Sunday, November 11, 2012

Of Chestnuts, Cranberries, and Cinnamon

I have always favored savory over sweet. When I was younger, I refused to eat cereal, pancakes, or any breakfast that was generously spiked with sugar. I never liked juice or soda and always preferred water. In other words, I was an unusual child. Aside from sneaking into the school kitchen with my friends to steal sugar cubes, I have never been familiar with what it means to have a sweet tooth- besides I only really took part in the raids for the thrill of doing something forbidden.

It is kind of ironic that I declare myself "not a sugar person" when the majority of the recipes that I post on my blog fit into the sweet category. I just tend to lean towards baked goods and such because I find there is a lot more you can do with them artistically, which makes for more interesting photos.

But all this being said, I cannot deny that I have always loved the occasional crepe for breakfast. Even when I refused pancakes, crepes were an exception.

When we lived in the city, my mom and I used to walk down to the farmer's market early every Saturday morning. There was hardly anyone there, and I was always excited to be the first one at the crepe cart. I would anxiously await the lovely thin golden cake, warm off the skillet, stuffed with whipped cream and fresh raspberries or cherries.

Sadly, the cart stopped coming to the market, and my only other crepe destination to be had was a little corner side French bakery in Santa Fe. Obviously I can no longer eat the crepes at the bakery, since they are traditionally made with wheat flour. I was so excited when I saw this recipe for crepes on the back of a bag of chestnut flour in the grocery store. It was my first time making crepes and the first time I have tried chestnuts. Now I am hooked on both :) I look forward to a future endeavour of making a hundred layer crepe cake...

One thing that I always try to do in my cooking and baking, is incorporate a variety of spices and fresh herbs. I have decided that in the future if I do not have the space or capability of a full scale garden, I will just have boxes and boxes of herbs. Yes, it appears I will be an herb hoarder. 

The aroma of each type brings me back to a place, a moment, an occasion. For me, rosemary is particularly reminiscent of November, especially paired with cranberries. The same goes for spices, like cinnamon, which I swirled into the creamy ricotta mascarpone mixture used to fold into the crepes.  

Maybe I do have a sweet tooth after all :) 

Italian Chestnut Flour Crepes (GF)
serves 6 to 8

For Crepes:

2 cups Italian Chestnut Flour, sifted
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1 egg
1 tablespoon melted butter, plus more for greasing
1/4 teaspoon salt

For Filling:

1 cup fresh ricotta
1 cup mascarpone
2 teaspoons cinnamon

1. Whisk together the flour, milk, water, egg, melted butter, and salt, in a medium sized bowl. Let stand for 20 minutes.
2. Heat a heavy skillet over high heat. Brush the skillet with a thin layer of melted butter. Pour 1/3 cup of batter in the skillet and swirl batter until the surface of the skillet is covered. 
3. Cook crepe until its surface is dry and its bottom is golden (about 1 minute). Flip crepe and cook other side until golden (again, about 1 minute). Repeat with remaining batter. Once all the crepes are made you may keep them stacked in a dishcloth to keep warm.
4. Whisk together the ricotta and mascarpone until smooth. Swirl in the cinnamon.
5. Fill each crepe with some of the cheese mixture, and fold. Top with blueberry cranberry compote or other sauce or fresh fruit.

Recipe for crepes from Dowd and Rogers

Blueberry Cranberry Compote with Rosemary
serves 6 to 8

2 cups frozen blueberries
2 cups fresh cranberries
2 tablespoons sugar
juice of 2 clementines
1 sprig of rosemary

1. In a medium saucepan, mix together blueberries, cranberries, 1 tablespoon of sugar, clementine juice, and sprig of rosemary. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook until the cranberries pop and there is a good amount of berry juice extracted from the fruit.
2. Pour the berry compote through a fine mesh strainer and transfer the juice back to the saucepan. Stir in 1 more tablespoon of sugar and bring the juice back to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until the juice has become a thicker sauce and has reduced to about half of its initial volume.
3. Turn off the heat and stir the berries back in. Remove the rosemary sprig, and serve warm over crepes, pancakes or waffles.

Recipe from the kitchen of Cirque du Souffle :)


  1. What beautiful photos. Now I have a craving for crepes and blueberry compote! Although I dont have gluten intolerance, I like to cook with healthy ingredients. Thank you!

    1. Thank you! I appreciate your comments and I hope you try making the crepes. They are actually quite simple.

  2. I have never used chestnut flour, but I LOVE pancakes, so i must try this one. Thank you for sharing!