Saturday, September 6, 2014

Whole Wheat Crepes

With the chickens popping out 4-6 eggs every day, we look for ways to use them up. I'm not the biggest fan of straight-up cooked eggs, but I love to make crepes, high-altitude popovers, and German pancakes, all of which use a lot of eggs with a little flour. This crepe recipe uses 4 eggs, fills the whole blender, and makes delicious crepes to last a week. Cook them all up at once and store in a baggie in the fridge.

I don't find that the use of all whole wheat pastry flour for the batter makes them any worse in consistency than using 100% all-purpose. I've made them both ways. In fact, I think this recipe tastes better with the whole wheat flour.

Because there is no sugar in this, you can use them throughout the week for sweet or savory purposes. Here are some of the many things I've enclosed in them or put on top:

Bananas, nuts, drizzled dark chocolate
Figs, yogurt, honey
Blintz-style with ricotta, blueberry compote
Cooked apples with cinnamon, maple syrup

Cheese, tofurkey or ham, avocado, tomato
Fresh garden tomato, mozzarella, basil, drizzle of balsamic vinegar
Goat cheese, roasted peppers, asparagus

Cheese, sauteed greens, onion

Strawberries, whipped cream or ice cream, dark chocolate

Eggs! This is a daily load from our 6 hens on a day they all lay.
How much you cook the crepes is up to you. I
tend to slightly overcook them.
If your pan is too hot, you'll get tentacles.
Whether your pan is too hot or too cold, they'll
all taste delicious. You'll make a big stack of
crepes all at once and save them in the fridge. 
Drizzled with dark chocolate.

I have made these with some substitutions in the batter. Sometimes I make it dairy-free (though never vegan, sorry! Eggs are truly the main ingredient), with coconut oil and almond milk (not so good for savory crepes).

Whole Wheat Crepes

Recipe based on the one here.
Makes about 12 crepes, depending on pan size

4 eggs
1 1/2 c milk (or dairy-free alternative)
1 cup water (or 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup beer of your choice)
6 Tbsp melted butter (or coconut oil)
2 c whole wheat pastry flour
2 Tbsp bran flakes
1/2 tsp salt

Place all ingredients in the blender. If your blender is like mine, it will be full to the BRIM. Hold the lid on and blend thoroughly.

You can reserve batter in the fridge for later or make it all at once. The original recipe recommended chilling in the fridge for 1 hour, but I have done it with and without and can't tell any difference.

Making the crepes without a crepe pan is a bit of a challenge, but it's not too bad. You will probably find yourself adjusting the temperature continuously based on what happened to the previous crepe...unless you are magically skilled at this. I like to fry up the crepes all at once, so I set two pans going---one, my nonstick, and two, my ancient electric frying pan, which is not nonstick. I get the pans going fairly hot (medium-high) then add a pat of butter. If it browns, it's probably too hot, so lower it a touch. The nonstick doesn't need any more butter after the first, buttery crepe comes off, but the non-nonstick might need more butter from time to time.

Use a ladle to get the right amount of batter onto each pan (will depend on the size), and immediately lift pan and swirl the batter around. If your pan isn't hot enough, it won't stick and spread, but if it's too hot, it will sputter and splatter and form tentacles instead of making a nice circle, so adjust accordingly. You have some leeway in how cooked you want your crepes to be---they can be like pancakes, rich brown, or they can be much more undercooked, which is good too, especially since you'll probably be re-heating them anyway if you've saved them in the fridge. If you're going to serve them blintz-style, definitely try to undercook them a little.

I usually don't take the extra effort to turn these into blintzes, but if you have a soft spot for the style, it's just another step or two. To make them into blintzes, stuff with ricotta cheese and roll like a little burrito. Heat them up for about a minute in the microwave (or oven, if you're making a lot), just to heat the cheese inside. Heat the frying pan to a good hot temperature and add butter; fry the blintzes for a few minutes on a side until nicely light brown.