Sometimes translated to English as “corn smut,” huitlacoche has become popular in recent years as a nouvelle cuisine offering in everything from ravioli filling to omelettes. Corn fungus crepes, however, were first served in the 1950’s by chef Jaime Saldívar. This version uses a poblano chile sauce, and the filling itself is also good with the addition of chopped, cooked spinach or squash blossoms. If huitlacoche is unavailable, this recipe is also good with fresh setas-oyster mushrooms.
For the crepes:
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/3 cups milk
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 cup flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the filling:
- 1 pound fresh huitlacoche or oyster mushrooms
- 2 ½ tablespoons corn oil
- ½ medium white onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1-2 serrano chiles, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 sprig epazote (leaves only) chopped
- salt to taste
For the sauce:
- 4 poblano chiles, seeded (not necessary to peel them for this recipe)
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup Mexican crema or heavy cream
- salt to taste
- grated mild melting cheese (Mexican manchego, jack, gruyere or fontina) for topping
Make the crepe batter: Place all ingredients in a blender and liquefy until smooth. Let batter rest at least 30 minutes while the filling and sauce are being made.
Make the filling: Coarsely chop the huitlacoche or setas and set aside. Heat the oil in a skillet, add the onions and sauté until they begin to soften. Add the garlic and chile and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Add the huitlacoche or setas and cook until they have rendered their juice and it has nearly evaporated. Stir in the epazote.
Make the sauce: Roughly chop the poblanos, place them in a blender with the milk, and liquefy to make a puree. In a saucepan, melt the butter and whisk in the flour to make a light roux. Add the chile puree and stir with a whisk until it has thickened to the consistency of heavy cream. Remove from heat, add the crema and salt to taste.
Make the crepes: Heat a bit of oil in an 8″ crepe pan, wiping with a paper towel to coat the surface. Pour ¼ cup crepe batter into the pan and roll the pan around to coat the bottom with batter. When the edges of the crepe start to dry and turn up, turn the crepe over and continue to cook for 1 minute.
Place the crepe on a plate and repeat with remaining batter, stacking the crepes as they are finished.
Assemble: Divide the filling evenly among the crepes, roll them up and place them in a lightly greased oblong baking dish. Pour the sauce over the crepes and bake them at 350º F for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with the cheese and bake another 5 minutes, or until cheese has melted. Serve immediately.
Makes 4-5 first course servings of 2 crepes each.