Lemon Cream Crêpes & Vanilla Berries

Lemon-Cream-and-Berry-Crepes-2Taking a look out of my window today made me realize why theres a statistical increase in happy-pill prescriptions during the post glittery-december-decorations winter months. Since I don’t believe in bogus, synthetic alterations of my moods and/or behavior I decided on making a lively and summery dessert instead. There’s just something about lemony sweets that instantly makes me smile, so I absolutely had to use lemons today.

The first thing that popped into my head was a light and fluffy lemon no-bake cheesecake, the easy way to lemony, grey-repelling bliss. I love making those in different varieties during summer. One of the first no-bakes I’ve ever tried to make almost kicked me off that path again though – the original recipe Just. Didn’t. Work. The filling didn’t set, no matter what I did. Every time I had a go at it, the filling just sunk in on itself and oozed all over the plate as soon as I took off the springform or cake ring. Why try and make it work instead of ditching the blasted thing and move on to the next recipe, you ask? Well,to be honest, I’m surprised at my own patience with this… but I really liked the taste of this particular filling. After a while though, I gave up on the whole cake idea, skipped a couple of ingredients, adjusted some measurements and simply settled on reinventing the whole thing as a creamy dessert. Here we go…

These amounts will net you 6 lemony and very-berry crêpe-rolls

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The Vanilla Berries

500g Strawberries or/and Blackberries, carefully cleaned and halved or quartered – these pretties are, while not perfect, quite yummy and affordable in an off-season situation. If you’re doing this during berry season, go wild on the berry mix~
¼ Vanilla Pod, seeds only
4 Tbsp Liquor 43 – use orange juice and ½ instead of ¼ Vanilla Pod if you’re skipping the booze
1 Tsp Icing Sugar
1 Pinch of Salt
Opt: 2 Tbsp fresh Mint or Lemon Balm Leaves, either finely sliced and mixed with the berries or for decoration purposes at the end

1) Pour the Liquor 43 – or non-boozy alternative – into a mixing bowl large enough to comfortably hold the berries.
2) Whisk in the vanilla seeds, salt and sugar until the seeds are evenly distributed throughout the liquid.
3) Gently fold in the berries and make sure all of them are sporting a couple of vanilla-dots. If you’ve decided to have your leaves in the berry mix, include those as well.
4) Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave the berries to marinade for 2 hrs.

The Lemon Filling
200g Light Cream Cheese or Fromage Blanc – I usually go with a fat reduced Yoghurt Cream Cheese for this one since it provides a fluffier texture. Full fat Cream Cheese works too, though, and it’s less likely to ooze out of the crêpes if left alone for too long.
120g Lemon Curd – this British goodie used to be a very rare sight in our corner of the world for a long time, but it’s commonly available in most supermarkets in the jam & breadspread sections by now.
1 unwaxed Lemon, Zest

Well, as most things go, once you’ve removed the chichi of a special method of preparation, this “filling” is the definition of a quick-fix.

1) Pop all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl.
2) Whisk them until they’re well combined into a smooth and even mixture. Have a whiff while you’re at it and get a head start on the lemon-induced happiness.
3) Chill the lemony mix for about an hour – just enough time to finish the rest~

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The Crêpes

I love the process of making crêpes or pancakes~ A few ground rules and nothing can go wrong. One of those ground rules is a rather infamous one, though: The first crêpe or pancake of the day will go south. It’s a law of nature. But that’s not a bad thing, if you’re mentally prepared for it~! The delicious way of getting into the groove of a crêpe-related dish is to erase all evidence of a kitchen-mishap by simply snacking on it~ Unless, of course, you’ve managed to burn the thing into a cinder, rather than going with the business-as-usual crêpe-flipping accident… Anyways, the ingredients listed should be enough for 7 crêpes – if you’ve got leftover dough after successfully cooking up 6 of them, prep a 7th as a bonus, to reward yourself for beating a basic rule of kitchen-nature as well as Murphy’s Law~

100g Plain Flour
1 Egg, size M
150ml Skimmed Milk
50ml Sparkling Water
1 Pinch of Salt
½ Tsp Sugar
Oil or Butter for the pan

1) Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and press a well into the middle of the flour.
2) Crack the egg into that well and sprinkle it with the salt and sugar. Pick up a whisk and get to work the ingredients into a smooth dough while adding the milk in a slow and steady stream.
3) Once the dough begins to earn it’s name, thickening up a little, add the sparkling water. Keep stirring until the dough is smooth and lump-free. If these are your first crêpes, you might think the dough to be on the runny side of all things dough, but don’t worry – it’s supposed to be that way in order to come out of the pan as a very thin crêpe rather than a thick and fluffy pancake. Plus, it’ll thicken up a little during the next step.
4) Cover your mixing bowl with a dry kitchen towel and set it aside for 30-45 mins, giving the dough some time to rest and develop.
5) Have a peek beneath the cover once the time’s up – you should be looking at a dough with the consistency of heavy cream or golden syrup… well, the dough-version of it anyways. Surrounding temperature and humidity can mess with the flour in ways I don’t always understand – “this is exactly like last time’s setup”-rules don’t always apply. The good news: it can’t get any runnier, so in case it’s thickened up towards the pancake-department, stir in a little bit more of the milk.
6) Lightly brush a 18-20cm DIA pan, set onto medium heat, with a few drops of vegetable oil and get it up to speed.
7) Pour in just enough dough to cover the bottom of the pan in a thin disk – help the dough along by tipping the pan until it’s evenly spread out. The crêpe should take on a pretty golden-brown hue within a minute but it shouldn’t start setting before you are done spreading out the dough – adjust the temperature of your stove accordingly.
8) Flip the crêpe when the side facing up looks dry and give it 1/2-1 min on the second side. Once it’s lightly browned on both sides, gently take it out of the pan and place it, de-wrinkled, on a warm plate and cover it with a paper towel.
9) Work your way through the rest of the dough, stacking up the finished crêpes with paper towels in between them to keep them from sticking.

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Assembling the Dish
1) Drop a dollop of the filling onto one half of each crêpe.
2) Arrange a helping of the berries on top and around the lemony cream.
3) Scatter a couple of mint or lemon balm strips – if you haven’t used them already – on top and fold the “naked” side of the crêpe over to cover the filling.
4) Garnish the servings with more berries – there’s never enough berries~! Another law of kitchen-nature…
5) A hint of grated white chocolate also works brilliantly as a finishing flourish!

Enjoy~

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