Saturday, March 23, 2013

Party crepes two ways

Expecting special guests?  Of all the pancakes in the world, crepes are the ones that always say party to us. They take a while to pull together—fun in the kitchen!—but we were wanting to celebrate the release of The Christie Curse this month and we celebrate with food.

Of course, these crepes don’t need to be saved for special events or parties.  Aren’t you special enough?  


During this long winter MJ was looking for recipes with lots of lemon in them and these lemon crepes are fairly light and delicious enough for fussy eaters. Hubby is not a fussy eater so he was just over the moon. Have we mentioned how happy he is that Victoria Abbott is back at Mystery Lovers Kitchen?  Doesn’t even mind doing heaps of dishes.

So here’s a treat two ways, but you can use your favorite fillings in these crepes and be a hero on the home front.
The delicate crepes can be made the day before and refrigerated and that leaves you to make the filling and béchamel sauce on the day. Or you can make it all beforehand and assemble on the day. 

It’s always good to have options and it makes life easier.These aren’t diet fare by any means, although the recipe has been lightened up quite a bit. The lemon keeps the flavor.

Lemony crepes
2 large eggs
¾ cup of 1 % milk
¾ cup of water
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp sugar
2 tsp EVOO
1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh herbs – you pick!
Spray oil if that’s your choice or oil to brush the pan


Whisk the eggs, milk, water, salt, sugar and oil.  Sift in the flour and whisk again until just mixed. Don’t over mix or the crepes will be rubbery. If the batter’s lumpy, strain it into a bowl.  Stir in lemon and herbs.
Lightly spray a 6 or 7-inch crepe pan (or brush with oil) and heat over medium.  Off the direct heat, and all at once, add about 1/3 cup of batter or less, just enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Pour off excess. After the first crepe you’ll figure out the right amount for your pan. Cook until lightly browned on both sides, one to two minutes per side, turning with a spatula.

Stack the crepes. Spray or brush the pan with oil between each crepe. You can make them up to 24 hours ahead.

Creamy chicken and mushroom filling

2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
3 green onions, sliced fine
2 tablespoons parsley chopped fine
2 tbsp EVOO or butter
S & P
½ cup or so of Béchamel (recipe follows)

Sauté the green onions in the butter or oil over medium heat until nicely softened. Add mushroom and cook on medium low until nicely browned.

Add parsley, salt and pepper and chicken.  Stir in enough Béchamel sauce to make a creamy mixture.

Mushroom Filling (even people who don’t like mushrooms like this)

8 ounces mushrooms, finely chopped – pulse in food processor just enough to get small bits
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoons EVOO
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leafed parsley, kosher salt, fresh pepper, a pinch of fresh nutmeg
1 1/4 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
1 egg white
Sauté onion and garlic in EVOO until softened. Over medium heat add mushrooms and parsley and cook until all the liquid is absorbed. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Cool slightly and add ricotta and egg white.

Béchamel sauce

There are dozens of ways to make this – here’s one of my favorites.

3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons butter
1 ¾ cups 1 % milk
½ cup chicken stock (I freeze stock in muffin tins and then transfer to Ziploc freezer bags. Each stock ‘muffin’ is ½ cup) 
½ cup of any grated mild cheese or more to taste
2 tablespoons Parmesan
Salt and pepper
½ tsp Worchester sauce
1-2 tablespoons lemon
½ tsp paprika

In a saucepan melt the butter. Blend in flour and cook on medium heat for two minutes without browning. If you’re a purist, you bring the milk to a boil and then add, but I just add the milk and the stock and bring it just to a boil all together. Reduce heat and stir so it doesn’t burn. Add the cheese and stir until smooth. Add S & P, lemon, Worchester sauce and Parmesan.   Don’t worry if you have sauce left over after the crepes, it goes well on any vegetable.

Crepes should be pale side up. Add 3 to 4 tablespoon of filling. Roll the crepe into a tube. Lay tubes in a baking dish that has been lightly brushed with oil or sprayed.
You can keep this in the refrigerator for several hours ahead if you want to. Spoon the béchamel sauce over the crepes leaving the ends without sauce. Dust with paprika.

Preheat oven to 400. Bake about 20 minutes until puffed and bubbly.

Enjoy your crepes!  Your special guests will thank you! As you can see, our pooches got their party dresses on in the hope of getting their share.

And we also hope you enjoy The Christie Curse, the first in the new book collector series from Berkley is hot off the presses and getting great reviews. Of course, recipes are included!

Visit Victoria Abbott at You can sign up for the free e-newsletter and your name will be entered in a draw for a beautiful tote bag. Keep up on the news about The Sayers Swindle, second in the series.

Victoria Abbott is Victoria Maffini and Mary Jane Maffini. You can visit MJ at


  1. the crepes look delicious and the Christie Curse sounds interesting!

  2. Wow. This is absolutely the best, MJ! I love being able to make the crepes in advance. What a wonderful tip about freezing stock in a cupcake tin! Very clever. And your party guests are so cute in their dresses!


  3. Wonderful post, Victoria (MJ)! We have a lovely little French crepe stand in our Queens neighborhood with tasty offerings. Now you’ve given me a reason to try making them at home. Happy thanks for the delectable recipes -- and continued congrats on the success of The Christie Curse!

    ~ Cleo

  4. These sound encouragingly easy and delicious.
    The Christie Curse in patiently waiting on my TBR pile.

  5. Don't these sound just lovely and light and delish! Yum! Can't wait to read the Christie Curse. Also on my TBR pile. It's so huge...but I do get to read them all. I'm so lucky.


    Daryl / Avery