Shrimp and Crab Meat Beggar’s Purse is a perfectly elegant dish for a Sunday brunch, wedding, baby shower, or special occasion. A warm puff-pastry filled with seasoned fresh shrimp and lump crab meat in a savory wine and cheese sauce! Serve with a side salad or a bowl of French Onion Soup.
What’s a Beggar’s Purse?
The Beggar’s Purse was made famous by Barry and Susan Wine at their 1908’s popular New York Restaurant, The Quilted Giraffe. Their brilliant concoction was a two-bite mini crepe filled with caviar. The corners of the crepe were brought together over the caviar, then twisted and tied with a simple chive, baked and garnished with dollop of crème fraiche…very reminiscent of the decadent 80’s.
This recipe mirrors the original, but is the result is larger than bite-size, made with puff-pastry (instead of thin crepes), and consists of shrimp, crab meat and an equally decadent wine cheese sauce.
What Size Shrimp Should I Use?
The size of the shrimp doesn’t matter because you’ll pulse it in the food processor. This Southern Beggar’s Purse calls for 1/2 pound of fresh shrimp–any size.
Where Do I Find Fresh Lump Crab Meat?
You’ll find fresh lump crab meat near the Seafood section of your grocer. If you can’t find fresh lump crab meat, you can substitute canned. If you use canned crab meat, drain it well then place it on a paper towel to drain even further.
If you want to make bite-sized appetizers from this recipe, cut the pastry dough into 4″ squares then add about 1 tablespoon of filling.
Shrimp and Crab Beggar's Purse
- 1/2 lb. fresh shrimp shell on
- 6-8 oz. fresh lump crab drained
- 3 scallions
- 1 stalk celery
- 1 large lemon
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups Swiss cheese shredded
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 box puffed pastry (two sheets)
- 1 whole egg
- 1 cup flour flour surface
- Bring 6 cups water to boil; add shrimp (with shells on); cook for five minutes or until shrimp are bright pink
- Remove shrimp; allow to cool; peel and devein
- Place drained crab meat, shrimp, scallions and celery in food processor and pulse to a fine consistency; add 1/2 teaspoon salt; 1/2 teaspoon pepper; juice from 1/2 lemon; set aside
- Whisk together milk and cornstarch; add wine to saucepan and bring to boil until it has reduced to about 1 tablespoon
- Stir cornstarch/milk mixture into saucepan with wine
- Add heavy cream; stirring constantly, bring to boil
- Add cheese and vinegar to cream mixture, stirring constantly until cheese has melted
- Add one cup of sauce to shrimp/crab meat mixture; combine well; set aside
Beggar's Purse Assembly
- Preheat oven to 350ºF
- On a floured surface, roll puffed pastry out; cut into quarters; using a rolling pin, lightly roll dough out until it has expanded about 1/2 inch all the way around
- Place 1/3 cup of shrimp/crab mixture in center of dough;
- Pull corners up and tuck in sides, pinching dough to make a "neck" for the purse; secure neck with a strand of scallion or chive
- Place purses on baking sheet lined with parchment paper
- Lightly beat egg and add 1 teaspoon water to egg
- With a pastry brush, coat each purse with egg wash
- Bake for 40 minutes
- Re-heat cheese sauce; plate pastry and drizzle with warm sauce
- This recipe calls for a dry, white wine, however, you can substitute clam juice for the wine if you prefer
- Serve this savory Beggar's Purse with fresh fruit, or a simple green salad
Prepare in Advance
If you need to get a head-start on things, cook the filling and store it in the fridge. When you’re ready to assemble the Beggar’s Purses, simply re-heat the filling on the stove or microwave first. Add a little water or chicken broth to thin the filling when reheating.