I bid farewell to the Man on Sunday morning for his usual trek across the country to Sun Valley for a week of work. We’re not usually a Sunday pancake type of family, but I was sad about his departure and wanted to make a special brunch before he took off. I decided to whip up a batch of buckwheat crêpes, which are actually insanely simple and quick. I don’t know why I make them so rarely. Maybe we will become a weekend pancake family after all…
As you know, we have a lot of apples here at the house, and there was a basket of them on the counter that desperately needed to be used, so I decided to sauté them in butter to go along with the crêpes. Buckwheat crêpes are typically savory in France, and my batter follows suit in that it lacks sugar, but these are a sweet crêpe because of the preparation. I love the texture of the crunchy crêpe edges and soft, tender centers that have absorbed a bit of maple syrup. And while I do serve them sweet, these crêpes would be delicious with scrambled eggs and ham inside. Or with sautéed onions and goat cheese, piled high with a green salad as I ate them in Paris at Breizh Café two summers ago with my mother.
The key to a good crêpe is the pan. First, you need the right batter-to-skillet ratio to achieve the proper thickness of crêpe—too big of a pan and it is too thin, too small and it is too thick. I find that using a 10-11” skillet and scooping with a barely under-filled 1/3 cup measure is the perfect ratio. Second, you need a nonstick skillet. You can use a stainless steel pan, but you’ll need to butter the pan more, and I find that the crêpes can get too greasy. If you have a real crêpe pan, that’s great, but not necessary. Crêpe pans have particularly low sides, which prevent the batter from steaming and allow for an easy flip, but I find a regular skillet does the trick. I love Scanpan skillets, which have a ceramic-titanium surface that doesn't peel and is entirely safe, unlike some nonstick pans with weird coatings. You can use metal utensils on them, and they're dishwasher and oven-safe as well.
8 small apples
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup almond milk (I used Califia Farms Coconut Almondmilk)
1 cup water
a splash of vegetable oil
a pinch of salt
maple syrup for serving
Core and slice your apples, leaving the peels on. Heat a pat of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the apple slices and toss occasionally, cooking until the apples are golden and tender, but not falling apart. Set aside.
Meanwhile, add the flour and salt to a medium bowl. Whisk the milk, water and eggs in a small bowl. Add a splash of oil to the wet, and whisk. Add the wet to the dry and whisk again until smooth. The batter should be fairly runny.
Heat a 10” nonstick skillet over medium heat. While the pan is heating, rub butter on the pan so it just covers the surface—you want as little as possible, just so the crêpe doesn’t stick.
Using a 1/3 cup measure, pour a scoop of batter into the pan, and immediately rotate the pan so the batter spreads thin over the entire pan. Let cook for a minute or two. Run a spatula along the edges, and when the crêpe easily slides over the surface of the pan, it is ready to be flipped. Cook the other side for a couple of minutes.
While still in the pan, arrange a line of apple slices down the middle of the crêpe, fold one half over the apples and roll. Slide onto a plate, garnish with additional apple slices and a drizzle of maple syrup. Serve hot. Repeat with remaining batter.
Makes about 10 crêpes. If you have leftover batter, keep it covered in the fridge for up to 3 days, and let it stand at room temperature at least 30 minutes before cooking.