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I have a confession to make: Despite cold temperatures, I get a major jonesing for fresh, summer berries this time every year. Alas! Fresh berries are not in season, and I just won’t eat Driscoll’s boxed decimation of a berry.
Another confession: I’m sort of a seasonal food snob…there, I’ve said it!
Such snobbery means I mostly refuse to eat fruits and vegetables that aren’t “in season.” For instance, I don’t do tomatoes past the first frost (which used to happen in late September, but in our globally-warmed climate, I now score at least two extra months of heirloom toms). In a game of Me vs. The Environment, that would be Me: 1. Environment: nil.
And who can stomach corn on the cob unless the forecast boasts temperatures in the 80s and up? Most markets give up on peaches, plums, nectarines and other stone fruits come the winter weather. Just forget zucchini outside of summer’s sunshine; summer squash is awash in watery blandness when it’s not in peak season. As for winter squash—it’s gotta be cold outside to be any good. Can you even image roasting chicken and veg on a steamy August night? Roasted root vegetables in the summertime…now that’s just silly. But perhaps the worst unseasonable sin of all is eating pitiful, imported berries come ski season. I can usually make it through February, but my March my sheer love for a perfectly plump blueberry, a wonderfully ripe raspberry, or decadently dipped, chocolate–covered strawberries urges me to put my ideology aside and attempt berries in winter. Temptation trumps logic and I buy a fruit I know belongs to summer. Always, I am disappointed.
This is why, when thumbing through last December’s Issue of Food & Wine, I was stopped dead in my tracks when I saw a luscious photograph of crêpes filled with sweet yogurt and berries. Reading the recipe, I discovered that they’d pulled off this wintertime, very berry feat by using frozen raspberries and strawberry preserves. This got me thinking—I could curb my craving if I could get my hands on some flash frozen summer berries (without additives) and perfectly preserved, canned strawberries. Whole Foods to the rescue! They had the frozen goods, and I still had a jar of strawberry sauce leftover from my adventures in canning last summer.
I’ve been enjoying these summer berry crêpes all winter long and have even made some improvements to the recipe. For starters, I looked to winter’s crown jewel, citrus, for inspiration. I’ve replaced the average lemon with an anything-but Meyer lemon and added its zest to the crêpe batter. I’ve also blended honey and toasted pine nuts into the yogurt filling, and spiked the strawberry sauce with ginger marmalade.
A final confession: my Meyer Lemon Raspberry Crêpes are better than F&W’s!
Meyer Lemon Raspberry Crêpes (serves 1)
• 1 large Egg
• ½ cup Milk
• 1/3 cup all-purpose Flour
• 1 TB Butter
• 1 heaping TB Ginger Marmalade
• ¼ cup Strawberry Sauce
• ½ cup frozen Raspberries
• 1 Meyer Lemon (reserve juice & zest)
• 1 cup plain Greek Yogurt
• 1 TB Honey
• 1 TB Pine Nuts (toasted)
• Salt to Taste
Melt the butter in a 10” nonstick skillet. This recipe will make two 10” crêpes, or several smaller crêpes if you prefer tinier portions. If you’re multiplying the recipe and feeding a crowd, you can even make the crêpes in advance and stack them on top of each other, then rewarm them in a microwave oven for about 20 seconds when ready to serve.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg with half the milk and add a pinch of salt to taste. Then sift the flour and whisk it into the mixture until the batter is smooth. Whisk in the remaining milk, along with the Meyer lemon zest and melted butter; a thin layer of butter should remain in the bottom of the skillet to prevent the crêpes from sticking.
Now this is key: let the crêpe batter stand at room temperature for at least 20 minutes. While the batter is resting, make the sauce. In a small saucepan, combine the ginger marmalade, strawberry sauce (you can always substitute strawberry preserves or jam if you don’t have sauce on hand), frozen raspberries and 1 TB of Meyer lemon juice and cook over moderate heat until jammy—about 5 minutes. Season with salt to taste and cover to keep warm.
In another bowl, mix the yogurt, honey and toasted pine nuts. I would even throw in another dash of really good sea salt at this stage.
When the 20 minutes are up, reheat your nonstick skillet over moderate heat. Pour in a half the crêpe batter and immediately rotate the pan to evenly to coat. Cook the crêpe until lightly browned on the bottom, about 45 seconds, then flip the crêpe and cook until brown dots appear on the other side, about 15 seconds longer. Transfer the crêpe to a large baking plate covered with parchment paper. Continue making crêpes with the remaining batter, brushing the pan with extra butter as needed.
Spoon half the yogurt onto each crêpe and roll ‘em up. Transfer the rolled crêpes to a plate and spoon the summer berry sauce on top right before serving. Even though this recipe idea was stripped from the pages of Food & Wine, it wouldn’t be a true French dish if I didn’t wrap this recipe by saying, “bon appetit!”