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Mar 20

13 (a, b and c) - crepe torte of your dreams

Ok, so I bet you haven’t actually dreamt of crepe tortes, and I bet many of you didn’t even know they existed. But they do, and they are fantastic, and you will now begin dreaming of them, I promise.

When I was in culinary school I had this wonderful motorcycle riding French instructor named Chef Pierre (naturally.) He had this wonderful accent - he called me “Em-ahhh-lee”, and taught me how to make red wine vinegar from a “vin-ee-gar mo-zare” (vinegar mother) and everyone laughed when he told us to grab a “shit” (sheet) pan. He told the best stories from working in restaurants in France to starting, running and then selling his French restaurant just outside of Chicago. I had him for two quarters of intro classes, my most loved and memorable times in culinary school.

He taught me so many valuable lessons that changed the way I think about food and cooking, but most importantly, he taught me how to make crepes. Crepes are one of those recipes that make a great base to a myriad of options. They are easy and delicious and versatile. You can eat them plain, you can make them sweet or savory, you can stuff them and fold them or roll them or, as Chef Pierre demonstrated to us in a test kitchen during a little field trip, you can layer them with delicious fillings to make a torte. I remember watching him make perfectly round delicate thin crepes and layer them with mayonnaise, shrimp, chopped egg and avocado, all the while thinking to myself, “What a great idea! You could do this with anything! It’s so pretty and impressive yet deceptively simple! I should make this all the time!” Then I promptly forgot about it and never made one myself. I made crepes from time to time, but never made a torte.

Until last week. When I made THREE. (Which explains why this is meal 13 a, b, and c.)

My friend Erielle came over last weekend with her son Owen for a lunch and playdate. Erielle has always been an inspiration to me in the kitchen - she introduced me to one of my favorite cookbooks of all time, and recently topped it by showing me an incredible savory baking cookbook, called, well, Savory Baking. I ordered my own copy while still at her house, inspired by the gorgeous photos and flavor combinations that made me say “Well, duh! Why didn’t I think of that?” We both marveled at the smoked salmon crepe torte on page 48, and I promised her, right then and there, that I would make it. Fast forward a week, and I did. After completely changing the fillings, of course.

Using what I had on hand, I made a mushroom and cream cheese mousse and a light chicken salad to layer in between the airy crepes, and garnished with a little spring onion for color. The results where so delicious I had to hide the leftovers from myself so I wouldn’t eat the rest of it as soon as she left.

A few days later I had a French themed playdate with Henry, and I offered to bring something to snack on. Then I sat there and couldn’t think of anything other than a crepe torte, which was perfect for the occasion anyway, so I made another one, this time with red anjou pears, rosemary, goat cheese and lemon.

THEN, I had a lovely get together with some lady friends of mine, for massages and wine and some noshing. Not for lack of ideas, but rather for the excitement I had to share my new obsession, I made a third crepe torte, a replica of the pear and goat cheese situation. And guess what? I’m still not sick of it yet!

The variations are endless, which is why a crepe torte is my new bread pudding, now a staple at brunch and also dessert. And though it takes some time, it’s as easy as un, deux, trois, I swear.

Chicken and Mushroom Crepe Torte
Adapted from Savory Baking
Serves 8

Crepes:

  • 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1-1/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted and cooled

Combine flours and salt. In a separate bowl combine eggs, milk and butter. Pour half of the wet into the dry, whisking until smooth, then add the rest of the wet and whisk until smooth and thin. Let the batter rest for 30 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

To make the crepes, take a 7” - 9” nonstick skillet (or a crepe pan, if you have one. I don’t) and place it over medium heat. Spray a wee bit of olive oil, then lift the pan off the heat and pour 1/4 cup of the batter into the middle of the pan, immediately swirling the pan to evenly distribute the batter across the bottom. This takes a little bit of practice, but like riding a bike, once you got it, you got it. Let it set for about a minute, until the top is set and the underside is ever so slightly golden. Flip it over with a rubber spatula and let it cook for another 10-15 seconds or so, just until the little flecks of wheat in the batter begins to toast, then slide it off onto a plate lined with parchment or a paper towel. Continue until all of the batter is used - you should end up with 11 crepes. Set them aside to cool.

Once you have made the fillings below, start to assemble your torte. Look through your crepes and pick the prettiest one for the top and set aside. Lay one crepe on a plate and spread 1/4 of your mushroom cheese filling evenly across. Layer another crepe, then 1/4 of your chicken filling. Layer another crepe then 1/4 more of your mushroom, etc etc. You should get 4 layers of each filling, with a few crepes leftover for taste testing/feeding to your kid/saving for later/insurance for any uneven or ripped crepes. Garnish with sliced spring onion.

Mushroom filling:

  • 2 cups crimini mushrooms, washed and quartered
  • 1 small shallot, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp fresh or 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 6 oz cream cheese (low fat is fine, if you feel it is necessary)
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

Saute the mushrooms over medium high heat in the olive oil and butter, adding the shallots about halfway through cooking, when the mushrooms are soft and just starting to caramelize. Once all of the liquid is evaporated, deglaze the pan with the white wine, cooking until it has all evaporated. Add the thyme and cook for about a minute more, stirring to avoid burning. Set aside to cool.

Combine the cream cheese, milk and cooled mushrooms in a food processor and pulse until thoroughly combined into a creamy mushroom paste. Taste for salt and pepper, and set aside.

Chicken filling:

  • 2 cups cooked chicken, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1-1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp chopped scallion
  • zest of one lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients. Set aside.

Pear, Rosemary and Goat Cheese Crepe Torte
Adapted from Savory Baking
Serves 8

Same crepe recipe and directions as above, except when layering, spread each crepe with a layer of the cheese mixture then top with pears, so every layer has cheese and pears. Top with your rosemary sugar and enjoy!

Pear filling:

  • 3 ripe pears (I used red anjou), thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp fresh rosemary, finely minced

Toss pears with sugar and rosemary and let sit for 20-30 minutes. (If your pears aren’t as ripe as you like, you can saute them over high heat with the sugar and rosemary until they are soft, remove them and drain them, and reduce the liquid down to a thick glaze to toss back with the pears.)

Goat cheese filling:

  • 6 oz goat cheese
  • 3 oz cream cheese
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp milk

Combine ingredients in your food processor. Set aside.

Topping:

  • 1/2 tsp rosemary, finely minced
  • 1 tsp sugar

Combine and let sit 20-30 minutes.


  1. 52meals posted this