I was planning to experiment with more Marcella Hazan recipes this week – she’s become like my fairy godmother for cooking inspiration lately.
At some point I will continue with my original thought, which was to make Marcella’s crespelle, the Italian version of crepes. They’re usually served as a savory meal, layered and stacked into cakes along with cheese, vegetables, meat and other delicious things.
But…I was temporarily distracted after seeing the chocolate pound cake that Laura recently posted on her lovely dessert blog Tutti Dolci. I decided to join the April Chocolate Party hosted by Roxana instead.
So here’s what happened to those crespelle – they turned into buttermilk buckwheat crepes with warm chocolate sauce (this month’s Party theme is chocolate and buttermilk).
Now that strawberries are popping up, I had to include them in what I hope is a long, sweet and “fruitful” season.
Does it seem strange to marinate berries in olive oil? I was inspired while in San Francisco recently, where I had a strawberry brushetta drizzled with it. I think really good oil tastes just right drizzled on ripe fruit, and now look forward to trying all kinds of combinations.
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup sifted cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon sea salt
2 ounces chopped dark or semisweet chocolate
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup water
½ cup buckwheat flour
½ cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons melted butter, plus more for pan
1 teaspoon sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
1 quart fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 tablespoons raw, turbinado or granulated sugar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil – from your best bottle
- To make the chocolate sauce, whisk sugar and water together in a small saucepan until dissolved. Bring to a simmer; add the cocoa and salt, whisking to blend. Remove from the heat; add chocolate and stir until melted and smooth. Cool to room temperature until thickened slightly, or refrigerate until cold (reheat before serving).
- Combine the buttermilk, water, flours, eggs, butter, sugar and salt in a blender until smooth, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the container to incorporate any flour sticking to the side and blend for a few more seconds to mix. Cover the container (or transfer to a bowl) and chill at least 1 hour or overnight.
- Combine the strawberries, sugar and olive oil and let stand 10 minutes or so while making the crepes.
- Heat an 8-inch nonstick pan over medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles instantly on the surface.
- Brush the pan with some butter and add enough batter to thinly coat the bottom of the pan - 2 or 3 tablespoons; I use a small ladle - immediately tilting and swirling pan to make an even circle of batter.
- Cook the crepe until the bottom is set and light golden – you can shake the pan a little to see if it slides; if it does, it’s about ready to flip. Turn the crepe over gently with your fingers or small spatula and cook the other side for another minute or two.
- The first crepe is usually a practice one, but congratulations if yours comes out perfectly! Repeat the process with the rest of the batter, stacking crepes and layering with wax or parchment paper as you go.
- Serve crepes topped with strawberries and warm chocolate sauce.
Crepe recipe adapted from 1997 Joy of Cooking