at restaurants  (and on cruises).  Their delicate demeanor and French name intimidated me, so I never tried to make them at home.  But Memphis has a noticeable lack of good crepe restaurants (Crepe Maker is not a good crepe restaurant).  After reading various sources about how easy they are to make, I decided to give crepes a try.  If everybody in France can make a crepe, surely I could. 

The crepe recipe I used was from Martha Stewart's Living.  I was surprised at how easy they were to make.  They were no more difficult than pancakes.  With great success, I used a lightly buttered iron skillet and a plastic spatula.  When I attempted to make a crepe in a non-stick skillet, the crepe batter formed little individual puddles instead of sticking together into one crepe.  Maybe the surface was too slick. 

I used Gaiteau de Crepes a la Florentine from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck for the filling and finished product.   This dish was amazing!  The taste and texture were unbelievable.  But, the dish was very time consuming (I spent about 2 hours making this dish- an eternity to a toddler) and cholesterol/fat laden. 

It can be made in stages and assembled in advance.  Just put it in the oven 30 minutes before you plan to eat. 

The filling consisted of several parts: bechamel cheese sauce, spinach filling, and cheese and mushroom filling.   I had a not insignificant amount leftover of each of these components.  I put them in the refrigerator in case I think of another use for them. 

We also had a few leftover crepes.  Art used these to make some crepe ice cream desserts that were wonderful.  I want to start making crepes more often. 

Bechamel Cheese Sauce
5 Tab flour
4 Tab butter
2 3/4 cups boiling milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
Big pinch of nutmeg
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 cup grated Swiss cheese

Cook the flour and butter over medium low heat for two minutes, whisking to combine.  Off heat, beat in the milk and seasonings.  Boil, stirring 1 minute.  Reduce to a simmer and stir in cream by tablespoons.  Sauce should be thick enough to coat the spoon.  Remove from heat and stir in cheese.  Pour a small amount of milk over the sauce to prevent a skin from forming.

Spinach Filling
1 Tab minced green onions
2 Tab butter
1 1/2 cups blanched, chopped spinach (Boil about 1 1/2 lb of fresh spinach in salted water for 2 minutes.  Immediately drain and rinse with cold water.  Squeeze out as much excess water as you can.)
1/4 tsp salt

Cook the onion in butter for a moment in a saucepan.  Add spinach and salt, stir over medium high heat for 2-3 minutes to evaporate moisture.  Stir in 1/2 to 2/3 cup of bechamel sauce.  Cover and simmer for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Cheese and Mushroom Filling
8 oz reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature
salt and pepper
1 egg
1/4 lb minced mushrooms
1 Tab minced green onion
1 Tab butter
1/2 Tab oil

Mash the cheese in a mixing bowl with salt and pepper.  Beat in 1/2 to 2/3 cup bechamel sauce and the egg. 
Saute the mushrooms and onion in butter and oil for 5-6 minutes in a skillet.  Stir them into the cream cheese mixture.

Forming the Stack of Crepes and Baking (You will need another 3 Tab of grated Swiss for the top.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a pie plate and center a crepe on the bottom.  Spread it with a layer of the cheese and mushroom filling.  Press a crepe on top and spread with a layer of the spinach filling.  Repeat until the dish is full and finish with a crepe.  Pour the remaining cheese sauce over the top and sides of the stack.  Sprinkle with 3 Tab cheese. 
Bake in oven until heated through and slightly brown on top, about 25-30 minutes.  To serve, cut into pie shaped wedges. 


  1. oh my gosh you have way more patience than i do when it comes to cooking for the family!!! bet they were tasty, though!

    my suggestion for the extra filling - make little potstickers ala pampered chef - use wonton wrappers and try the different methods of wrapping. i used to make them at shows and they went over well. or, stuff it in little packages of phyllo dough or a thin pastry and bake them until golden brown. i know art prefers to not have an appetizer-y size because he'll eat more of them, but think about combining them with little veggies and dips and other bite-sized items and call it a utensil-free dinner. eat like it's a picnic!

  2. Completely random, but if you are ever in Miami Beach, eat at A La Folie on Espanola Way in South Beach. That IS a fantastic crepe restaurant! (I agree about CrepeMaker, btw.) I love your blog, btw, and am forwarding a link to my mother-in-law. She'll love it too.

    Oh, and even more random - I made those bamboo skewers of strawberry halves and red grapes that you brought to Supper Club for a baby shower I threw last weekend. LOVE them! So easy, pretty and healthy!