Berry and Mascarpone Blintzes for a Special Mother’s Day Brunch

For my family, crepes mean it’s a special occasion. A holiday morning, an anniversary brunch, or company is over. Crepes elevate breakfast or brunch to something a little more elegant.

Blintzes are crepes that are a touch more fancy. The extra step of filling and baking the crepes truly make them a special meal. And the steps used to make these can involve the whole family, so kids will really feel like they’ve had a hand in making a treat for mom on Mother’s Day. There’s beating the batter,  chopping the berries, mixing the filling, or even wrapping and folding the crepes.  Make it a true family affair to share and enjoy.

The berries, with a hint of mint or thyme (this may be omitted if children are too young) combine perfectly with the luxurious and velvety Mascarpone. Mascarpone makes every recipe an indulgent experience.  Any other time, if you’d prefer, you could choose to use Ricotta, but for a special brunch, Mother’s Day treat or special times, go all out and use this wonderful Mascarpone by Tre Stelle!

Final touch – a drizzle of macerated berries on top is fresh and full of colour. Visually impressive, and a treat for the taste buds!

Feeds 4 (12 blintzes or 3 each)

Crepe Batter

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tbsp. sugar

1/8 tsp salt

3 eggs

1 1/2 cups milk

Zest from one lemon (save the lemon for the rest of the recipe)

2 tbsp. canola oil

 

  • Whisk the flour, sugar and salt together in a small bowl
  • In a medium bowl lightly beat the eggs.
  • Alternating flour mixture and milk, add by the 1/2 cup to the eggs. Mix thoroughly before adding the next portion. Once completely blended together, add the lemon zest and blend some more. Add the canola oil, and blend well. The final batter should be the consistency of heavy cream. Let the batter rest for at least 1 hour, covered, on the counter.
  • Heat a 6-8 inch shallow pan (ideally a crepe pan) over medium heat. Have canola oil ready to grease the pan with. Add enough to coat the bottom of the heated pan.
  • Lifting the pan from the heat, add enough batter to coat the entire bottom, swirling it around (but don’t add any more than that- you don’t want them thick)
  • Place pan burner and cook for about 40 seconds, or until the edges are cooked through and dry. Using a small spatula, slide it under the crepe all the way around to loosen. Flip and civil the other side till just golden.
  • Place on a plate.
  • Add a little oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Repeat until all the batter is used up. You should get between12-14 or more (depending on the size of your pan) set aside.

 

Berry Topping

2.5-3 cups of fresh berries, chopped if larger (it can be a combo of strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, currants etc)

2/3-3/4 cup granulated sugar

3 tbsp. fresh chopped mint (or combo of mint and thyme)

3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice.

 

  • Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, except for the lemon juice. Set aside. The sugars will draw out the berry juices. This will turn into a lovely sauce. Just before serving, add the lemon juice, 1 tbsp. at a time till you achieve freshness to the sauce that you like.

 

Mascarpone Filling

400 grams of Tre Stelle Mascarpone cheese

1 cup fresh chopped berries (use what is in season, almost any fruit can work!)

1/3-1/2 cup icing sugar (you decide how sweet you want it!)

3 tbsp. fresh chopped mint (you could also use thyme or a combination)

2-3 tbsp. lemon juice (just to thin it out a touch, what you need may be affected by the berries you choose)

 

  • Mix all filling ingredients together.

 

Prepare the blintzes:

 

  • Preheat the oven to 325F
  • Lightly grease the bottom of a large baking dish with some melted butter or canola oil
  • Take one crepe and place a small mound of the cheese mixture in the middle (about 2.5-3 tbsp.) Fold two sides in. Then wrap the top and bottom in (you’ve created a little envelope or parcel). Place with folded edges on the bottom into the baking dish.
  • Repeat till you have made up all the blintzes. Lightly brush the tops with a bit more butter or oil.
  • Bake for about 10 minutes, or until warmed through.
  • Place three on a plate and spoon the fruit topping over them. You can also sprinkle everything with more icing sugar.

 

 

Tropical Strawberry and Cream French Toast Bake

It’s Mothers day this month so why not treat all the moms out there to a beautiful brunch that includes a Tropical Strawberry and Cream French Toast Bake.  Easily prepared ahead of time, this French toast bake is sure to please your guests!

Mascarpone3Brunch is one of my favourite meals. Going out for breakfast usually means waking up early in order to get a table at a restaurant. Brunch, on the other hand, is usually enjoyed closer to noon (and means I get to sleep in). Honestly, that is all I want for Mother’s Day this year – a relaxing day with my family.

I prefer hosting brunch at home. It’s a nice way to have family and friends gather together while providing a comfortable setting. With the weather warming up we may even take our brunch outdoor this year and set up on the patio!

A number of brunch items can be prepared in advance and simply heated or quickly assembled the next day. This tropical strawberry and cream cheese French toast bake is very easy to make and is best if left overnight in the fridge to set up. I’ve made quite a number of French toast versions over the years when hosting Mother’s Day or other holiday brunches, but this one is right up there as one of my favourite combinations. To create a tropical taste, I’ve combined Tre Stelle® Mascarpone cheese with cream of coconut as part of the cream layer. Mascarpone is a rich triple crème related to cream cheese and Ricotta. It’s soft and spreadable making it a perfect addition to breakfast, dinner and dessert. Fresh or frozen berries can be used in this dish and don’t be afraid to change it up. There are a number of mixed berry or tropical fruit blends available.

Mascarpone2Here are some helpful tips for planning a relaxing Mother’s Day brunch at home:

Include a variety of items both sweet and savoury. Choose two or three main casserole style dishes that can be made ahead of time. Hash brown casseroles, quiche and French toast bakes are great options.

Set the table the night before and have serving dishes and utensils ready. Have the kids help. It is Mother’s Day after all – don’t try to do everything yourself. Guests are often more than willing to bring a fruit or vegetable tray along which will help minimize preparation and ensure a variety of food items at the table.

Have a cocktail ready to offer. Mimosas can be set up as self serve with fresh berries as garnish or a large pitcher of sangria can be made ahead of time. Don’t forget to offer a non-alcoholic beverage as well!

Plan ahead. The last thing you’ll want to do is run to the store last minute. Make an ingredient list and double check the pantry and fridge.

Finally, fresh flower arrangements as take-home gifts for all mothers in attendance are always a nice touch.

Mascarpone1Strawberries and Cream French Toast Bake

 Ingredients

1 loaf of French bread
8 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup light cream
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup Tre Stelle® Mascarpone Cheese
1/4 cup cream of coconut
2 cups frozen, sliced strawberries
Powdered sugar and whipping cream to serve

Directions

Slice the loaf of French bread into large cubes. Set them aside while you prepare the filling.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, light cream, milk and vanilla extract.
In a separate bowl, combine the Mascarpone cheese and cream of coconut until smooth.
Layer half of the French bread cubes in a large oven proof casserole dish.
Drop the Mascarpone and coconut mixture by tablespoon over the bread cubes, spreading the mixture evenly with the back of the spoon.
Place the strawberries over the cream in an even layer then top with the remaining bread cubes.
Evenly pour the egg mixture over top and cover the casserole dish with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate overnight for best results. The bread will soak up the liquid and be ready to bake in the morning.
In the morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and remove the casserole dish from the fridge.  Replace the plastic wrap with foil and bake the French toast covered for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking another 30 minutes.
Let the French toast sit for 10 minutes before serving.