Today is the first full day of summer - hip! hip! hooray! Saskatchewan summers are terribly short, so the thing is to make the most of them because before you know it we'll be bundled up in parkas again. There's so much to love about right now, this time, this place. My yard is bursting into colour and the most dramatic Oriental Poppies are beginning to open so like a total dork I stare at them constantly. I know their moment to shine is fleeting so I'm savouring their beauty while I can. There's a lesson in that, right there, which isn't lost on me. The next 90 days will be jam-packed with bonfires, star gazing, picnics, ice cold beers, pool side margaritas, outdoor concerts, garden goodness, bare feet, sunburns, strappy sandals & sundresses, (old) friendly faces, ice cream and more ice cream, wishes on shooting stars, road trips, skinny dips(?), sand between toes, kids blowing bubbles, hammock afternoons and lots and lots of BBQ. So much to look forward to I can't stand it.
Know what else I'm loving these day? These crepes. Yes. I. Am. The timing is perfect because my rhubarb plant is kind of going crazy right now, back there in the far corner of my garden and I better get at chopping it down and making the most of its deliciousness before it's too late. Like Donny and Marie, Burt and Ernie, Simon and Garfunkel, Brad and Angelina, Hall and Oates, Vodka and Tonic, Bacon and Everything, Strawberry and Rhubarb are best friends and their delicious combination is only made better by the creamy cheesy addition of mascarpone. Holy cow people. Holy cow.
Crepes are one of my favourite things in the whole world and every time I make them I wonder why I don't make them more often. They may take a little longer, but honestly not that much longer than pancakes, and they look just so much sexier. You have to make one at a time. No big deal. You have to stand at the stove, wait a couple of minutes and flip them quickly. No biggie, just have a coffee beside you and a good song on the cassette deck. There was something almost meditative as I made my small batch of crepes. Pour, swirl, flip. Birds were chirping and I was listening to Beautiful Day. Indeed.
For the compote, all you do is simmer some strawberries and rhubarb, a little lemon zest, and sugar. Easy, right? Leftovers go great on granola and yogurt in the morning. Do it.
Grab your prettiest plates and spread your lovely crepes with the mascarpone filling, and the compote. Fold over, drizzle with more sauce and make them totally fancy by dusting with icing sugar. No need to just reserve these beauties for breakfast or brunch. My handsome man and I ate these for dessert while he watched his first episode of Coronation Street with me. That's right. And he never fell asleep either nor did he flip the channel during commercials. So sweet, my K is. If this is how my summer begins, I never want it to end.
Strawberry, Rhubarb & Mascarpone Crepes
This recipe will make roughly enough for 14 crepes. If that's too much, then divide everything (compote, mascarpone filling and crepe ingredients) in the recipe by half, though it's not such a bad idea to have crepes in the fridge for a few days...
2 1/2 cups fresh rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and cut in half
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp lemon zest
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
2 tsp granulated sugar
1 cup 2% milk
1 cup water
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
4 tbsp canola oil
icing sugar, for garnish
To make compote, combine all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
For the mascarpone filling, place the cream and vanilla in the bowl of mixer and beat on high until soft peaks form. Turn the speed down to medium and drop the mascarpone in one spoonful at a time, beating well after each addition. On the last addition, add the sugar. Beat to combine. If there are a few lumps, it's seriously not the end of the world. Set the filling aside while you make your crepes...
In a large bowl, add the milk, water and eggs. Beat well. Add the flour, a couple of tbsp at a time, whisking well after each addition (this will prevent lumps in your crepes. It takes a bit of time, but quite necessary!). Once all of the flour has been whisked into the batter, add the salt, melted butter, nutmeg and vanilla. Whisk well. Preheat your crepe pan, or just a nonstick frying pan will work well too. Add a little canola oil and swirl to coat the pan. Over medium-high heat, drop 1/4 cup of batter into the pan, swirling pan to spread the batter. Don't worry if it doesn't spread to the edge of your pan - mine didn't. Cook 2 minutes on one side, then flip, and cook 1 minute more. Flip onto a dinner plate and repeat the process. To serve, spread crepes with compote and mascarpone filling. Fold, and shake over some icing sugar for garnish. Magnificent stuff.