My first experience with crêpes was in high school. I took French back then, and joined the French Club for something to add to my college application. I even became the secretary of the French Club, meaning that I did, basically, rien. Nothing. It was the perfect role for my nerdy, lazy, 17-year-old self. Anyway, we had an annual French Club party, and Madame Gordy would bring in her crêpe maker so we could all enjoy sweet crêpes together.
A few years later, I spent a semester in Bordeaux, France. We visited Paris often, and we liked to stop at street vendors and order crêpes for a treat. I always admired the elegant swoop, swoop movement of the vendor’s hand as she spread the batter around the surface of the crêpe maker. She (or he) would hand us our crêpes, filled with Nutella and folded into quarters so they were easy to hold. I distinctly remember this day, when I was meandering through the Latin Quarter by myself. I sat on the edge of that fountain with a crêpe and watched families and tourists go by, and admired the old streets, the bookstores and the bridges across the Seine.
When I was in Kansas City last month, my friend Jordan decided to make crepes for breakfast. She reminded me that crepes do not, in fact, require a crepe maker. They’re also much easier to whip together and cook more quickly than one might think. She filled ours with scrambled eggs, goat cheese and cherry tomatoes. So good.
So I’d been meaning to cook crepes, and I also wanted to try the rhubarb sauce for this week’s Food Matters Project recipe. With my brother’s birthday and Easter last weekend, I hadn’t gotten a chance to try it. Tuesday rolls around and I decide to go for it, and what would I decide to go with it? Crepes. The buckwheat crepes I had bookmarked in King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking.
Unfortunately, nothing worked as planned. Thanks to last summer’s drought, I couldn’t find fresh rhubarb anywhere. My hopes for shooting shockingly bright pink stalks of rhubarb dashed, I finally found frozen rhubarb and decided to give it a go. I didn’t give much consideration to how well tart, sweet-and-sour sauce and nutty whole grain crepes would go together.
Onward. I whizzed the crepe batter together in my food processor and heated up my cast-iron skillet, hoping that it be a sufficiently non-stick surface (I gave away all my non-stick pans last year). My first crepe didn’t cook up right, but it still tasted great, so I shared it with Cookie as I cooked up the rest of the crepes. Fortunately, I got the temperature setting and technique down and the next few crepes were round paper-thin around the edges, just the way I like them.
I spread vanilla Greek yogurt over a crepe, folded it into quarters and topped it with rhubarb sauce. Hm. It wasn’t very pretty and it didn’t taste as great with the crepes as I had hoped. The crepes and the sauce were great independently and the combination was 100% edible, but they just weren’t meant to be together.
Savory crepes to the rescue! After this asparagus frittata, I knew how well eggs, goat cheese, shallot and asparagus go together. I snapped off the tough ends of a handful of asparagus stalks and tossed them in olive oil with salt and pepper. I baked the asparagus at 450 degrees Fahrenheit, in a cast iron pan, for about 10 minutes, until they were fork tender. I sautéed some shallots, then added scrambled eggs with a dash of milk and folded in crumbled goat cheese at the end. Crepe met asparagus, scrambled eggs landed on top, and voilà, an amazing savory springtime crepe was born.
Buckwheat and Spelt Crêpes
- Prep Time: 7 mins
- Cook Time: 15 mins
- Total Time: 22 minutes
- Yield: 8 1x
- Category: Breakfast
These crepes are easy to whip up in a food processor, blender or by hand, and don’t take long to cook. They have a nice nutty flavor and speckled texture thanks to the buckwheat. Buckwheat crepes are great with savory eggs, nut butters and sweet, fruity fillings. The King Arthur people suggest caramelized apples and whipped cream, which I’ll try to remember for next fall, and I think peaches and cream would be lovely this summer. I don’t think there’s a crepe in the whole world that isn’t great with Nutella. Serve with savory fillings or sweet, for breakfast, dinner or dessert!
- ½ cup whole spelt flour*
- ¼ cup buckwheat flour
- 2 teaspoons sugar (up to 1 ½ tablespoons for sweeter crepes)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted (plus more for greasing the pan)
- In a food processor, blender or big bowl, combine the flours, sugar and salt. Pulse it a few times or whisk it to combine.
- Pour the milk into a liquid measuring cup and add the eggs and melted butter. Pour the liquid ingredients into the food processor, blender or bowl and process or whisk until the batter is well blended. Scrape down the sides once during the mixing process.
- Heat a medium-sized pan** over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, pour in a bit of melted butter. Use a clean rag or paper towel to spread the butter evenly, you don’t need a ton in there.
- Use a ¼ cup measuring cup to ladle batter into the pan. Quickly pick up the pan and swirl the batter around in so it evenly covers the entire surface of the base. Cook the crepe until the bottom is firm and speckled with brown spots, less than 1 minute. Loosen the edges and flip the crepe to cook on the other side (I used a large silicone spatula for this step). Once the crepe is speckled and golden on both sides, slide it onto a plate. Repeat until you have used up the batter (keep stacking the crepes on the plate to keep them warm).
- Adapted from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking.
- The original recipe called for 2 tablespoons brandy, which I did not have, so I replaced it with 2 extra tablespoons of milk. I’d be interested to know how brandy affects the flavor, especially since I enjoyed the crepes so much without it.
- *For gluten-free crepes, use all buckwheat flour.
- **I used a 10-inch well-seasoned cast iron pan here, which worked fine and yielded 8 crepes (5 of which were perfectly round, the rest were broken or misshapen… that may have had more to do with me than the pan!). An 8-inch crêpe maker or non-stick pan would also work. The original recipe says it will yield 10 to 12 8-inch crepes.
▸ Nutrition Information
Random Rhubarb Sauce Recipe for the rhubarb curious. It’s great, just not on crepes!
Adapted from Green Market Baking Book.
- 2 cups fresh or frozen rhubarb, chopped
- 1/4 cup honey (or more, to taste)
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot starch (or cornstarch)
- 1/4 teaspoon dried ginger
- 1/3 cup water
- Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir constantly with a small whisk or a fork for several minutes, until the sauce thickens to your desired consistency.
- Done! If you’re going for a super smooth texture, you might also want to go to the trouble of blending it and straining it through a fine mesh strainer. I haven’t tried.
This makes a tart, honey-sweetened rhubarb sauce. You can also trade berries for the rhubarb; a sweet berry sauce would probably go nicely with these crepes. See my blueberry sauce variation here and cranberry sauce here.
You know what this sauce would be great on? Ice cream. Vanilla bean ice cream.
What a fabulous idea!!
I grew up eating crepes, and I was happy to discover (rather recently!) that buckwheat flour makes them extra special. Also, I’ve never had a crepe-maker! That’s one kitchen gadget I can live without. :)
I want those crepes! PS—I couldn’t find rhubarb anywhere either. I bought everything else but ditched the FMP when rhubarb was nowhere to be found. Thought about subbing grapefruit. Could have been funky?
I love the savory crepe… so simple and can totally be eaten at any time of the day. I would be curious to see what brandy would do to crepes too… Something to try in the near future. Your rhubarb sauce looks delicious… Do you think that could go in a sweet tart dough?
That’s a great question, Margarita. I’m not sure if it would set up well in a tart, but it would certainly taste good!
These look so great. I’ve been wanting to make crepes forever…and hey, I even have buckwheat flour hiding in the freezer! Clearly I have no excuse to wait. :)
I haven’t been able to find fresh rhubarb either! Really hoping it starts to pop up at the farmer’s market soon. Your crepes look divine. Although I’ve never been to France, I did grow up eating a lot of crepes thanks to the French Canadians in Ottawa. My favorites were always the nutella and banana crepes and the mushroom swiss ones. My mum and I used to make crepes suzette when we had company. It’s been years though since I’ve had crepes. Glad to know it works well in a cast iron skillet. I might whip some up this weekend.
Good luck finding fresh rhubarb! A local grocer told me it wasn’t growing locally because of the drought last summer, and I looked it up on online and read that it required a cold winter, which we did not have, either. Mushroom Swiss crepes sound amazing. Hope you get a chance to make some crepes soon!
Oh that sucks! Makes sense though. Rhubarb grows like weeds at my mums place which I always thought was strange. I guess the really cold winters and all the melting snow is ideal for it. Learn something new everyday!
Looks fabulous! The first crêpe never turns out right hence the well-know saying in French: “La première crêpe est pour le chien”.
That is such a perfect quote, since I shared that crepe with Cookie! Thanks for sharing, Lesley. Hope you’re well!
marissa @ the boot
food confession: i’ve never had rhubarb. and even though it was mediocre on your crepes, i’m curious to try it. what glorious asparagus! have a great weekend and i’m off to vote for you!
Thank you so much, Marissa! I hope you get a chance to try rhubarb soon. This was my first experience with it that I can remember, and I love its tart flavor. It was great with my morning oatmeal and Greek yogurt!
Pinch & Swirl
I love buckwheat crepes with nutella, but this savory version is so inviting! I’d like to try it with a fried egg, sunny side up. Messy good. :)
Congrats on the Saveur nomination – you have my vote!
My first exposure to crepes was in French Club too! Except I was in grade 3 and I DOUSED mine in lemon juice and sugar to achieve a sort of “lemonade pancake” effect if you will.
I can’t find good field rhubarb yet either! Just hothouse stuff, which isn’t the same at all. In the meantime, savory crepes cut with buckwheat sound wonderful.
I’m sure these are delicious. I love buckwheat pancakes, but I’ve never considered crepes!
Sorry the sweet version didn’t work out, but the savoury eggs and asparagus look absolutely delicious – well done for persevering! :-)
Wow, this looks too good! Savory, sweet, really anything crepe and I love it.
Crepes are one (of a handful) of foods that kinda scare me… so thin, delicate… I get nervous just with the thought! You make them look so easy! I should just man up, try it.
Oh, I dream in crepes!! These are gorgeous, Kate!
Hey these look good – and so versatile. Have been looking for a straight forward wheat free version – will definitely try these – Thanks!
This looks really good! Thanks for sharing! I have to say though that I can not eat crepe without maple syrup! This is part of our culture here in Quebec and we use maple syrup in many kinds of recipes (from breakfast to fine cuisine!). So I will definitely cook this recipe but I will add pour maple syrup on it for sure! (the one I cook with comes from a cool web site called rouge maple and is purely organic! Even better)
These are amazing !
oh I am looking forward to testing some of the above recipes….what a breath of fresh air from my own recipes
Hope you enjoy them!
Thank you!!!! My hubby will be so happy ^ ^ I’ll save this website and share with cookaholic friends like myself :D
Kate, I needed to make totally gluten-free crepes so used your base recipe with tapioca flour replacing the spelt flour, plus the 2 Tbsp brandy – the shape was tricky, but the flavour was great. Thank you
Glad to hear it! Thanks, Terri!
I will never look for another crepe recipe after finding this! I’ve made three batches in the last three days. I’ve gotten over my fear of not having a crepe maker. :)
Hooray! Thanks, Shauna!
Went for the gluten-free option, and the brandy in the milk. The result was lovely crepes that released easily from my pan. Served with scrambled eggs with fresh tomato, and fresh raspberries with lemon curd yogurt to finish. Best ever crepes, thanks
Thank you, Nigel for sharing! I like hearing how recipes like these work gluten free. I appreciate your review.
yummy pan cakes thanks kate and keep baking
Have you or anyone else tried a non-dairy milk substitute for this recipe? If so, please advise, especially if it has plant protein.
Hi Melinda, It should work. Let me know if you try it!
I just made these crepes ready for Crepe Suzette tomorrow. I included the tablespoon of brandy and increased the milk a little. As usual with pancakes I improved as I went along and was quite enjoying rolling the mixture around by the end. I treated myself to the first one which was spare and really enjoyed it. Thanks for the lovely recipe.
You’re welcome, Ann!