Buckwheat Crêpes with Ham, Cheese and Egg

 

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.)

 

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27 Comments

  • Reply
    Mardi Michels
    July 15, 2016 at 7:09 am

    Interesting (this is Ruhlman's recipe from the book, yes?). I was thinking that this batter needed either milk or more eggs or AP flour. Mine were ok but I always have trouble with crêpes!

  • Reply
    Margrèt Jóhanna
    July 15, 2016 at 10:27 am

    Thank you for this info. Mine were a bit to thick and it was like the dough would not let go of the bowl when I ladled it to the pan. Your galette has a lovely color.

  • Reply
    EmilyC
    July 15, 2016 at 10:29 am

    What an amazing color! Hubby loves the crepes, said to make them more often!

  • Reply
    flour.ish.en
    July 15, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    This is my adaptation using close to 2:1 ratio of liquid to flour. My buckwheat flour is very green and absorbs a lot of water making a thick batter. The addition of all-purpose flour is all my own since I don't think adding more eggs is the right solution. My problem as I see it is with the organic whole-grain buckwheat flour I used.

  • Reply
    Kara
    July 15, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    I think mine would have turned out much better this way!

  • Reply
    Kathy
    July 15, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    I never have trouble making crepes and yet these were a challenge. I eventually got them made but I didn't like the consistency of them. I plan on making King Arthur's recipe next time. Yours do look lovely.

  • Reply
    flour.ish.en
    July 15, 2016 at 5:35 pm

    With the varieties and non-standard nature of buckwheat flour, I believe some all-purpose flour makes a big difference, all else being equal. I have some very thirty buckwheat flour.

  • Reply
    Nana
    July 16, 2016 at 11:42 am

    Your put a lot of thought into making these crepes, but the end result is beautiful. Thanks for all the information on making the crepes.
    This was a first for me with the buckwheat flour so I have a little work to do to get it right.

  • Reply
    Mary Hirsch
    July 16, 2016 at 6:47 pm

    Quite brilliant to go to Ratio for advice. Surprisingly I used Whole grain buckwheat flour from Bob's Red Mill and my crepes came out perfectly after the initial one. I also let my mixture sit overnight in the fridge. My only problem was getting the crepes to bend into a open sandwich. Each crepe tended to be a bit stiff for that. Mine still bwere delicious and rich tasting but did not look as pretty as yours. #enviousofshirley

  • Reply
    Teresa
    July 16, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    I'm not sure why, but I had no trouble at all with the crêpes. I think my buckwheat flour is Bob's Red Mill, too. Perhaps their particular grind made a difference. My problem was that they were a bit small and I overstuffed them. So, no gorgeous fold like yours!

  • Reply
    dulceshome.com
    July 16, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    Thanks for all of your helpful information! I'm also impressed that you made the crepes twice. I would never have done that! Mine were actually ok – I think the ones that broke I cooked too long – or maybe needed a smidge more oil in the pan. Like Mary, I had problems with the folding. I'm guessing that your 50:50 flour ratio, they would be a better consistency for that. I thought these were fun – but your look absolutely beautiful!! Well done!!

  • Reply
    flour.ish.en
    July 16, 2016 at 11:08 pm

    Thanks for reading what was going through my head and the steps I took as I tried to solve the batter problem. In the end, I'm happy to have found a buckwheat crêpe recipe I can count on going forward.

  • Reply
    flour.ish.en
    July 16, 2016 at 11:11 pm

    I'm equally envious of the wildlife, the vibe and the place you call home!

  • Reply
    flour.ish.en
    July 16, 2016 at 11:14 pm

    Bob's Red Mill has great stuff. I am a big fan of their grains and flours. I would have avoided the pitfall had I use a bag of his flour.

  • Reply
    flour.ish.en
    July 16, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    I have used buckwheat many times but still feel I've got work to do.

  • Reply
    flour.ish.en
    July 16, 2016 at 11:18 pm

    My buckwheat flour showed its deep and true color even as I reduced it in half.

  • Reply
    flour.ish.en
    July 16, 2016 at 11:19 pm

    No doubt, the AP flour would make the batter easier to work with.

  • Reply
    flour.ish.en
    July 16, 2016 at 11:22 pm

    The flavor was also strong. Seemed to be waiting to be tamed.

  • Reply
    Natascha Beutner
    July 17, 2016 at 10:12 am

    Wow! These are gorgeous! Well done!!!

  • Reply
    Natascha Beutner
    July 17, 2016 at 10:13 am

    Wow! These are gorgeous! Well done!!!

  • Reply
    KB from Prof Who Cooks
    July 17, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    Ah, thank you, Shirley!! I was thinking this exact thing when my crepes were not working out either–no gluten! I've made a buckwheat pancake in Dorie Greenspan's "Around my French Kitchen" that were much thicker, but still had flour in them to hold it all together. I'll be returning to this post as I liked the crepes, but was pretty frustrated by the multiple issues I had.

  • Reply
    flour.ish.en
    July 17, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    The buckwheat flour is certainly a big part of the issue. Adding AP flour adds gluten and stability, exactly what is needed to get the batter working as expected.

  • Reply
    flour.ish.en
    July 17, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    Thank you so much!

  • Reply
    Betsy
    July 18, 2016 at 1:30 am

    I love the Ratio book, always helpful for playing around in the kitchen. I like reading about your process to make this work with your own ground buckwheat flour. I used Bob's Red Mill buckwheat flour too. It batter seemed OK, if you ignore my trouble with cooking crepes. Great post!

  • Reply
    Nicole
    July 20, 2016 at 11:57 pm

    I do love Ruhlman's books and I am glad you were able to get this worked out. I enjoyed reading about your thought process!

  • Reply
    Nicole
    July 20, 2016 at 11:57 pm

    I do love Ruhlman's books and I am glad you were able to get this worked out. I enjoyed reading about your thought process!

  • Reply
    Renee @ Kitchen Conundrum
    July 24, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    Wow, the color of yours is intense! They look great. Sorry you lost the first ones. That's always frustrating. But excellent idea to use Ruhlman's technique. Glad it worked out in the end!

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