This weekend I began experimenting and testing for the Pete & Gerry’s Heirloom Eggs Crepe Contest. I would have preferred to start earlier, but it’s difficult to find time when you have a full-time job and a million other projects going on simultaneously. Ideally, you would come up with a perfected recipe before making it for photos but, unfortunately, I don’t have that kind of time because the deadline for the contest is August 31! The Association of Food Bloggers will announce the winner.
Anyway, I started with a dessert crepe of Nutella and poached pear. I loved the concept—silky hazelnut chocolate spread rolled up with Barlett pears poached in apple juice, cinnamon, and a drop of vanilla. Doesn’t that sound heavenly? To make it more interesting, I added pear liqueur to the Nutella to enhance the pear flavor.
It never occurred to me that Nutella could seize. Because of the added ingredients in Nutella, I thought it would be stable enough to handle the liqueur. But no. It seized up on me and shrunk tight like World War II-era school paste. I had to put the bowl of Nutella on top of a pot of simmering water and stir, but it was so stiff that it stubbornly refused to melt. So I had to add some half-and-half and keep stirring. Finally, it smoothed out again. Obviously, this was a problem I would have to work out if I was going to use this recipe.
After spreading some Nutella over a crepe, I laid some poached pears, which I had sliced, over it and rolled it up. I piped some of the Nutella concoction over the top and sprinkled it with toasted almond slices.
As scrumptious as it was—what chocolate dish isn’t?—the pear was so delicate in flavor that the Nutella completely overwhelmed it, even with the liqueur. My tasters all agreed. I was disappointed because I really wanted this combination to work. But, alas, we have to accept it when our brilliant, amazing, fool-proof ideas don’t work.
Next, I tried my Peruvian concept. This worked out better, and having made my filling ahead of time, it was quick and easy to put together. Even the filling itself was quick and easy, and it can be refrigerated for several days. It was delicious on its own and I’m having it for lunch this week. I’ll hold off on the other dessert crepe for next time. For now, here’s my recipe for savory Peruvian Quinoa Crepes. I haven’t perfected my crepe recipe yet, so I don’t want to jump the gun and print that. For now, use any crepe recipe.
Peruvian Quinoa Crepes
1 quinoa, rinsed
2 cups vegetable broth or water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced red pepper
1 small chile, minced
1 cup diced potato (purple, if you can find them, or Yukon gold)
1 1/2 cup diced calabaza or butternut squash
3/4 cup diced tomato
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup finely chopped almonds, toasted*
1/4 cup minced cilantro
6 (10-inch) crepes (recipe to come)
1 avocado, diced
Cilantro sprigs for garnish
1. After you rinse the quinoa, drain well. Heat a medium saucepan; add the quinoa and toast over medium heat until quinoa is dry and starts to brown. Pour in the vegetable broth or water; bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, until liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Fluff the quinoa and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a wide skillet. Add onion, red pepper, and chile and saute until vegetables have softened. Add the potato, squash, tomato, garlic powder, and salt. Mix well and continue cooking until all vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir frequently. Mix in the almonds and cilantro and cook another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
3. Lay a crepe flat. Place 1 cup filling on one side of the crepe and roll it up. Place on a plate, sprinkle some paprika over it, and garnish with a few pieces of avocado and a cilantro sprig. Repeat with remaining crepes and filling.
* Spread the almonds out in a small frying pan and toast, shaking often, over medium heat until lightly browned. Or spread them out on a baking sheet and place them in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes; check frequently.