Monday, January 28, 2008

Savory Buckwheat Crepes

The first recipe I tried from The New Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas was the buckwheat crepes. It's a great cookbook, and this recipe is delicious and versatile. There is a warning in the recipe that these crepes are extra fragile and tricky to work with, and that is quite true. But the flavor is worth some extra trouble. DH had bought some organic beer from Orlando Brewing when we were visiting Central Florida recently. So, we thought of this recipe, as beer is one of the key ingredients. The crepe batter smells quite strongly of beer, but since I don't drink, I am glad that they don't taste like beer once the crepes are cooked. The buckwheat flavor shines.

Buckwheat Crepes, adapted from the New Vegetarian Epicure

note: make the batter at least two hours before cooking the crepes

1 1/3 cups milk
2 eggs
2 egg whites
1/2 cup beer
1 1/3 cups water
2 tablespoons oil, plus more for the pan
2 tablespoons sugar or agave nectar (optionally add more for sweeter dessert crepes)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups buckwheat flour

Combine the milk, eggs, beer and oil in a blender and process for a few seconds. Add the sugar or sweetener, salt and buckwheat flour and blend again until smooth. Stop and scrape the sides and process until all is smooth and uniform. Pour the batter into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least two hours or overnight.

When ready to cook the crepes, uncover the batter and stir. It should have the consistency of heavy cream. If the batter became too thick, thin it with a few spoons of water. Heat a nine inch skillet or a crepe pan. Brush with oil or butter or rub with an oiled paper towel. Ladle 1/4 cup of batter onto the hot pan and immediately tilt and swirl the pan to spread the batter thinly and evenly. I found it helped to use a long, narrow spatula to help spread out the batter. Cook the crepe on medium for about 45 seconds or until the edges are beginning to brown. Loosen the edges gently with an oiled spatula or butter knife, then turn over the crepe to cook the other side for an additional 20 to 30 seconds.

This process takes practice and a few tries before the pan gets to be the right temperature, and you find the right amount of oil, etc. But there is plenty of batter, so don't worry if some crepes don't turn out. The crumbs are great, just save them and sprinkle them over some fruit for breakfast.

Stack the finished crepes on a plate on and keep them covered with a damp towel so they don't dry out.

For these crepes, I made a filling with some purple potatoes, spinach, onion, garlic and fresh thyme. I think the purple potatoes went beautifully with the buckwheat crepes, as they have a slightly blueish tint to them. I also added to them a mixture of grated cheeses: Irish cheddar, Asiago and Fontina.

To assemble, I spread some filling in the middle of each crepe and then wrapped the crepe around the filling like an enchilada or burrito. I placed the filled crepes on a sheet pan lined with a Silpat and kept them loosely covered with foil. When the pan was filled, I placed it in a preheated 350 degree F oven and cooked them, still loosely covered, for about 10 or 15 minutes, until the cheese was melted.

Note: looks like I was on the same wavelength as fellow-blogger and friend Madelyn when it came to making potatoes this weekend. See her blog entry about 2008, Year of the Potato.


Bonnie said...

I have been longing to see a wheatless recipe like this. Yea! I can tell the Year of the Potato will be a good one:)

Pieceful Jane said...

The world just does not have enough blue food!