This time of year, when the markets are full of fragrant strawberries just begging for a touch of something rich and creamy, crespelles, Italian crepes with creamy filling and fresh strawberries, are the perfect treats. Everybody loves them as they are, but to make them extra special, and as a nod to the Italian flag, add some basil cut into thin ribbons (this is called chiffonade; see note). And remember: The First Rule of Pancakes applies here, too. The first few crepes may not come out that perfect.
Note: To make chiffonade: stack about five leaves of basil into a neat pile. With practice, you’ll be able to handle more at a time. Roll the leaves lengthwise into a fairly tight cigar shape. Use your sharpest knife to slice across the cigar into thin ribbons. Fluff the chiffonade with your fingertips to separate the ribbons. Serve, if you want with some homemade strawberry jam.
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup melted butter
¼ cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
3 cups milk
Additional melted butter as needed
In a mixing bowl combine the flour and sugar. Whisk the eggs and milk and fold in gradually using a rubber spatula, adding more milk if needed to help thin out the batter. The consistency should be just slightly thicker than that of heavy cream. Fold in the melted butter. Let it rest in the refrigerator for at least one hour to settle.
Heat a wide, shallow non-stick pan over medium heat and add about a tablespoon of the melted butter. Swirl it around to cover the entire surface of the pan. The pan is hot enough when the butter begins to sizzle.
Ladle about two ounces of the crepe batter and cover the bottom of the pan. When it is ready to turn the batter will not have any liquid left on top. Cook for about a minute, turn, and cook for another thirty seconds. Remove and let cool at room temperature. You can stack the crepes as you go.
Combine the ricotta cheese and mascarpone cheese and mix with a rubber spatula. Add sugar and cinnamon to taste.
Fresh sliced local strawberries
2 tsp confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp fresh basil cut into thin ribbons (chiffonade)
Fill the center of the crepe with the cannoli filling and roll. Spoon the strawberries over the crepe and dust with confectioner’s sugar and a few ribbons of basil. Fold the crepe over the filling and serve.