I decided on a beggar's purse as the first course for our Christmas Eve dinner. In my cooking class, the teacher made a purse with herbed crepes, lobster, shallots, and creme fraiche. Because I'm serving osso buco for the main course, I wanted to give the dish a little Italian flair.
I had settled on salt and pepper shrimp, prosciutto, and wilted spinach in the filling. The crepes were made with parsley, oregano, and rosemary. The sauce, a roasted tomato and garlic coulis with basil puree. The big question was what to use in place of the creme fraiche.
After a lot of input on the site and some research, I tried the following:
ricotta, fresh mozz, and parsley
creme fraiche with chives and a bit of cayenne
The cheese options were way too dry and did nothing for the rest of the filling. The bechamel was excellent and were it not for the creme fraiche, would have been the choice.
The creme fraiche, though, was *out of this world*. It was light, moistened the filling nicely, and the tang really played nicely against the shrimp and ham. Hands down, the winner.
My other issue was that my purses split badly. I don't know if the crepes were too small or there was too much filling...but, they looked like a train wreck. Instead of the traditional purse shape, I folded them like little burritos. I was able to include a higher proportion of filling to crepe and still acheive the charming "package" appearance.
Thanks for all the input. I can't wait to spring these on my family on Christmas Eve!