Food Resolutions: French Toast Crepes with Stewed Strawberries

Most think of brunch as something for friends or lovers, but it’s become a tradition I enjoy on weekend mornings. Usually, I make cinnamon rolls or doughnuts (or an omelet on the off chance I want something savory). However, I recently felt like trying something new; this recipe still has the right mix of delicious sweetness and complexity that takes it beyond an ordinary indulgence. As with all recipes, I simplified this one a bit. I omitted the lemon zest and used a teaspoon of vanilla extract rather than a vanilla pod. A note of caution: I recommend preparing the crepes to the egg-soaking point, and then putting them in the fridge so that you can complete the cooking as needed. They aren’t cloyingly sweet, but they are insanely rich and I wouldn’t recommend cooking more than two per person at a time.

French Toast Crepes with Stewed Strawberries

From Half-Baked Harvest. Find the original recipe here
Crepes
• 2 large eggs
• 3/4 cup milk (I use 2%)
• 1 cup flour
• 3 tablespoons butter
• 1/4 teaspoons salt
• 1/2 cup water
Assembling
• 1 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
• 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
• 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
• 4 whole eggs, divided
• 1/2 lemon, zest or more to your taste
• 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 1/2 cups milk
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
• pinch of salt
• butter, for the pan
Vanilla Stewed Strawberries
• 3 cups strawberries, quartered
• 2-4 tablespoons honey, depending on your tastes
• 1/4 cup water
• 1 vanilla bean, seed removed

Make the crepes:
Brown the butter by heating it in a small saucepan over medium heat and whisking until brown bits appear on the bottom, about 5-6 minutes. Immediately remove from heat and set aside. Combine all the remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor. Add the browned butter and pulse until well combined. Place the crepe batter in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. This allows the bubbles to subside so the crepes will be less likely to tear during cooking. The batter will keep for up to 48 hours.
Heat a 12 inch non-stick pan. Add butter or cooking spray to coat. Pour 1/3 cup of batter into the center of the pan and swirl to spread evenly. Cook for 30 seconds and flip. Cook for another 10 seconds and remove to the cutting board. Lay them out flat so they can cool. Continue until all batter is gone. Makes about 10 crepes.

Assemble the French Toast Crepes
In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, powdered sugar, 1 egg, lemon zest and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract until smooth. You may want to use a hand mixer for quicker mixing.
Lay a crepe flat on the counter and spread 1-2 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture on the lower 1/3 of the crepe. Roll the crepe up and place it in a 9×13 inch baking dish. Repeat with the remaining crepes and ricotta filling.
In a bowl whisk together the milk, 3 eggs, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, cinnamon (if using) and a pinch of salt. Pour the egg mixture over the crepes and turn the crepes so that all the egg mixture is covering the crepes. At this point, you can cover the dish and place it in the fridge overnight or continue on.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2-4 crepes to the skillet. Cook until bottoms are deep brown, 2 to 3 minutes, turn and repeat on the other side. I turned my crepes about 3 times per crepe. Divide the French Toast Crepes among plates and serve warm with the vanilla stewed strawberries (below).
Vanilla Stewed Strawberries
Add the strawberries, honey, water and vanilla bean seeds + the reserved pod to a medium size sauce pot. Place the pot on the stove over medium high heat and bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer for about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the strawberries, leaving the liquid in the pot. Bring the liquid to a boil and boil until it reduces to about 1/3 or 1/4 cup. Turn the heat off and add the strawberries. Serve warm with the crepes.

-Chloe

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