116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
There comes a point in summer when it feels too hot to cook and too hot to even eat very much. But in this period of seasonal heat, a glorious parade of fruit arrives, each in its order, each with an incredibly short shelf life.
I feel compelled then to enjoy the bounty even if it means heating up the kitchen. I recently brought home a large box of peaches trucked in from Georgia. Big, juicy and sweet, they were worth every penny.
And though I love eating peaches fresh, I also love the concentrated flavor of peaches when they’re cooked — in cobblers, pies and jams.
What I had on my mind was something cool, sweet and light that didn’t require turning on the oven. That inspiration took the form of stacked layers of crepes.
For the crepes, I chose store bought. Flipping a dozen or more crepes was more than I wanted — plus it would heat up the kitchen — so I turned to Melissa’s brand crepes found in the produce section at the grocery. I’ve used them for years.
Somewhere along the way, what I had envisioned as a decidedly dessert-like affair became a little less decisive.
I landed on soft chevre (goat cheese) and ricotta cheeses for the filling, adding fresh basil and a couple generous tablespoons of pepper jelly. Once filled and layered, the stacked cake is chilled overnight and the crepes soak up the filling. Then, just before serving, it’s generously topped with a peach puree that has been slightly reduced to concentrate the flavors.
Peaches and cream, peaches and basil, peaches and peppers, they all love each other. We don’t think of herbs and hot peppers in the dessert realm, but this cake blurs the lines most pleasantly. Not overly sweet, not overly assertive. Cool, creamy and as my husband said, just right for a hot summer evening on the porch. And so it was.
Creamy Peach Crepe Cake
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
4 cups chopped peaches, pureed
1 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons of sugar
Pinch of salt
8 ounces soft goat cheese at room temperature
8 ounces ricotta cheese (may be low-fat or regular)
1/4 cup packed basil leaves, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup pepper jelly (optional)
2 packages of Melissa’s crepes (look in the produce section near berries)
Basil leaves for garnish
For the Peach Puree: Place all ingredients in a heavy bottomed saucepan and place on medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for 15 minutes. Stir frequently taking care not to get burned by the bubbling liquid. Remove from heat. Transfer to a glass container and refrigerate until chilled.
For Cheese Filling: Using a blender or food processor, blend all ingredients until light and fluffy. Use immediately to layer crepes. If making this ahead of time, refrigerate, then bring to room temperature for 30 minutes before using. If temperature is too cold, it will be difficult to spread and might tear the crepe.
To Assemble: Place one crepe on a large plate. Using an offset spatula, very gently spread a layer of the cheese filling on the bottom of the crepe. Leave about one-inch margin around the edge. Cover with the next crepe. Repeat until you have used up the filling. You may have extra crepes.
Loosely cover the cake with plastic wrap and chill 8 hours or overnight. Remove from refrigerator when ready to serve. Generously spread peach puree atop the cake, reserving one cup for serving. Garnish with basil. Cut into wedges and serve with additional peach puree.