Saturday, January 24, 2009
Buckwheat Crepes with Apples and Gruyere
I found this recipe in the dessert section of Leite's Culinaria. I think it's better suited to breakfast or brunch, but that's negotiable. I love apples in savory contexts like slaws, vegetable mashes, and chutneys. Here, they're combined with Spanish onions, smoked ham, and Gruyere cheese, with a touch of nutmeg and lemon.
Both the crepes and filling can be made ahead of time and refrigerated until needed. It's a great recipe if you're cooking for one or two, or if you want a fancy snack on hand. I loved that the simple components turned into something so sophisticated and subtle.
The filling is quick to assemble and can be made in smaller quantities if needed. It's also quite adaptable: you can use bacon instead of ham, or omit the meat for a less savory variation. I'd love to try adding some thyme or another fresh herb.
I have a few notes: Initially, my batter was too thick and yielded dense, rubbery crepes. I had to add about 1/2 cup more water to get the right consistency. I worried the crepes would be too thick or too plain, but they were well suited to the filling.
Be sure to cook the filling in a large skillet- an 11-inch fry pan comfortably held the half batch in a single layer. A full batch probably won't fit in anything smaller. Also, when filling the crepes, make sure to fold the crepe up before it becomes too brittle. The longer it cooks, the less flexible it will be.
I didn't bother buttering the skillet before cooking each crepe, or brushing the finished crepes with melted butter. They seemed fine as-is, and I enjoyed them thoroughly.
Buckwheat Crepes with Apples and Gruyere
adapted from Marie Simmons's Things Cooks Love
1 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon coarse salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons salted or unsalted butter, melted
4 tablespoons salted or unsalted butter
3 yellow onions, cut into 1/8-inch wedges
6 slightly green Golden Delicious apples, quartered, cored, and cut crosswise into 1/8-inch
2 ounces smoked ham, thinly slivered (optional)
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of coarse salt
1 tablespoon salted or unsalted butter, melted, plus 2 tablespoons, softened
3 cups (12 ounces) coarsely grated Gruyère or Comté cheese
Make the crepe batter
1. In a large bowl, stir together the buckwheat flour, all-purpose flour, and salt. In a
small bowl, whisk the eggs until well blended; stir in the water and butter.
2. Gradually whisk the egg mixture into the flour mixture until the batter is smooth.
Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. The batter should be the consistency of heavy
cream. If it is too thick, whisk in additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Make the filling
1. While the batter is resting, make the filling. In a large skillet, melt the butter
over medium-low heat. Add the onions; increase the heat to medium, and cook,
stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the apples and cook, stirring, for 10 to 15 minutes, until
the apples begin to brown and have softened. Add the ham and sprinkle with the
lemon juice, nutmeg, and salt. Cover and set aside until ready to fill the crepes.
Make and assemble the crepes
1. Heat a 9- to 11-inch crepe pan over medium-low heat until hot enough for a drop
of water to sizzle on contact. Brush the surface of the crepe pan with a thin film of
the melted butter. Blot any excess with the tip of a paper towel. Stir the crepe batter
well with the whisk.
2. Ladle about 1/3 cup of the batter into the heated pan, and simultaneously tilt and
roll the pan from side to side to coat the surface with a thin layer of batter. Cook for
1 minute, or until the edges begin to set. Run the tip of a small narrow rubber
spatula under the edges of the crepe to loosen it from the pan. Use your fingertips to
lift the crepe and quickly flip it over. Cook the other side for 30 seconds, or until the
batter is set into a thin pancake. Do not brown the crepe or cook it until crisp.
Transfer the crepe to a large, round plate. Repeat with the remaining batter,
brushing the pan with more butter if necessary. Stack the crepes as they are made.
You should have 12 crepes. If making ahead, wrap the crepes in plastic wrap or
aluminum foil to prevent drying out. The crepes can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.
3. If the crepes have been made ahead, first fill them one at a time by warming each
crepe in the pan over low heat. Otherwise, when the fresh crepe is cooked and still in
the pan, sprinkle about 1/4 cup of the cheese in the center. Top the cheese with a
large spoonful of the warm apple filling, spreading it into a single layer. Fold in two
opposite sides of the circle to cover the filling. Then fold in the remaining two
rounded sides, overlapping slightly, to form a square envelope. With a wide spatula,
lift the crepe from the pan and invert it, so it is seam side down, onto a serving
plate. Cover with aluminum foil to keep warm if not serving at once. Fill the
remaining crepes in the same way. Reserve the remaining filling.
4. Just before serving, brush the smooth top of each crepe with a thin film of the
softened butter. Reheat the remaining apple filling and spoon a portion on top of
each crepe. Serve at once.
at 4:33 PM