Almond Crepes, Pan Roasted Strawberries and Amaretto Sabayon

First of all before I go on, I must disclose that I didn’t make the fabulous dish featured above, but I can assure you that I soon will! This dish was created by a local here, Chef Paul Virant of Vie. Chef Paul took part in the Chicago Cadillac Culinary Challenge last week along with,

Chef Martial Noguier of Cafe des Architectes.

Two local Chefs in a friendly competition using strawberries as the key ingredient in their recipe creations.

The event was sponsored both by Bon Appetit magazine and Cadillac and I was fortunate enough to be invited and to be one of the judges of the challenge, thanks to my friend Courtney of Coco Cooks.
To kick off our day we were treated to a wonderful lunch at Braxton Seafood Grill along with other media, the Chefs, representatives of Cadillac and our hostess Mary Nolan of Food Networks Chic and Easy. It was fun and informative to be able to visit and speak with them on a casual basis.
Courtney and I both chose the grilled seafood platter for lunch consisting of shrimp, scallops, salmon and a crab cake. A decadent chocolate truffle cake was our dessert.Judging the challenge was difficult because each Chef went a different direction, one decided to do a dessert and the other a savoury dish. Above is Chef Noguier’s, Peekytoe Crab Salad with Strawberry, Rhubarb, Pickled Turnip and Radish. What I loved about his dish was his use of lemon confit, it really made all the flavors pop!

But in the end it was Chef Virant’s dish that blew everyone away! For me it was the amaretto that he put in the sabayon, also known as zabaione in Italian, which is a very smooth and light whipped custard that usually is made with Marsala wine. The strawberries and all the almond flavors were a match made in heaven!
We ended our day by getting to test drive Cadillac’s 2010 SRX.
Here’s the fabulous winning recipe!

Almond Crepes, Pan Roasted Strawberries, Amaretto Sabayon
4 Servings

Sweet Almond Crepe

9 ounces milk
1 ounce sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 ounces butter
1 ounce almond flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
2 ounces all purpose flour
Combine milk, sugar, extract, butter, almond flour and salt in a saucepan. Heat until the butter melts.
In a mixing bowl combine eggs, all purpose flour and mix well. Carefully pour the hot milk mixture
into the egg mixture, mix well. Allow batter to rest for an hour. Cook 2 ounces of crepe batter at a
time in a 10 inch skillet. Set aside.

Amaretto Sabayon

4 egg yolks
1⁄4 cup sugar
1⁄4 cup amaretto
1⁄4 cup + 2 tablespoon heavy cream
Combine yolks, sugar and amaretto in a mixing bowl. Cook over a simmering water bath, whisking
constantly, until the mixture is thick. Set aside to cool. While the base cools, whip the heavy cream to
soft peaks. Fold into chilled base and set aside.

Pan Roasted Strawberries

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1⁄2 pound strawberries, washed, hulled
and quartered
1 tablespoon amaretto
Salt to taste
Heat a large saute pan and add butter. When the butter melts, add the sugar and strawberries. Cook for
1 minute on high heat, deglaze with amaretto, season with salt and set aside.
To Finish
Preheat an oven to 350F. Divide the strawberries onto 8 crepes, fold them in half and heat in the oven
until warm. Place two crepes on each plate, dust with powdered sugar, spoon sabayon over and serve.

The garnish was sugared marcona almonds.

I hope you give this a try, I’m still dreaming about how good it was!

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  1. It would be such a difficult chopice to judge these recipes. Congratulations on attending and judging such a wonderful event.

  2. What a terrific competition and it produced such a delicious recipe. I love the sound of the amaretto sabayon

  3. Wow what an honor Marie. Your experience sounded so fun and rewarding. This recipe sounds like a winner to me!

  4. That was a fun event. Its going to be on the menu soon( the sabayon). Thanks for hanging with me.

  5. Mmmm, Mmmm, this takes crepes and strawberries to a whole new level. Love the addition of almond flour to the crepe batter.

  6. You had me at two key words– amaretto and almond. Wow! I must copy and save this recipe to use wit all the summer berries. How fun to be a judge! I don’t know how I could choose one winner at an event like this. I’d probably love everything I tasted.

  7. This sounds like such a fun event! It must have been awesome to be there for that.

    I think I may have to make this dessert soon as well…too good to pass up.

  8. Now that sounds like a ton of fun!! Tasting the food-would be awesome!!:)

  9. What a wonderful event to have participated in. They went to the source to find a great judge! I love zabaglione and I know I will be making this dish in the future. Thanks for sharing.

  10. What a fabulous event to attend and what an honor to be a judge! Both dishes look superb!

    I recently invested in a good crepe pan so I’m copying this recipe down to make when the diet I am struggling through is over.

    xxoo Pat

  11. The sabayon with amaretto…looks to die for…plus the technique for the strawberries looks equally yummy! Thanx for the great post!

  12. what a fun event! i can see why this won. i mean amaretto sabayon is just so tasty sounding.

  13. Oh how fun to be a judge at this delicious looking event! Thank you for sharing the winning recipe. I can see why it won!

  14. Let me just say that I am restraining myself from licking the screen right now. What a beautiful dish. Thanks for posting the recipe! And how cool to get to judge the Culinary Challenge. Beautiful food…beautiful photos.

  15. You are a Chicago temptress, you are. Husband and I sat at table and discussed how we each needed to lose 30 pounds this year and I turn on computer and see Amaretto Sabayon. Oh my. Oh dear. Must do. The event looks delicious. The seafood platter – beyond delicious!How fun for you!

  16. How fun! These events with real live chefs are so exciting! the crêpes sound delicious with the sabayon and very rich of course!

  17. That is so cool that you were invited to judge at this event. I can see it was a tough job, but somebody had to do it, right?

  18. Sounds like a great event. Oh and amaretto sabayon sounds awesome.

  19. Oh my goodness, this crepe looks delicious!

  20. Sounded like a fabulous day. You and Courtney clearly make great judges.

  21. Ooh how fun.. what an event to be involved with!!
    I just made amaretto sabayon.. I love to top cakes with it. Cioa!!

  22. After perusing your blog, I just HAD to make this delightful dish. I replaced the amaretto with almond extract (only 1/4 of what the recipe called for) and then saddened by the fact that I had no strawberries, I substituted blueberries. I also only had roasted almonds so I chopped them up and used them for the almond flour and left the salt off the blueberries. If what I ended up with was anything like the original, I think I’ve found heaven:-) This was such a tasty treat!!!

    The Country Cook:-)