Buckwheat - a seed, not a wheat - powers these satisfying crepes with intrigue and nutrition. The flour imparts a deeply nutty flavor and dark color, giving the crepes a sassy Goth sensibility while adding a wealth of protein, fiber, minerals and antioxidants. Ultimately, the crepes make the perfect seasonal cloak for a luscious, caramelized apple filling.
Making them is less complicated than you might think, because all the batter ingredients are whirred together in the blender. Since buckwheat has no gluten to provide structure and can be intense-tasting on its own, it is blended here with a choice of whole-wheat pastry flour, all-purpose flour or, to keep the dish gluten-free, a GF all-purpose flour blend. While the batter rests and thickens a bit, you make the filling by caramelizing sliced apples in a skillet with a pat of butter, some cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and maple syrup.
A little extra crepe batter is built into this recipe for a trial run, so you can afford to mess one up while getting the feel of it and still have enough for eight. (Who among us gets a crepe or pancake right the first time?) Ladle in 1/4 cup of batter and tilt and rotate the pan so the batter covers the bottom evenly. It should be thin enough to spread and coat easily. If the batter seems a little thick, stir in a tablespoon or two of water.
After a minute, the crepe will be browned on the bottom and a cinch to flip for cooking the other side. I just grab it with my fingers, but you can use a spatula or tongs to do the job. Pile the crepes on a plate as you cook them.
To serve, mound some apples onto a crepe. Add a dollop of yogurt (or ice cream if you are in dessert mode) and a sprinkle of nuts before wrapping it up - or wait and top the crepe with those two components for an added flourish. Enjoy as an unexpected and healthful treat for breakfast or as a snack.
Buckwheat Crepes with Sauteed Apples
Yield: 4 servings
For the crepes 1 cup low-fat (1 percent) milk 3 large eggs 2 tablespoons water 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup 1/4 teaspoon salt 2/3 cup buckwheat flour 1/3 cup whole-wheat pastry flour, all-purpose flour or a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend 3 tablespoons canola oil or other neutrally flavored oil, plus more for the pan 3/4 cup plain low-fat Greek-style yogurt, for serving 1/2 cup toasted, chopped walnuts, for serving (optional)
For the filling 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 2 medium golden delicious apples, peeled, sliced into 1/4-inch slices 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg Pinch salt 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
For the crepes: Combine the milk, eggs, water, maple syrup and salt in a blender; blend on "mix" or a low setting to incorporate. Add the buckwheat and whole-wheat pastry flours; blend for about 15 seconds until very smooth. Add the oil and blend for about 5 seconds. Pour the batter into a bowl, cover and place in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
For the filling: Melt the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Once the foam subsides, add the apples and then sprinkle them with the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Cook for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned and softened but not mushy. Stir in the maple syrup and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
Heat a crepe pan or a 10-inch nonstick skillet (with an 8-inch base) over medium heat. Brush with oil. Use a 1/4-cup measure to ladle the batter into the center of the pan. Tilt and rotate the pan so the batter forms a thin layer in the bottom of it. Cook until the top is no longer liquid and the bottom is nicely browned (use a spatula and/or your fingers to check), about 1 minute. Flip the crepe using the spatula, your fingers or both, and cook the other side lightly, 15 seconds more. Repeat with the remaining batter until you have 8 crepes. (You will not need to re-oil the pan.) Stack the finished crepes on a plate.
To serve, pile about 1/3 cup of the apple mixture onto each crepe on a plate. Top with a heaping tablespoon of the yogurt and a tablespoon of the walnuts, if using, before wrapping it in a cone shape. Or wait and top the crepe with those two components. Serve right away.
Nutrition information per serving: 440 calories, 12 g protein, 55 g carbohydrates, 20 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 150 mg cholesterol, 290 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fiber, 25 g sugar.