A festive take on a strawberry Crêpe.
My garden roses are blooming like crazy, and I’m always inspired by their fragrance to create something special in the kitchen. This year, I decided that since the strawberries are so wonderful, I would start there, with roses, their late spring friend, providing the accent.
People love crêpes, whether sweet or savory, and when you stack them up, you have something even more unique. I first made Julia Child’s Gateau de crêpes a la Florentine many years ago when our book club read “Julie and Julia” by Julie Powell. We had a lavish dinner the night of the discussion, and each of us made a dish from “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” It was quite a meal, and a supreme indulgence since most of us were watching fat and carbs and cholesterol.
Let’s try something different
I chose the crêpe dish simply because I’d never had anything like it before. Layers of crêpes filled with spinach and mushrooms and cheeses and cheesy sauce. It was beyond magnificent, and something I keep in the back of my mind. I used the crêpe tower technique for a couple other savory applications, and they were a big hit.
When I was thinking about making a rose-inspired dish, crepes came to mind, specifically strawberry crêpes, but I thought it would be fun to turn them into a dessert tower like Julia’s Florentine mountain.
But start with the basics
I used my mom’s basic crêpe recipe and resisted the usual urge to lighten it up and substitute just about everything (I did use soy milk since I had no other in the house). My twist was to add half a vanilla bean pod to both the crêpes and the cream, and the flavor was out of this world. I will always use the fresh bean now when making crêpes for a sweet dish. I also added a tablespoon of white sugar. The crêpes turned out tender, slightly sweet, and really delicious,
While I like growing old garden roses and species roses, a David Austin or hybrid tea will find its way in my garden every now and then.
But there are lots of swaps you can make. If you can’t have dairy, use soy or almond milk, any plant milk really. The whipped cream can easily be replaced with whipped coconut cream (which is what I used), or even a really creamy local non-fat Greek yoghurt like Green Mountain Creamery. When whipping, make sure to have the cream and the bowl and the beaters well chilled.
Consider the source
Always use rose petals from your garden or an organic garden if you plan to eat them. Florist roses are treated with any number of pesticides and fungicides, and you simply should not ingest them! Just leave the petals out if you don’t have an organic source, the rose water will easily fly solo.
Whether you are having a garden party or special brunch for two, this is all about the flavor and all about the pretty, so fuss with it a bit when you put it together.
Strawberry and Rose Crêpe Tower
The Crêpes (12 of them)
- 3 large, organic eggs
- ¾ cup milk of choice
- ½ cup water
- 1 tbsp. dark rum
- 3 tbsp. melted butter, cooled slightly
- Seeds from ½ plump vanilla bean
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup heavy cream or two 5.4 oz cans coconut cream, well chilled
- 1 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
- The other half of the vanilla bean
- ¼ to ½ tsp. rosewater
- 1 pint strawberries, sliced
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- ½ tsp. rosewater
- Rose petals and a few more strawberries to garnish
- A tbsp. pistachio, optional
Make the crêpes. In a blender, combine the eggs, milk, water, rum, and butter and process until blended. Add the seeds from half the vanilla bean, salt, sugar, and flour, and blend again. Refrigerate and let sit for an hour or even overnight. To remove the seeds from the vanilla bean, cut it in half lengthwise, then scrape out the seeds with the back of your knife, tapping the knife on the top of the blender after all the other ingredients are in there.
Prepare the strawberries: Slice them and place in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with the sugar, and set aside for a half hour along with the crepe batter.
Heat a small crêpe or non-stick sauté pan, about 6 inches in diameter, over medium high heat. Brush with a neutral oil and pour about 1 ½ ounces of the batter in the middle of the pan then ever so gently swirl to coat evenly. (I have a 1 1/2 ounce ladle, but this would translate into 3/4 of a 1/4 cup measure, or 3 tbsp.) Let this cook for a minute or so, until there is no shiny liquid look to the surface of the crepe. Turn and cook for another 30 seconds or so and turn onto a plate.
Continue cooking until all crêpes are made. You can go ahead and stack them on top of each other, they really won’t stick although everyone tells you they will. Just keep them covered with a tea towel so they don’t dry out. This should make about 14 crepes, 12 for the tower and two for the cook’s snack!
Make the cream: In a chilled bowl, whip chilled cream, sugar, vanilla bean seeds. Once whipped to your desired consistency, add a scant ¼ tsp. of the rose water. This is strong stuff, and too much will taste like perfume, so err on the side of caution. Mix well and taste, you can add a bit more rose water at this point if you like. I like it somewhere just shy of ½ tsp., no more, but everyone’s tastes are different.
To construct: Stack three crêpes on a pretty platter, spread with ¼ of the strawberries, making sure some make it to the edges. Add three more crepes and do the same as above, and repeat one more time.
Put the last three crepes on the tower and add the cream in the middle of the stack, arranging the strawberries around the edges. Sprinkle lavishly with rose petals, and a few chopped pistachios if you want some crunch.
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Member of Slow Food
Do you have take out? 🙂
Our take out today was eating in the back yard! When all this is over…
Gorgeous!!! And those roses! To die for.
Thank you! We have to have summer fun with food!
Thank you so much!
Very pretty, Dorothy and I am sure equally as delicious 🙂
Tyhanks for stopping by! It was as delicious as it was pretty!
Your result is beautiful to look at and I trust delicious to eat. I haven’t seen a meal plated with flowers on it in a long time. It immediately took me back to the 80s to a little hippie cafe that did that, much to my amazement and delight.
I use flowers a lot in playing because they are so cheerful, and it always delights my guests. It certainly must be a throwback to my old flower power hippie days!
This is definitely in the “too pretty to eat!” category, just gorgeous!! I need to get some vanilla beans, I know their flavor makes a huge difference, just beautiful Dorothy!
Thanks! It WAS too pretty to eat; but we still ate it anyway!
Oh my! I really want that.
I’ll save you a slice!
Oh my! This is almost too pretty to eat 🌹 😋 🍓
Using fresh vanilla bean is so much better and more flavourful…if only I can find it here more easily…🤪
It really does make a difference, and with the crepes, remarkably do. I buy mine in bulk on line because locally they are hideously expensive and often wimpy!
I’ll search for them online too 😉
You’re killing me! I don’t know whether I want to continue to stare at them or eat them. lol 🍃🍓
Oo la la!
You are definitely blessed with all the beauty around you.
We are lucky indeed to live in such a beautiful state. Thank you for stopping by!
So beautiful! I love how pretty the roses are around the crepe tower!
Thank you! They really did dress it up!
This dish really does look wonderful, Dorothy. I have never made crepes and didn’t realise they don’t have any flour in them.
Thanks Robbie, everyone loved it. The crepes do have flour, one cup for this recipe! Scared me for a minute, I thought I had left an important ingredient out!
Oh I love the idea of everyone bringing something for dinner for book club – in line with the theme of the book! We haven’t done that before, but I think we should definitely give it a go! What a lovely recipe, too. Perfect for summer!
It was definitely memorable and we should do it more often!
This is pretty 💗
Thank you for saying so! I thought it turned out pretty nice, almost hated to cut it. Almost…
I’m sure you will have your next beauty up on the plate 🤩
Thank you! It really was lots of fun to make, and to eat!
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