Mound of French Pancakes Filled with Cream Cheese, Spinach, and Mushrooms
An amusing entrée or main-course dish can be made by piling crêpes, a filling between each, in a shallow baking dish. (It looks like a many-layered cake or cylindrical mound.) Then the whole mound is covered with a good sauce and heated in the oven. Instead of the spinach, cheese, and mushrooms suggested, use any type of filling you wish, even three or four different kinds rather than one or two. Like the cream fillings on this page, they are all a combination of well-flavored sauce and a mince or purée of cooked fish, shellfish, veal, ham, chicken or chicken livers, to which are added cooked vegetables such as asparagus tips, eggplant, tomatoes, spinach, or mushrooms if you wish. Other sauce suggestions, depending on your filling, are tomato sauce, brown Madeira sauce, sauce soubise (béchamel with puréed onions). You may use one or more types of sauce for the fillings, and still another to top the mound of crêpes.
This type of dish may be made ready for the oven in the morning, and heated up at dinnertime.
Cook the flour and butter slowly together in the saucepan for 2 minutes 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. Sauce should be thick enough to coat the spoon fairly heavily. Remove from heat and correct seasoning. Stir in all but two tablespoons of the cheese. Film top of sauce with milk to prevent a skin from forming.
The spinach filling
Cook the shallots or onions in butter for a moment in an enameled saucepan. Add spinach and salt, and stir over moderately high heat for 2 to 3 minutes to evaporate moisture. Stir in ½ to ⅔ cup of the cheese sauce. Cover and simmer slowly for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Correct seasoning and set aside.
The cheese and mushroom filling
Mash the cheese in a mixing bowl with the seasonings. Beat in ⅓ to ½ cup of the cheese sauce, and the egg.
Sauté the mushrooms and shallots in butter and oil for 5 to 6 minutes in a skillet. Stir them into the cheese mixture, and correct seasoning.
Forming the mound
Butter the baking dish, and center a crêpe in the bottom. Spread it with a layer of cheese and mushroom filling. Press a crêpe on top and spread it with a layer of spinach filling. Continue with alternating layers of crêpes and filling, ending with a crêpe. Pour the remaining cheese sauce over the top and sides of the mound. Sprinkle with the 3 tablespoons of cheese and dot with 3 or 4 pea-sized bits of butter. Set aside.
About 25 to 30 minutes before serving time, place in upper third of a preheated 350-degree oven to heat through thoroughly and brown the top lightly. To serve, cut in pie-shaped wedges.