buckwheat crepes, strawberries, chocolate

buckwheat crepes with olive oil marinated strawberries and chocolate sauce

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.

strawberries in olive oil

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.

buckwheat crepes, olive oil marinated strawberries, chocolate sauce

buckwheat crepes with strawberries and chocolate sauce

Yield: makes about 8 crepes

Ingredients

    Chocolate Sauce:
  • 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
  • Crepes
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup buckwheat flour
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. Combine the strawberries, sugar and olive oil and let stand 10 minutes or so while making the crepes.
  4. Heat an 8-inch nonstick pan over medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles instantly on the surface.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Serve crepes topped with strawberries and warm chocolate sauce.

Notes

Crepe recipe adapted from 1997 Joy of Cooking

http://familystylefood.com/2013/04/buckwheat-crepes-strawberries-chocolate/

Strawberry Mascarpone Crostata

Strawberry Mascarpone Tart

I don’t have a huge sweet tooth, but I’m in love with this dessert; strawberries piled on top of a simple Italian-style crostata. It has a creamy vanilla mascarpone cheesecake filling baked into pasta frolla, a crumbly, shortbread-like cookie crust.

strawberry mascarpone crostata

Any kind of seasonal fruit would be delicious on this tart. I’m thinking lightly sweetened berries, figs, peaches or nectarines in the summer and sauteed apples, pears or poached dried fruit during fall and winter.

strawberry mascarpone crostata

Strawberry Mascarpone Crostata

Serving Size: 8 servings

Ingredients

    For crust:
  • 2 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 ½ sticks (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • For filling:
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 quart strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • Sugar to taste

Instructions

  1. To make the crust, pulse the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a food processor 3 or 4 times to blend; scatter the butter over the flour and process until the mixture looks sandy and you can’t see any butter chunks.
  2. Whisk together the egg, yolk and milk; add to the flour mixture and pulse a few times until the dough just begins to come together (but not until the mixture forms a ball over the blade which will toughen the dough). Add some ice water drop by drop if it seems dry. Remove the dough from the workbowl and knead it gently to form a ball. Flatten it into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator about 1 hour until firm but not hard. If the dough gets too cold and seems hard, leave it out for 15 minutes until it’s workable.
  3. Lightly dust the dough with flour and put it on a lightly floured surface (a smooth countertop is ideal). Cover with a large piece of plastic wrap or parchment and roll the dough out to a 12-inch diameter circle. Carefully peel off the plastic wrap, roll the dough onto the rolling pin and unroll over a 9-inch round or square tart pan. Press the dough into the pan and up the sides, trimming the top edges of the dough flush with the pan by running the rolling pin over the top. Put the pan into the refrigerator to chill while you make the filling.
  4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  5. Beat the mascarpone, yogurt, eggs, vanilla bean, sugar, flour and salt in an electric mixer or by hand with a whisk until smooth. Scrape into the tart pan, place the plan on a baking sheet and bake until the filling no longer jiggles in the center, 35 – 40 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack then place in the refrigerator to chill 2 – 4 hours.
  6. Just before serving, toss the strawberries with sugar to taste and either arrange over the top of the tart or pile them up for a more rustic presentation
http://familystylefood.com/2012/05/strawberry-mascarpone-crostata/

Strawberry and Cream Trifle

When a gorgeous slice of cake appears in front of you, tall and gloriously layered, which part is your fork most attracted to?

Much like preferring certain parts of a chicken over others – I’m a thigh girl, in case you’re wondering – I’ve noticed how people like to eat their cake. Some people avoid extraneous fluff, frosting or filling and zero in on their prize: the cake; while others are happy to precisely scrape away and devour only the layers of icing, leaving naked, golden cake all alone on the plate, like Beyoncè after she’s stripped off a pink satin dress at the end of the day.

It must be a trait we carry throughout our lifetime, because it’s not only children who seem to have this compulsion. I know a few adults who would gladly mutilate a harmless cake just to get at the neon-colored icing.

I place myself in the democratic camp; I get some of everything when I dig in to dessert; a bite of moist cake, the crush of sweet juicy fruit, and a lashing of vanilla-scented cream. That’s why I think trifle is such a perfect dessert: It’s cake deconstructed and put back together.

For this trifle recipe, I baked a sponge cake from pastry chef David Lebovitz’s new book Ready for Dessert. It’s super-easy to make and even better made ahead of time – like the day before assembling the trifle. But to keep things extra-simple, a store-bought angel food cake would work just as well.

And – ssshhh – maybe even better, since you can take credit for serving a simply stunning dessert for Mother’s Day (or any day) without having to turn on the oven.

Strawberry and Cream Trifle

Serving Size: serves 4

Ingredients

    For sponge cake:
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups cake flour, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Grated zest of a lemon or orange
  • For Trifle:
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 cups crème fraiche
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split with sharp knife and seeds scraped
  • Juice from one large lemon or orange
  • 4 cups mixed hulled and sliced strawberries and raspberries

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter the bottom of a rimmed 12 x 18-inch baking sheet or a 9-inch springform pan with sides at least 2 inches high. Line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whip the egg yolks and water on high speed for 1 minute. Decrease speed to medium, add sugar and vanilla then increase speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture forms a ribbon when the whip is lifted, about 5 minutes. Scrape the batter into another bowl, and wash the bowl and beater.
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt over the beaten yolks. Gently fold in the flour until completely incorporated.
  4. Whip the egg whites and zest in the clean bowl on high speed until they form stiff peaks. Fold one-third of the whites into the yolk batter to lighten, then fold in the remaining whites.
  5. Pour batter into the prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Bake until the cake is lightly browned and the center springs back when gently pressed, 15 – 18 minutes in a baking sheet or 40 – 45 minutes in a springform cake pan.
  6. Let cake cool in the pan. Run a knife around the sides of cake to loosen and invert onto a cutting board.
  7. Whisk ½ cup sugar with the crème fraiche, cream and vanilla bean seeds in a medium bowl until smooth.
  8. In another bowl, whisk the remaining ¼ cup sugar with lemon or orange juice to dissolve. Gently stir in the berries. Let the berries sit 10 minutes.
  9. To assemble the trifle, cut the cake into circles to fit into 4 wide, shallow glasses. You can use ramekins, dessert bowls or go all out and use a special trifle bowl if you have one, just cut the cake into pieces to fit.
  10. Layer cake, berries and cream into whatever serving container you’re using, ending with berries on top. Refrigerate 30 minutes to one hour before serving.
http://familystylefood.com/2010/05/strawberry-and-cream-trifle/