(Mound of Crêpes Filled with Cream Cheese and Spinach)
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child
The French can never fail to impress. Here comes another wonderful recipe from that fabulous culinary country. It is a great main course dish and very suitable for a dinner party as it is quite impressive. The original recipe calls for 24 6 ½-inch crêpes. Normally, I would have made the crêpes myself but my parents had already gotten store-bought crêpes, which are 10 inches in diameter. I was afraid the gâteau would be too short but it actually turned out nicely. Bon appétit!
(béchamel sauce with cheese)
- 5 tbsp flour
- 4 tbsp butter
- 2 ¾ cups boiling milk
- ½ tsp salt
- Pepper, to taste
- Nutmeg, to taste
- ¼ cup whipping cream
- 1 cup grated Gruyère cheese
- Cook the flour and butter slowly together in a 2-quart saucepan for 2 minutes until the butter melts completely without coloring.
- Off heat, beat in the boiling milk and seasonings. Boil, stirring, for 1 minute.
- Reduce to the simmer and stir in the cream by tablespoons. The sauce should be quite thick. Remove the sauce from the heat. Stir in all but 2 tablespoons of the cheese. Cover the top of the sauce with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming.
The Spinach Filling
- 1 ½ cups frozen spinach, thawed and drained
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup of the sauce Mornay (recipe above)
- Put the spinach and salt in a saucepan and stir to combine.
- Stir in ½ cup of the sauce Mornay.
- Cover and simmer slowly for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
The Cheese Filling
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- ½ cup of sauce Mornay (recipe above)
- 1 egg
- Mash the cream cheese in a mixing bowl with the seasonings.
- Beat in ½ cup of the sauce Mornay, and then the egg.
Forming and Baking the Gâteau
- 11 10-inch crêpes
- Cheese filling (recipe above)
- Spinach filling (recipe above)
- Sauce Mornay (recipe above)
- 2 tbsp Gruyère cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350F (177C)
- Grease a 12-inch round baking dish.
- Center a crêpe in the bottom of the baking dish. Spread it with a layer oc the cheese filling. Press another crêpe on top and spread it with a layer of the spinach filling. Continue with alternating layers of crêpes and filling, ending with a crêpe.
- Pour the remaining sauce Mornay over the top and sides of the gâteau. Sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons of cheese the remained from the sauce Mornay.
- Place the gâteau in the upper third of the preheated oven. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until heated through thoroughly and the top is lightly browned. To serve, cut the gâteau in pie-shaped wedges.
Comments: I didn’t really know what to expect with this recipe; it just sounded good. It turned out a whole lot better than I expected. I don’t know how it looks with the 24 6 ½-inch crêpes, but I really liked the look of it with the 10-inch ones; it’s more like the size of a pie or pizza. The original recipe also has 1 cup of sautéed mushrooms in the cheese filling but I don’t like mushrooms, so I omitted them. When I made it, I finished my spinach filling before the cheese filling, so I had some left over cheese filling. I also didn’t use up all of the sauce Mornay. It is quite a filling dish but very delicious.