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Recipe: Buckwheat Crêpes

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Buckwheat Crepes
Photo: Maria Zizka

Buckwheat Crêpes

Lacy-edged, tender crêpes seem like the kind of food that's best left to professional crêpe-makers, but they're actually simple and speedy to make at home. The trick is to stir together the crêpe batter the night before. I've learned that the batter really does benefit from an overnight rest. It gives the dry ingredients time to soak up the wet ingredients, and it leads to crêpes with a finer, more delicate texture.

I love to make crêpes with buckwheat flour, which has such an intriguing, dark, earthy flavor, though you could certainly make crêpes with whole wheat or all-purpose flour. Top your crêpes with anything you like--a squeeze of citrus juice, a drizzle of honey, a spoonful of sweetened berries, or a dollop of whipped cream. You could even head in a savory direction with goat cheese, egg, and sautéed greens. (If you do, reduce the amount of sugar in the crêpe batter from 2 tablespoons to 1 teaspoon). What's your favorite crêpe topping?

Makes about fifteen 8-inch crêpes

2/3 cup buckwheat flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus more for the pan
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (or other extract or liquor of your choice)
1 cup milk

Combine the buckwheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in the eggs, melted butter, and vanilla. The mixture will be very thick. Gradually whisk in ¾ cup of the milk. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

On the following morning, you'll notice that the batter has thickened slightly. To thin it, whisk in the remaining ¼ cup of milk. The batter should now be about the same consistency as heavy cream.

Heat a small nonstick pan over medium heat. Swirl in a small knob of butter. While tilting and rotating the pan, pour in a couple spoonfuls of crêpe batter. Move the pan around until the batter evenly covers the bottom of the pan. Cook the crêpe until the edges darken and look dry, about 30 - 60 seconds. Use a heatproof spatula to lift up one edge, grasp it gently with your fingers, and flip the crêpe over. Cook the second side for about 10 seconds, just until it browns in a few places. Transfer the crêpe to a plate, and repeat the crêpe making process, stacking the cooked crêpes on the plate, until you've used up all the remaining batter.

You can serve the crêpes right out of the pan, or keep them warm in a 200°F oven until you're done cooking. They can also be covered and stored in the refrigerator for a few days, then reheated in a pan.

Toppings:

Lemon and Sugar
Squeeze a generous amount of lemon juice over a cooked crêpe, and sprinkle a spoonful of granulated sugar.

Orange and Honey
Squeeze a generous amount of orange juice over a cooked crêpe, and drizzle some honey.

Quick-Cooked Berries
In a small pot, combine 6 ounces of berries, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Cook over low heat until the berries release their juices and begin to bubble, about 3 minutes.

Brown Sugar Bananas
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon brown sugar evenly across the bottom of a small pan. Peel and slice 1 banana, and arrange the slices on top of the brown sugar. Cook over low heat for about 1 minute, then gently stir and flip the slices so that they're coated in brown sugar.

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