Every page in the book has something I want to try, but first, I had to face my ongoing fear of crepes. There’s something about thin crepe batter and its refusal to spread itself into a nice circle in my pan that puts the fear in me every time. I’ve realized while making crepes that my stove isn’t perfectly level. The batter always runs more to the back of the pan. So, that’s one problem. And, I don’t seem to have the skill to swirl the pan in a way that makes pretty crepes. I still need more practice. Some actually from circles, and others look more like state shapes like Michigan or New York. I made the Buckwheat Crepe variation and left the batter to rest in the refrigerator overnight. Using the crepes I managed to make into proper circles, I filled them with grated Gruyere, sage leaves from my garden, and sunny-side-up eggs. Each crepe was folded around the fillings and placed on a baking sheet. The filled crepes were baked for about ten minutes until the edges were crisp and the cheese had melted. It was a rich and delicious dish for brunch.
Some other suggestions for serving crepes were: to spread them with butter, sprinkle with sugar, squeeze on some lemon juice, and roll them and top with powdered sugar; or to julienne an apple and saute in butter with walnuts, cinnamon, and sugar and then add crepes cut into ribbons and cook until crisp. Until I get a chance to see about moving into Buvette, I’ll keep trying to create the experience at home.
Excerpted from the book Buvette: The Pleasure of Good Food by Jody Williams. © 2014 by Jody Williams. Reprinted by permission of Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved.
[Makes a generous pint of batter; about a dozen 8-inch crêpes]
3⁄4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
Pinch coarse salt
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons (1⁄2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for cooking the crepes
1 1⁄4 cups whole milk
Directions: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and eggs to make a paste. Whisk in the butter. Slowly whisk in the milk, being sure to take your time so that you avoid lumps. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, or transfer the batter to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 3 days before cooking.
Once the batter has rested, heat up a slick of butter in a small skillet, preferably nonstick (if not, just use more butter!) over medium heat. Pour in just a little less than 1⁄4 cup of batter. Tilt the pan in a circular motion so that the batter finds itself in an even layer on the bottom of the pan. Cook the crepe until the bottom is just golden brown, about 1 1⁄2 minutes, loosen the edges with a spatula, and turn the crepe. Cook until it’s nicely browned on the opposite side, about 1 minute more. Transfer the crepe to a warm plate and fill it or garnish it however you’d like. Repeat the process until you’ve used up all of the batter.
Prepare the Crepes as directed, but substitute 1/4 cup buckwheat flour for 1/4 cup of the unbleached all-purpose flour. Fill each crepe with a slice of good ham (prosciutto cotto if you can find it), a small handful of grated Gruyere, or a slice of Brie or other soft cheese (Epoisses is really lovely here), and a sage leaf and fold the crepe into quarters. Transfer the filled crepes to a buttered baking dish and bake in a 400 degree F oven until crisp and golden brown, about 10 minutes. These can also happily get a sunny-side-up egg tucked inside as well.
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