On one of our first Valentine’s Days together, Bryan and I decided to go out to dinner. He made a reservation at a local French bistro that we ordinarily enjoyed. The thing I remember most about that night was the embarrassing horror of it all—of the spectacle of public displays of romance. We were surrounded by couples trying desperately to have a romantic dinner, everyone was wearing red and awkwardly pulling out chairs for each other. There was this hope in the air that this would all begin to feel really romantic. Which is, of course, that last thing that is going to happen at a restaurant on Valentine’s Day. Romance rarely happens when it is supposed to (the exception perhaps being sunsets?), especially when there are dozens of other couples there trying for the same thing. We survived the dinner, and I remember being really happy that Bryan also found it objectionable. We vowed that year to never go out to dinner on Valentine’s Day, unless we were going to Taco Bell or some other place that can’t help but feel romantic.
Instead, we make some delicious food and are happy to be home together. I was thinking about Valentine’s Day cooking this year when I made these cheese crepes from one of the all-time great cookbooks, Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich. I’ve had the recipe bookmarked for years. I like cheese in sweets, I guess it is the Eastern European in me. These are so lovely. One of the best things about them is that they can be assembled the day before you plan on serving them and tucked away in the refrigerator. You then simply need to quickly caramelize them and serve them up. They’re great as a dessert, but would also be nice for breakfast or an afternoon snack. I liked them plain, but they would also be great with a drizzle of honey or some raspberries. Make a batch this weekend and be happy you’re home.
Caramelized Crepes Filled with Fresh Cheese (from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich)
- 1 3/4 cups whole milk
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Butter for cooking crepes and sauteing filled crepes
- 1 pound slightly tangy fresh cheese, such as cottage cheese, fromage blanc, mild goat cheese, paneer, or yogurt cheese
- Sugar for sprinkling
- Sour cream or whipped cream for serving (optional)
To make the crepes: Combine the milk, melted butter, and eggs in a pitcher or measuring cup with a pouring spout. Put the flour and salt in a blender or food processor. With the motor running, pour the milk mixture through the feed tube and blend for 5 seconds. Set a medium mesh strainer over a bowl and strain the mixture into the bowl. Press any lumps through the strainer and stir them into the batter. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 1 day.
Heat crepe pan or 6-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Brush the pan lightly with butter. Pour 2 tablespoons of the batter into the pan and immediately tilt the pan to coat the entire surface evenly. Cook, on one side only, until the crepe is uniformly translucent and the surface no longer looks wet, 45 seconds to 1 minute. Loosen the edges of the crepe with a spatula and invert it onto a piece of waxed paper. Repeat with the remaining batter, buttering the pan as necessary. (the crepes can be stacked between sheets of waxed paper, wrapped airtight, and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.)
To assemble the crepes: Place a slightly rounded tablespoon of cheese below the center of the brown side of a crepe. Shape the cheese into a cigar about 3 1/2-inches long. Then roll up the crepes, as you would a rug, around the cheese. Place the filled crepe, seam side down on a wax-paper lined tray. Repeat with all of the crepes. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
To saute the crepes: Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add 1 tablespoon butter and swirl to coat the pan. Sprinkle 2 to 3 teaspoons sugar over the butter, and add only as many crepes to the pan as will fit comfortably. Cook seam side down only until just browned on the first side, about 30 seconds. Sprinkle the crepes with sugar, turn then carefully, and brown the bottoms. Place on a warm serving plate. Repeat with the remaining crepes. Serve immediately, with a dollop of sour cream or whipped cream, if you like.
* I made these with cottage cheese and fromage blanc, I loved them both. If you are using an especially tart cheese, you might want to add a tiny bit of sugar to even things out.
Katrina @ WVS says:
February 12th, 2015 at 11:12 am
This is a really yummy sounding recipe! I love the cheese in there!
Kristin @ Tasty Joy says:
February 12th, 2015 at 11:57 am
What a fantastic story :-) And caramelized crepes? Yum! We’re opting for home rather than a restaurant this Saturday, so perhaps I’ll have to try these for my pancake-loving partner!
Tina | The Worktop says:
February 12th, 2015 at 1:44 pm
Yum!! These look amazing. Quick question though, why do you need to wait 1 hour – up to 2 days after you put the cheese in it and roll it up? Seems like I might get impatient if I try to make these one morning for brunch! ;) This really isn’t a last minute “let’s throw brunch” together type of recipe, is it.
February 12th, 2015 at 1:51 pm
Hi Tina- It’s definitely not a last minute “let’s throw brunch” together recipe. I am sure you can saute the crepes after filling them if you really would like to, but that doesn’t really change that fact that this isn’t a quick recipe. You still have to rest the batter for at least an hour, and cook the crepes, and assemble the crepes. resting the filled crepes allows the filling to kind of settle in, firm up (so that it doesn’t get as loose when cooked) and the moisture from the filling will help seal the crepe closed.
Tina | The Worktop says:
February 12th, 2015 at 2:10 pm
Ah, I see. Thanks for explaining. I am the cook in the house, so I’m always the one up really early if we want a proper brunch on the weekend :) When I first saw your photo, I thought the final step might be to brown it in the oven. I wonder how that would work.. (not that there’s anything wrong with doing it on the stove like your recipe!). I can’t wait to try it. Thanks for sharing.
February 12th, 2015 at 5:04 pm
Lovely recipe…like the caramelized exterior playing off the cheesy filling. Brunch goodness!
February 12th, 2015 at 8:58 pm
Haha, I feel the same way about going out for dinner on Valentine’s Day. Octavian and I have successfully avoided the Valentine’s Day crowd for five years! Hear hear to dinner at home, especially if cheese-filled crepes are involved.
Dena@Gathering Flavors says:
February 13th, 2015 at 5:01 am
Home together at Valentine’s with delicious food is indeed a great antidote to all the public displays. And this dish looks amazing. Thank you so much. D
February 13th, 2015 at 6:12 am
You’ve got me drooling. I could dive into those crepes right now.
February 13th, 2015 at 4:24 pm
You’ve convinced me that I must have these in my life.
Also, I love this plate–so simple and beautiful. Not to pry, but where did you buy it?
February 14th, 2015 at 12:25 am
Ah ha! Have been wondering about these since you Instagrammed that glorious photo weeks ago. These do look lovely – A.M. knows her sweet stuff. Happy Valentine’s day Tim + Bryan! Love, Jamland
February 14th, 2015 at 8:22 am
Is there a difference between these and blintz? I love those and will probably love these too.
February 15th, 2015 at 11:50 am
These crepes sound so good! You have to love cheese-filled anything (or at least I do). I agree 100% re restaurants on Valentine’s Day. That’s why yesterday we just went to the taqueria for breakfast, and then hid in our house all night long. :)
February 17th, 2015 at 7:20 am
Going out on Valentine’s Day to me is for the birds–we did it a couple of times too when my husband and I first started dating and the last time we did it, we were at this tiny BYOB and the only other group near us was comprised of single women all dressed in black pounding wine and giving us dirty looks. Ever since then we’ve ditched the restaurant and just make a special dinner at home.
Crepes have been on my list of things to make in the near future, so clearly I need to try these as soon as possible.
February 22nd, 2015 at 4:27 pm
Loved this post. Thank you for all the Detroit recommendations. We live in San Francisco but spend every summer at the lake in Michigan. Will use your recommendations for a fun side trip to Detroit and Ann Arbor. Also, I wanted to tell you that your corn bread is the absolute best. I enjoy your blog so much. Merci bien!
Eva Dewitz says:
February 28th, 2015 at 6:56 pm
couldn’t agree more – never go out to eat on any holiday…These crepes sound delicious since cheese in dessert is always a draw. I fell in love with cheese flan for dessert while in Madrid but have yet to find the perfect recipe…
March 4th, 2015 at 1:44 pm
These look lovely. I too am excited about cheesy desserts so will have to give these a try!
March 6th, 2015 at 3:32 pm
Oh those crêpes do look lovely! But (sorry that there is a “but”) that’s just not how you make crêpe batter at all. You don’t throw the ingredients in a food processor, and you just don’t pour the batter through a mesh strainer to press through the lumps. I mean, sure you can do all that and still get crêpes in the end, but to me that’s quite a funny way to get there … What I am trying to say is: I believe there is an easier and perhaps more natural approach to this. Combine wet ingredients in that pitcher (or any bowl, really) using a whisk, and then slowly add dry ingredients and incorporate them into the batter using the whisk. Stir/whisk until all lumps are gone. Let the batter rest and proceed with recipe.
February 27th, 2016 at 12:08 pm
hmm, i made these crepes last night and they were a wet, sloppy mess. granted i did use an immersion blender instead of a traditional one, but i can’t imagine how that would make that much of a difference. i ended up adding 1/2 cup flour and 1 tbsp melted butter more, blend, and rest for another hour, which did the trick.