Buckwheat flour is one ingredient I love to use in breads, waffles and pancakes. Buckwheat has always been a favorite grain and lends an earthy flavor to many world’s cuisine. Pasta and polenta in the Italian Alps and soba noodles in Japan. This week at Cook the Book Fridays, we are making buckwheat crêpe from My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz. I sing to the idea of making buckwheat crêpes, which I have not made before, and serve them with ham and cheese as a main course. However, it hadn’t been smooth going for me. The crêpes I made from the first batch of batter was nothing short of a disaster.
I milled the buckwheat flour from scratch as I’ve always done by blitzing whole-grain buckwheat in a Vitamix blender. Combined all the ingredients according to Lebovitz’s recipe. For some reasons, the crêpes fell apart in a thousand fissures. The batter was too thick for it to spread all the way around the pan to make a thin layer. I added water, maybe more than I should have, but the batter was too fragile to withstand flipping over to cook the other side. It was a total flop and a mess.
I made the batter again using half of the recipe amount, although I had no clue how I can get it to work. Without any clear plan, I put the batter in the fridge to rest overnight.
So glad I had the time to step back and rethink the whole approach before I moved forward. I’ve made crêpes before. It was not difficult to do. Getting the batter right seems to be key. Buckwheat is not wheat and there is no gluten. There is practically nothing to hold the batter together other than the eggs. There are not a whole lot of eggs in David Lebovitz’s recipe. No wonder my crêpes were falling apart.
I dug out Micheal Ruhlman’s Ratio on the basic codes for crêpes. One part liquid: one part egg: 1/2 part flour. Haha! I believe the batter might need some glue, or starch, to bring everything together. With that notion, I experimented by adding all-purpose flour (50% total flour weight) and the remaining water to the second batter I had in the fridge to make a full recipe.
|One recipe makes ten 10-inch buckwheat crêpes|
|Prosciutto, Emmentaler cheese, egg and chives top the buckwheat crêpe|
Checked the batter the next morning. It had the consistency of heavy cream. A promising sign. Went to work: greased a 10-inch non-stick pan with oil and added 1/4 cup of the batter. The crêpe was a bit too thin. I made the rest of the crêpes with 1/3 cup of the batter. Dumped the remaining batter for the last crêpe. Astonishingly, I got ten perfect, light and airy crêpes from start to finish with the second batch of batter. No test run. No waste. I got lucky with this 50/50 all-purpose and buckwheat crêpe alternate recipe in my first trial. I doesn’t usually happen.
The rest was easy. I chose prosciutto, Emmentaler and an egg and layered them in the center of a prepared crêpe in the skillet. Like building a nest with the prosciutto as bedding, Emmentaler as sticks and gently pour the egg inside. Covered with a lid until the egg white was set. To serve, I sprinkled some chives on top to dress the neatly folded square crêpe and add a floral herbal note to it.
You won’t think much of slices of prosciutto, grated cheese or an egg on its own. But combining them together on the crêpe, their flavor impact increases exponentially. I guess you might call it “synergistic umami.” Breaking the yolk and creating a runny sauce, is simply sublime.
(The cheat sheet below shows the foolproof buckwheat crêpe recipe by replacing 50% of buckwheat with all-purpose flour. It makes sturdier and more elastic crêpes that are easy to turn and fold. I can find many ways to use crêpes in both savory and sweet applications. Any sandwich pairings, vegetable slaw, duck confit, even leftovers, would be so delicious, wrapped or rolled in crêpes. I sauteed a bag of spinach with some caramelized red onions, and a few gratings of nutmeg, until the spinach was wilted. Added 1/4 cup of half and half until thickened. Rolled the creamed spinach mixture in the crêpes. That where all the rest of the unused crêpes went.)