I suddenly found myself thinking of crepes a few weeks ago. Really, my mind had wandered to manicotti, the Italian version of crepes. Most people don’t realize that manicotti are not made from pasta. The thin pasta-like wrap filled with ricotta cheese and topped with sauce is actually called a crespelle. The batter is simply eggs, milk and flour, and prepared in a blender.
Well, one thought led to another, and I wondered why not make a French crepe batter and use ricotta cheese in place of Gruyere. Still unsure of whether to make savory or sweet crepes, I decided to compromise and make a not too sweet pear filling. The sauce was easy enough, just some brown sugar, butter and fresh orange. I also took liberties with the batter, adding black pepper for a whisper of heat to contrast the creamy coolness of the ricotta. The resulting flavors were refreshing and light, and left me wondering if I should’ve added some praline walnuts for a crunchy topping. Guess I’ll just have to make them again to test that theory.
Pear and Ricotta Crepes with an orange brown sugar sauce
makes 8 to 10
Save time and prep the filling up to a day in advance. Just heat it gently in the microwave until the pears are warm and the juice is bubbly.
For the Filling:
2 pears, peeled
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup (1.65 ounces/46 grams) packed dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon (2 grams) sea salt
Juice and freshly grated zest from 1/2 an orange
1/2 cup fresh ricotta cheese, at room temperature
For the Savory Crepe Batter:
1 large egg
3/4 cup (6 ounces) milk
1/2 cup (70 grams) flour
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons melted butter, divided
- To prepare the filling, cut the pears in half and remove the core and seeds. Cut into ¼-inch thick slices.
- Heat a nonstick skillet over medium flame. Add butter, and swirl pan until it melts. Add the pears, brown sugar and salt. Saute, stirring occasionally, until the pears soften and sugar caramelizes. Add the orange zest and juice. Cook until bubbly, about one minute. Remove from heat (see headnote).
- To make the crepes, add the egg, milk flour, pepper, salt and 1 tablespoon of melted butter to the bowl of a blender. Blend until smooth, and there are no visible lumps. Heat an 8-inch nonstick skillet over medium flame. Using a heatproof silicon brush, use tiny a bit of the remaining melted butter to coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Pour enough batter into the skillet to thinly coat the bottom, a very scant ¼ cup. Once edges are crisp and air bubbles appear on top, flip and cook for 30 more seconds on the other side. Transfer to a plate and continue making crepes with the rest of the batter.
- To assemble the crepes, spread 1 tablespoon of ricotta over a crepe. Top with a heaping tablespoon of the sautéed pears. Fold crepe in half, and then in half again to make an offset triangle. Drizzle some of the orange brown sugar sauce over the top. Repeat with remaining crepes and filling.