Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Buckwheat Crepes

The sun is finally beginning to shine again, as the winter months are more behind us than ahead. Late this morning I walked over to a friends place and we made crepes. As usual, we couldn't decide on just one filling so we made three. Each of them turned out delicious enough to warrant sharing.

The thought of buckwheat crepes was on my mind when I woke up- one of those random food cravings that pops into my head when I'm dragging myself out of bed and getting ready to go to the gym. It seemed like a good idea, since the batter needs to sit for at least 30 minutes before it's ready. Every time I make crepes I wonder why I don't make them more often- it's a fun process and it takes only a little effort to get a great result.

This version is from The Gourmet Cookbook, which has over the years become one of my 'go-to' books for whenever I'm looking for a recipe that I've never made. It seems to have everything in it, and they are all tested and work well.

Buckwheat Crepe Batter
(enough for about eight 10" crepes)

2 T unsalted butter
3/4 cup + 1 T buckwheat flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3 large eggs

Start by making a brown butter: cook it in a small saucepan over moderately low heat until golden brown. This gives a nice nutty depth of flavor to the crepes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool slightly.

Sift together the flours and salt in a bowl. Separately, whisk together the milk, eggs and brown butter. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk until smooth. Cover and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes.

My friend has a fantastic cast iron pan from lodge cookware that is the perfect size and weight for crepes (and useful for other things as well). Let the pan get hot enough to make butter sizzle, and run the end of a stick of butter across the top of. Tilting it up slightly, pour about 1/4c of the batter onto one side and quickly roll the pan around so that the entire surface is coated with a thin layer. After a minute or two, flip it over. They taste best when there is a little bit of browning but they're still soft enough to drape and fold. With the oven on warm (250F) we stacked them on top of one another on a plate as they were finished- this keeps them warm. If you're not going to be using them right away, cover them up with a slightly damp towel.

For our first course, we sauteed some spinach with butter, a dash of nutmeg, salt and pepper and piled it in the middle of the crepe, folding the four sides in. We left a little bit of the spinach showing in the middle and topped it with a fried over easy egg. The runny yolk made a great sauce and the overall flavor was at the same time light and filling.

We then moved on to the classic nutella + banana, followed by crepes stuffed with sauteed apples with cinnamon, with a light dusting of powdered sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice on top.

When the fridge is empty, a simple squeeze of lemon juice and a dusting of sugar is a delicious alternative.

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