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Killer Crespelle in the Desert

Killer Crespelle in the Desert

Pane Bianco, Chris Bianco's sandwich shop on North Central Avenue along the Valley Metro light rail line in Phoenix, does some mean sandwiches and, honestly, even better entrées. But the crespelle are the kind of dish that sends you to your kitchen trying to replicate them — delicate and delicious with whole basil leaf in the sauce — awesome. You get to sop all that great sauce with the free Bianco bread, a thin, hard crust with soft, airy give inside. And for these reasons this dish made my list of most memorable meals of 2011.

Click for more of the Most Memorable Meals of 2011.

Sweet Crespelle (Italian Crêpes)

Crespelle are paper-thin pancakes, the Italian equivalent of France's crêpes, and just like the French version, they can be either sweet or savory. This recipe is for simple, sweet crespelle that can be served with the topping or filling of your choice: Nutella, dark melted chocolate, fresh fruit such as strawberries or bananas, chestnut cream, mascarpone or ricotta cream, zabaglione, jam, etc.

To make this into a savory version, omit the sugar and alcohol and slightly increase the amount of salt. In that case, you can use any number of savory fillings for example, spinach and ricotta, the same filling that might be used for cannelloni.

Though the dish now has a certain aura of elegance to it, in the past these thin pancakes were considered poor people's food. The change came in 1895, when famed restauranteur Henri Carpentier, then a teenage assistant waiter at Montecarlo's Café de Paris, accidentally ruined pancakes meant for the Prince of Wales, Edward VIII. Edward suggested this delicious new preparation be named after his young friend, thereby creating Crêpes Suzette.

Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen

Spoon the ricotta into a large, fine-mesh sieve or a colander lined with a double thickness of cheesecloth or a basket-type coffee filter. Set the sieve over a bowl and cover the ricotta well with plastic wrap. Let the ricotta drain in the refrigerator at least overnight, or up to 24 hours. Discard the liquid in the bottom of the bowl.

Make the tomato sauce and the crepes or pasta squares. (The crepes may be made up to one day in advance the pasta squares up to several hours in advance.)

Whisk the eggs and salt together in a large bowl until foamy. Add the drained ricotta, the mozzarella cubes, ½ cup of the Parmigiano-Reggiano, the parsley, pepper and nutmeg. Stir well until blended.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Coat the bottom of each of two 13 x 9-inch baking pans (or any two pans into which the manicotti will fit comfortably) with ½ cup of the sauce. Working with one crepe or pasta square at a time, spoon 3 full tablespoons of the ricotta filling about 1 inch from the edge closest to you. Roll loosely into a cylinder, smoothing out the filling along the length of the tube as you roll.

Arrange the manicotti, seam side down and side-by-side, over the sauce in the baking pans. Spoon the remaining sauce over the manicotti and sprinkle them with the remaining ½ cup of the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Cover the baking dishes loosely with aluminum foil and poke the foil several times with a fork.

Bake 20 minutes. Uncover the dishes, scatter the grated mozzarella, if using, over the top of the manicotti and bake until the edges are bubbling and the cheese topping is golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Crespelle with Raisins

You will love this for dessert or just a snack&hellippillowy soft dough with raisins that is deep fried until golden beautiful then rolled in sugar while still warm. Yummy. Where my parents come from, we call these delicious treats &ldquocrespelle&rdquo while other regions of Italy call them &ldquozeppole&rdquo. People make them into different shapes and sizes so it&rsquos whatever you like or maybe just let the dough take on its own character as it cooks. There are several variations of crespelle or zeppole but we thought we would highlight this recipe that we have grown up with.

This isn&rsquot a difficult recipe but it goes much smoother if you have a helping hand when cooking them. The dough is quite soft and sticky so it helps to have one person putting the dough in the oil and another person turning them as they brown. They cook very quickly too so pay attention to the color & roll them in sugar while they are still warm! Be very careful&hellipthey are addicting!

One of our blog followers, Catherine, requested this recipe at the launch of our blog and we were happy to oblige and invited her to help out Nonna Caterina and Nonna Paola in making (and eating) them! Check out her video on our facebook page to see what she had to say about her experience!

Where we live here in Brantford, we have several cultural events and patron saint day celebrations throughout the year and often you will find these available during the festivities. It is quite a sight to see the assembly line of volunteer nonnas and nonnos preparing them! What&rsquos great about this recipe is that it makes quite a few depending on the size. They are best eaten the day they are made or can be wrapped properly in airtight food safe containers and frozen then reheated in the oven when needed. Go ahead and try making your own crespelle with raisins and let us know what you think!

Healthy Dessert Option #3: Rice Pudding

As the name suggests, this is a pudding that incorporates rice. Because the rice soaks up the ingredients, the result is a creamy masterpiece that no one will be able to resist. To make it healthy, all you have to do is substitute normal white rice for brown rice. The brown option is much healthier because it still has the bran and the germ, whereas as the white version doesn’t. What about the dairy products? Yep, you guessed it – go for almond milk! To make it extra delicious, don’t forget to add vanilla extract, cinnamon, and a small cup of sugar (or Splenda). All of these are tasty, but they hardly add to the calorie content. When you have all of the ingredients at hand, put them into a saucepan and simmer for thirty minutes. After half an hour, it’s ready to serve. Magnifico!

Public Domain image via

48 Delicious Crepe Fillings That Will Rule Your Sunday Brunch!

Savory or sweet, there are tons of ways to create the most perfect of crepes. Breakfast, lunch or dinnertime dessert, there’s also a variety of times to serve them. Today we’re focusing just on the insides though, and these 48 delicious crepe fillings will rule your Sunday brunch like no other!

1. Spinach, Basil, Chicken

Mother Rimmy serves up a delicious, savory crepe filled with spinach, basil and mushrooms. There’s a sprinkling of cheese there too.

2. Sweet Cream Cheese

Learn how to whip up some sweet cream cheese filling for your crepes. Then you can have a lot of fun with the toppings. Grab the recipes at Diana’s Dishes.

3. Steak, Spinach, Mushroom

Half Baked Harvest gives us another savory treat. Steak, spinach and mushrooms come together and delight.

4. Beer, Cinnamon, Chocolate

Over at Joann Eats Well With Others you’ll find a devine concoction of beer, pumpkin and delicious cinnamon. There’s a bit of chocolate in there too.

5. Peaches & Cream

Cooking Classy gives us a classic treat when it comes to crepe filling. Peaches and cream can ignite your summertime tastes.

6. Boston Cream Pie

Who doesn’t love a slice of Boston cream pie? Have your brunch time crepes inspired by the dessert and grab the details for it at The Girl Inspired.

7. Cinnamon Mascarpone

Tara’s Multicultural Table made pumpkin crepes and then filled them with something extra special. Cinnamon mascarpone cream can make quite the bite.

8. Orange Ricotta

Orange and ricotta cheese comes together to make quite the nice combination as well. Nutmeg Notebook will show us how!

9. Bischoff Cheesecake

The Gold Lining Girl whipped up some salted caramel crepes and stuffed them with Bischoff cheese filling … how delectable and mouth-drooling do they look?

10. Peanut Butter Mascarpone

The Gold Lining Girl has a great recipe for some peanut butter filling as well. This is a staple when it comes to crepe recipes so bookmark it!

11. Berries & Cream

Berries and cream is pretty classic as well. Check out LMLD to gather all the details and start testing it out in the kitchen.

12. Pear & Hazelnut

Over at Wright Family Table you’ll find a more unique filling recipe. We’re loving this pear and hazelnut recipe for some fall-inspired bites.

13. Blueberry Sauce & Honey Whipped Cream

Diet hood shows us how to whip up some honey whipped cream, and it tastes as good as it sounds, we promise. Follow the link now!

14. Monte Cristo

Check out Taste and Tell‘s version of a crepe Monte Cristo! Ham and cheese with some raspberries too, this one is brunch time royalty.

15. Turkey Pesto

For something a bit more savory and lunchtime-friendly, try out this recipe for turkey pesto fillings. Grab it all at Chef in Training.

16. Orange Whipped Cream

Cooking with Manali takes oranges and makes a refreshing whipping filling out it. Some powdered sugar or drizzle on top can set it off quite nicely.

17. Banana Cream

Over at Food, you’ll find something classic and sweetly refined in this banana cream filling. Top off with fresh bananas, more cream or even some chocolate!

18. Ricotta, Spinach, Bacon, Mushroom

These crepes are fitting for a dinner party! Find all the details on these creamy chicken and mushroom masterpieces over at BS’ in the Kitchen.

19. Tart Cream Cheese

Here’s another staple recipe you’ll want to have stashed away. Visit Ashlee Marie and learn how to make some tart cream cheese by the weekend.

20. Strawberry, Banana, Peanut Butter

Julia’s Album mixes up strawberries, bananas and peanut butter. It really is a great way to start off your Sunday morning!

21. Bailey’s Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

The Gold Lining Girl makes a Bailey’s chocolate chip filling that is just like a refined dessert, pardon those charming green velvet crepes – perfect for St. Patrick’s day!

22. Caramel & Bananas

Drizzle and Dip makes a bananas and caramel filling that’s just as satisfying as a bananas foster dessert! It’s a bit richer and more fun than other fillings.

23. Strawberry & Orange Cream

Sally’s Baking Addiction makes something quite light and refreshing as well. Hit up summertime breakfast with this strawberry and orange cream.

24. Nutella

Nutella is synonymous with crepes, so you have to figure out this recipe too. Check it all out at Pepper Bowl.

25. Strawberry S’mores

The Recipe Rebel takes s’mores, adds some fruit and creates an amazing and unique treat. Grab the recipe now and have your family filled up by this evening.

26. Maple Cream Cheese

104 Homestead makes some maple cream cheese crepe filling that sounds heavenly. Bananas or even some crispy bacon couple top these off nicely.

27. Greek Yogurt Cream

For something a bit healthy and with some added protein, check out Natasha’s Kitchen. She’s whipping up some greek yogurt filling and you can catch the recipe now.

28. Cherry Cheesecake

Check out The Recipe Rebel for my personal favorite filling recipe of the bunch. Turn those crepes into cherry cheesecake bits!

29. Chicken & Broccoli

Here’s another lunch or dinnertime special brought to us by Creations by Kara. Chicken, broccoli and a bit of cheese too can turn into quite the tasty meal.

30. Beef, Mushroom, Rice

Let the Baking Begin has a savory beef filling recipe that we’ll all want to try out. It’ll satisfy everyone at the table.

31. Cannoli

Personal, I love a good cannoli and turning your crepe into its inspiration sounds heavenly. Check this one out over at The Recipe Rebel.

32. Creamy Sausage

Foodily makes a savory, breakfast filling that has become the must-try at the top of my list. It’s a bit creamy too, making it even more indulgent.

33. Pumpkin Cheesecake

The Gold Lining Girl created the perfect fall bite as well. Pumpkin cheesecake in crepe form can be quite a nice break from duller meals.

34. Limoncello Cheese

Vikalinka knows how to set off some fresh blueberries. Limoncello cheese inside your crepes are a must try, grab the recipe now!

35. Ricotta & Smoked Salmon

Do we have any salmon lovers reading? Beaugureau Studios shows us how to fill our crepes with some of the fresh, popular fish.

36. Sweet Coconut Cardamom

eCurry gives us one of the more unique fillings. Coconut cream and cardamom crepes can make quite the impression on your guests.

37. Egg & Sausage

Tastefully Gluten Free is whipping up some great breakfast crepes for us to dive into. Eggs and sausage fill this one up quite nicely. c7c

38. Chicken & Chive

If you like stronger flavors then try out this recipe that includes some chives. Throw in some chicken too and follow along at The Worktop.

39. Taco Meat

Mel’s Kitchen Cafe whipped up some taco-inspired crepes and we’re loving them too. Top them off just like your favorite Mexican fare.

40. Matcha Ricotta

Recipe Runner turned Matcha into the right kind of bite too. Just don’t forget the ricotta cheese in this one.

41. Ham, Swiss, Honey Mustard

Check out Easy Lunch Recipes and learn how to put that leftover ham to good use. Add some cheese and honey mustard too!

42. Raspberry Cream Cheese

All Day I Dream About Food makes raspberry cream to fill up her crepes and we’re kind of loving this one too. Tart and fresh can make the more inspiring bites.

43. Lemon Cream

Fruit goes well with crepes. Lemon infused this recipe and, again, the freshness is what we’re drooling over at Pretty Pink Apron.

44. Egg, Ham, Cheese

Natasha’s Kitchen whips up the most perfect breakfast crepe as well. Eggs, ham and cheese … even the kiddos will dive into this one.

45. Strawberries & Cream Cheese

Crunchy Creamy Sweet mixes strawberries and cream cheese. It’s classic and it’s just another one that you’ll need to put in the recipe box.

46. Coffee Mascarpone Cream

Diet hood shows us how to wake up right. Coffee mascarpone cream is all you need to start your mornings off in a brighter, more delicious way.

47. Spinach, Artichoke, Brie

Half Baked Harvest makes a super indulgent and comforting bite as well. Brie, spinach and artichokes will satisfy everyone at the table.

48. Fruit Salsa

The Gunny Sack makes some fruit salsa that can fill up your breakfast or top off your pancakes. Follow the link and snag the recipe now.

Gracie, what an amazing collection of crepe ideas! Brunch, anyone.

Each of these recipes had me spinning off on other endless possibilities. I’m new to crepes so I’ve been reading about sweet, savory, French, different flours, wheat vs buckwheat, trying to figure out the crepe part first. I haven’t looked at all of these recipes yet, but each has it’s own crepe recipe. Have you experimented with different crepes? Any input?

Mascarpone Blue Cheese Crespelle with Pan Roasted Honey Crisp Apple Jam

An elegant dessert for sophisticated palates created by Chef Kristine Subido.

Recipe Ingredients:

Apple Jam:
6 honey crisp apples, peeled and diced
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup apple juice or cider
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and divided use, plus additional soft butter for baking pan
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
1 1/2 cups Wisconsin Mascarpone Cheese
1/2 cup Wisconsin Virgin Pine Native Blue or other Wisconsin Blue Cheese
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Powdered sugar for dusting

Cooking Directions:

  1. For Apple Jam: Combine apples, sugar, juice and vinegar in 3-quart heavy saucepan cook until apples start to break down. Reduce heat to low cook until soft and mixture thickens, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes. Keep warm.
  2. For Crespelle: In small bowl, whisk together the flour, eggs, 1 tablespoon melted butter and milk to form a smooth thin batter. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Heat small skillet or crêpe pan brush lightly with butter. Pour scant 1/4 cup batter into pan, tilting and rotating pan to evenly cover bottom in thin layer. Cook about 30 seconds, until golden brown on bottom. Transfer crêpe to plate cover loosely to keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter to yield 8 crêpes, placing waxed paper between crêpes.
  3. Final Preparation: Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
  4. In medium bowl, combine the Mascarpone, Blue Cheese and black pepper.
  5. Divide filling evenly among crêpes, spreading over and leaving 1/2 inch uncovered around edge. Fold crêpes into quarters to form triangles.
  6. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons butter in large heavy sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add crêpes in batches, browning on both sides. Place in buttered baking dish and warm in oven 3 to 5 minutes.
  7. Plate 2 crespelle on each plate. Top with apple jam and dust with powdered sugar. Reserve leftover apple jam for additional servings.

Recipe and photograph provided courtesy of Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Inc.

7 Killer S'mores-Inspired Desserts

Today we celebrate the greatest creation to ever come out of a camping trip: the s&rsquomore! While it&rsquos perfectly acceptable to keep things classic, we encourage you to think outside the campfire and try a gooey, chocolatey, s'mores-inspired dessert. Here, seven killer s'more innovations to make on National S&rsquomores Day!

Today we celebrate the greatest creation to ever come out of a camping trip: the s’more! While it’s perfectly acceptable to keep things classic, we encourage you to think outside the campfire and try a gooey, chocolatey, s&aposmores-inspired dessert. Here, seven killer s&aposmore innovations to make on National S’mores Day!

1. S’mores Pizzas
While baking these sweet flatbreads in the oven is easier, they&aposre also delicious grilled.

2. Semifreddo S’mores
Semifreddo, the luscious Italian dessert, is cold and creamy like ice cream but much simpler to make. Pastry chef Mathew Rice&aposs favorite is toasted marshmallow, which he serves with salted milk-chocolate sauce and graham crackers𠅊n homage to s&aposmores, and what he calls his "holy trinity."

3. S’mores Brownies
These fudgy gluten-free brownies are baked in a graham cracker crust, then topped with marshmallows and broiled.

4. Campfire Biscuit S’mores
This hearty twist on s&aposmores is made with chocolate-studded biscuits instead of graham crackers, along with tangy raspberry jam and smoky marshmallows.

5. S’mores Bars with Marshmallow Meringue
These crazy-delicious bars feature a salty, crunchy graham cracker crust topped with a rich chocolate filling and fluffy, light, marshmallowy meringue.

6. Peanut Butter Pound Cake S’mores
In this take on the campfire classic, crunchy graham crackers are replaced with buttery store-bought pound cake, sandwiched with marshmallow fluff and peanut butter, and served alongside a cup of warm melted chocolate for dipping.

7. Banana-Nutella S’mores
Here, milk-chocolate squares are swapped for luscious Nutella, giving these s’mores a rich hazelnut flavor.

25 Ways to Use Prosciutto

If bacon makes everything better, then prosciutto makes everything perfect. Having a bad day? Just whip out the prosciutto, wrap it around a chunk of mozzarella and put it on a baguette for a quick sandwich, or skip the vehicle and eat it straight up — either way, you will feel a thousand times better. It's the Italian version of chicken-soup-for-the-cranky-soul something about it is just calming and makes you feel like you're sitting at a cafe on a cobblestone street in Italy (even if you're standing in front of your fridge at 2 am). So what is prosciutto? It's a salt-cured, dry-aged Italian ham. Prosciutto is a bit on the salty side, but indulging on a semi-regular basis can't be that bad for you (this is what I tell myself when I self-medicate with cured meat).

Prosciutto di Parma is some of the best stuff because the process is so closely regulated in Parma, but I've tried some local NYC prosciuttos and they are catching up to the homeland. Ask your butcher for a taste before purchasing this stuff isn't cheap and you want to love whatever you get. If you're going to be cooking the prosciutto, ask for thicker slices (about 1/8 inch thick), but for everything else ask them to slice it as thin as possible — it should look like a beautiful meat stained-glass window — a delicate texture to pair with its delicate flavor. Get in touch with your inner Italian and mangia!

Manicotti Is the Greatest Recipe of All Time

You know those recipes we hold near and dear to our hearts because they are really the greatest ever of all time? Well, our Greatest Recipe of All Time series is where we wax poetic about them. Test kitchen manager Brad Leone's manicotti will soon become a classic in your Italian recipe repertoire. Here's why.

My dad makes this manicotti recipe every year for Christmas, and it’s a tradition that I always look forward to. We serve it (sauce on the side) as its own little course before salad, with meatballs and sausage! Yes, before salad.

Not only is the manicotti super delicious, but it gets the whole family in the kitchen, cooking together. And I'm not talking about boiling dried shells that you buy in the supermarket (though you can do that if you really have to). The pasta that we make is a traditional method similar to making crepes, that my father learned from his mother … and so on. It’s a very loose batter that leaves you with a tender and delicate round sheet used to wrap the filling. I have wonderful memories of my dad making these shells when I was a kid in New Jersey. He usually has 3 little nonstick skillets going, and like a one-man assembly line, he flips the crepes out onto the kitchen table that we’ve covered with towels for them to rest on. Back then, I wasn't allowed to touch them. When I was older, he finally showed me how it's done.

Are you ready? Start with 6 whole eggs and beat them with an electric mixer on high speed until they get really light and airy. The color will become light pale and the texture will be almost to the point of holding peaks this takes 6–8 minutes. You really want to beat the eggs well, as this will make for a lighter manicotti shell. Once that is achieved, reduce your mixer speed to low and add 1¼ cups flour and ½ teaspoon salt a scoop at a time. Beat until the flour is mixed in well and not clumpy. With your mixer still on low, slowly pour in 1½ cups water and beat until well incorporated. Let the batter rest for a couple of hours or even overnight, covered, in the fridge.

Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium heat and spray with nonstick spray. I use 2 Tbsp. batter per crepe, so pour that into the pan, then swirl the batter around to get an even, round shape. You have to work fast to shape the crepe, so swirl with confidence! Cooking time should be around 15–20 seconds. You only cook 1 side (never flip), and you’ll know it’s done when you carefully touch the top of the crepe in the pan and it’s not sticky. Keep in mind that making manicotti shells is like making pancakes—the first one or two aren’t the best. All good! It takes practice! Using a spatula, tap your perfected crepe out onto clean towels—whatever you do, do NOT stack them. Keep going until you’re out of batter (you should end up with a few extra, so pick the prettiest ones).

For the filling (which you can make a day ahead), place 1½ pounds ricotta, or “pot cheese,” as my dad calls it, in a large mixing bowl. Add 8 ounces grated mozzarella, 1 ounce grated Parm, and 2 egg yolks, then season with salt and pepper. Mix everything together really well. We always do half the batch with spinach, so at this point, I divide the batter in two and add chopped spinach to one batch. If you do take the spinach route, defrost a 10-ounce chopped spinach box and wring out as much water as you can in a rag or cheesecloth the drier, the better. If you want to make the whole batch spinach (not a bad idea at all), well . just use 2 packages of spinach.

To fill the manicotti, I use 2 Tbsp. filling per crepe. Spread the filling out in the center of the crepe as evenly as possible, making sure to go all the way to the ends. Roll the manicotti up it shouldn’t be round like a rod but more rectangular, with a flat-ish top and bottom, around an inch and a half wide. Lightly pat them with your hands as you place them in the pan to flatten them out. LIGHTLY! Place them in a rectangle-shaped baking dish lined with a nice base of homemade tomato sauce … or your favorite store-bought sauce, if you must. Leave a tiny little gap in between each manicotti. Top with more sauce and cover with foil. Bake in a 350° oven until everything is nice and bubbly, about 45 minutes.

Let the manicotti rest in the baking dish for 15 minutes or so. I do this because they are better when allowed to cool a little and set up. Drizzle the top with good olive oil and serve more sauce alongside. A little freshly ground black pepper and grated Parm on top never hurt either!

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