Last week I had the occasion last to prepare a special breakfast for special people. My parents were passing through on their way home from vacation and it worked out for them to stop by on Friday morning. Early in the week, as I ruminated on what to make, crêpes came to mind. I’ve made this versatile crêpe recipe on a number of occasions—they’re perfect with just about anything you come up with as a filling. On Friday, bell peppers, red onion, sliced fennel, and vegan apple-sage sausage fit the bill, with some shredded mozzarella and grated parmesan added for richness. A topping or sauce isn’t necessary, but I had some arugula-tarragon pesto and that added a crowning touch to our special breakfast entrée.
I rounded out the meal with banana nut chai muffins (made earlier, pulled from the freezer, and warmed in the oven), served with vegan cream cheese mixed with pumpkin butter. On the side was a mix of chopped apples and pears topped with an apple cider sauce. And hot mugs of dark-roast coffee, of course! Really a nice autumn-themed breakfast, ideal for hanging with Mom and Dad while hearing about their North Shore fall color trip.
Savory Whole Wheat Crêpes
Made with whole wheat pastry flour, these crêpes are light and delicate, even though they’re whole grain. Adapted from The Earthbound Cook by Myra Goodman.
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
Pinch of sea salt
1 cup whole milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus additional for the crêpe pan
To prepare the crêpe batter, place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Alternately, you can whisk all ingredients in a medium-size bowl until smooth. Refrigerate, covered, 1-3 hours (I just set the blender jar in the fridge).
Just before cooking the crêpes, prepare your filling. For breakfast, it can be as simple as scrambled eggs with fresh herbs, or a breakfast potato hash with veggies, even a combination of eggs and hash, or just a good flavorful shredded cheese. For brunch, lunch or dinner, a spinach, mushroom, shallot mixture, sautéed in a little olive oil and a splash of sherry along with some shredded Gruyère cheese make a delicious and sophisticated-tasting filling. Endless possibilities—whatever strikes your fancy.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. (to keep crêpes warm until all are made and assembled). When you remove crêpe batter from the fridge, it should have the consistency of thin pancake batter. If too thick, add a tablespoon or two of milk and blend to combine.
Place a 12-inch cast iron skillet or crêpe pan over medium heat. When hot, brush with some melted butter. Pour ¼ cup batter into the center of the pan. Lift the pan off the burner, and tilt and swirl the pan so the batter spreads thinly around the bottom of the pan in a widening circle. If it’s not a perfect circle, that’s just fine. Cook until tiny bubbles begin to appear in the crêpe; depending on how hot the pan is, the crêpe will be ready to flip in 15-30 seconds. With a spatula, lift up one edge of the crêpe to see if the cooked surface is lightly golden. If so, flip the crêpe.
If using cheese, sprinkle the cooked side with about ¼ cup cheese. Spoon about 1/3 cup of your crêpe filling on top of cheese. Fold two opposite sides over filling and press down with the spatula to seal. Transfer to a sheet pan in the oven to keep warm. Alternately, you can place the cheese and filling on one half of the crêpe, and fold in half, before transferring to oven. Repeat with remaining batter and filling.
Serve immediately. Adding a sauce affords additional flavor and looks pretty, but isn’t absolutely necessary. Pesto, a white sauce, red sauce, chutney—anything that you think would pair well with the filling. Makes 8-10 crêpes.