Vegan Sunday Brunch, Episode 17: Sweet vs. Savory Crepe Showdown!

Hey folks!

Some of you might remember episode 8 of our brunch series when Mike and I had a crepe duel.  It was a good time – we laughed, we cried – and we always knew in our hearts that it would happen again.  Except this time, the circumstances are a bit different.


For those of you who don’t know, the vegan cookbook author Isa Chandra Moskowitz occasionally hosts a cooking competition a la Chopped (the TV show), where the contestants are given a theme (dessert, entree, etc) and several ingredients they must use to create the dish.  Well the theme was brunch, which meant we absolutely had to participate – you know how we are about our brunches.  As for the ingredients?

Butternut squash.  Rosemary.  Apricot jam.  Popcorn.

It’s on!

The Savory Crepe – Curried Lentil and Squash Crepes with Apricot-Rosemary Chutney

Last time we had a crepetition, I created the sweet version and Mike did the savory.  To keep things interesting, we switched roles for this battle.  For my savory crepe I went in a curry direction because, well, I like curry.  Let thy stomach be thy guide.  Here’s the what’s what:

The crepe batter used was the Vegan Brunch recipe, replacing about 1/2 cup of the flour with finely ground popcorn.  This turned out quite well – the batter was still a dream to work with and had a bit more flavor.

For the filling, I peeled, seeded and cubed a butternut squash, tossed it with some olive oil and curry powder and baked it for about 45 minutes at 400 F.  To sauce things up I made a red lentil dahl – just saute some onions, garlic and ginger, cook 1 cup of red lentils in 3 cups liquid until a stewy texture manifests, and flavor it with garam masala, turmeric, ground coriander, cumin and hot sauce.  I quickly steamed a bunch of spinach for freshness and color to complete the filling.

For the chutney, I mixed 3 tablespoons of apricot preserves with 1 teaspoon fresh minced rosemary.  Served alongside the crepes, the rosemary flavor was surprisingly pronounced and gave the whole meal a fresh taste.  Win!

The Sweet Crepes – Candied Rosemary Squash and Grand Marnier Poached Peaches with Apricot Cream

Long time, no see!  For my crepe competition entry I decided to try a new take on the classic “peaches and cream”.  I really wanted to highlight the required mystery ingredients while adding just enough others to keep it interesting.  I used the same popcorn crepe batter that Allysia did, so lets start talk about the filling!

I started by prepping the butternut squash (peel, slice into small cubes), mixing it with 3 or 4 large sprigs of chopped rosemary, and roasting it for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees.  After the initial roast I tossed the squash with a tablespoon of brown sugar and two tablespoons of apricot jelly.  I returned the squash to the oven and let it roast for another 20 minutes at 450 degrees.  When it was finished it was sticky and sweet, with just enough bite to it.  The rosemary taste was heavenly.

The peaches were halved and sprinkled with sugar before being placed in a hot, oiled pan for 10 minutes.  The pan was then tossed in the oven.  After ten minutes I flipped the peaches over and returned them to the oven for five more minutes.  To finish them off I poured an ounce of Grand Marnier into the hot pan and let it evaporate.  The booze added a nice little edge to the peaches.

Finally, we come to the cream topping.  A quick cashew cream mixed with a few tablespoons of apricot jelly supplied a nice counterbalance to the sweetness of the crepe filling.

Of course, a crepetition wouldn’t be complete without a boozy brunch beverage…

Sparkling Rosemary Limeade

This right here might be my favorite of the boozy brunch concoctions.  The spicy rosemary and sharp citrus flavors came together to make a beautifully bright drink that would be perfect for a warm summer morning.  The weather-gods must have seen this and thought so as well, today was the warmest day we’ve had around here for a while!

The bulk of this drink’s flavor comes from a sweet/sour syrup involving lime juice, lemon juice, rosemary, and white sugar.  I used 3/4 cup of lime juice (about four limes), 1/2 cup lemon juice (about two lemons), 1 scant tablespoon sugar, and two 6-inch sprigs of rosemary (just the leaves, not the woody stalks).  Toss all those ingredients together in a small pot and heat until the sugar is dissolved.  Continue to simmer for 5-10 minutes or, if you have far more forethought than I do, chill in the fridge overnight.  Strain the syrup just before putting the drinks together.

As for the last step, add 5 or 6 ice cubes to a glass and pour in 2 ounces of vodka and 2 ounces of your syrup.  Top with soda water and garnish with something pretty.

Well, I think that’s all for now, hopefully you enjoyed the finale of the crepe battle, and make sure to check out some of the other awesome entries in the Vegan Chopped brunch competition!

  • Jolene – EverydayFoodie

    I am super impressed with your chopped creations! What a fun idea!!!

    Also, that drink is picture perfect.

  • Joey

    That is a bang up job on the crepes! I think I think the savoury just edges it for me – anything curried is clearly going to be a winner!

    That drink looks pretty hands down awesome too – reckon it would work with some rum rather than vodka? Happy to be the guinea pig on finding that one out…

  • xvavaveganx

    You guys are so awesome and so fun! I can imagine how much fun you have in the kitchen together πŸ™‚ Both of your crepe creations look delicious! Awesome job with the ingredients πŸ™‚ I love rosemary so it's definitely a welcome addition to all of the recipes for me. Love your brunch series so much!

  • Allysia

    Aren't they gorgeous? Mike's a drink genius!

  • Allysia

    I'm kind of the same way, when it comes to sweet or savory, I usually prefer savory! And I'm pretty sure white rum would work if you're into that. πŸ™‚

  • Allysia

    You know, I use rosemary so infrequently but it really is quite lovely! And thanks for the nice comments. πŸ™‚

  • Amey

    holy moses, both of your crepe creations sound totally amazing. Great idea to use popcorn in the crepe batter. That popcorn is definitely the outlier in this chopped combo. How super fun to have such a creative and capable kitchen buddy! I love Mr. Vegan Eats & Treats, but that is NEVER gonna happen in this house! πŸ™‚

  • foodfeud

    Wow, what a brilliant idea to grind up the popcorn. I saw the Chopped Challenge and some of the ingredients sounded pretty good together but the popcorn totally baffled me.
    Gorgeous drinks! I love the garnish.

  • Maggie Muggins

    Whoa! I seriously can’t get over how creative you both were, I would down both of those crepes in no time. I’m really impressed with the use of the popcorn, that ingredient really threw me off. Nice touch throwing in the fancy drink to go along with it all.

  • Allysia

    Ha ha ha, at least you have the mad cooking skillz enough for the both of you! πŸ™‚

  • Allysia

    Yeah, it threw me for a loop too. And isn't the garnish amazing? I know I said this a few posts up but it's worth restating, Mike's a drink genius!

  • Allysia

    Thanks Maggie! We both went into this competition with the idea to make something that wasn't crazy-fancy, but that we would both enjoy without being too out there. I like to keep it simple!

  • FoodandLoathing

    Congrats on your runner-up win! If you're like me, though, you already have all of Isa Chandra Moskowitz's books. πŸ˜‰

  • Allysia

    Almost all of them. πŸ™‚ And thanks!