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Author Notes: This all started with a close friend asking me if I could teach a cooking class on crepes for her work group of 20 people. Crepes are all the rage right now it seems, and I love crepes, but hadn't made them since I was in school. And, I didn't think it was something I particularly shined at, to be honest. So I started experimenting. I went back over my class notes, looked in books and searched the internet for tips. I didn't want something so heavy, everyone would want to take a nap afterwards (it IS a workplace, after all), but wanted something filling and fairly healthy. In the end, we moved in a different direction with the class since there's no real stove tops to work with and I'd be renting hot plates. Then along came this contest and thought I'd post one of the recipes came up with anyway. There are 3 critical steps in making crepes, I found, that support an easy, consistently successful crepe that won't tear easily but is tender: 1) add the ingredients in a certain order and let the batter sit in the refrigerator at least an hour, ideally longer to allow the flour to completely absorb the liquid; 2) use at least some meaningful % of pastry flour, especially if one of the flours you're working with is whole wheat flour, like I was; and 3) zone in on the temperature of your pan. Not hot enough: you won't get a nice soft browning; too hot: the crepe will be too crispy. You can fill these crepes with a wide variety of fillings, but since I was putting chives in the crepe batter, I thought something with smoked salmon and cream cheese would work well and be a festive looking breakfast on Christmas morning. Bonus points: The crepes and cream cheese / smoked salmon mixture can all be made a couple days ahead, leaving you only with the scrambled eggs to make on Christmas morning. I won't be doing these for the class, but as luck would have it, my friend Ina and her husband will be visiting us at Christmas, and this is on the menu for Christmas morning! - TheWimpyVegetarian
Serves 4 (but is easily expanded)
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup pastry flour (or 2 Tablespoons AP flour + 2 Tablespoons cake flour)
- 2 large eggs
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter plus more for the pan, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 4 tablespoons finely chopped chives
- Place the flours and eggs in a blender and mix until smooth. All the flour should be incorporated into the eggs. With the blender running, slowly add in this order, the milk, then the water, butter, and salt. Stir in the chives and move the blender container to the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days. I let mine sit in the frig for 3 hours. The theory here is that this allows the flour to completely absorb the liquids; the batter thickens up a bit; and all this helps the batter to hold together better and not tear so easily when making the crepes. The consistency you're ideally looking for is just a little thinner than the consistency of whipping cream.
- Lightly butter a hot non-stick pan with a basting brush. I used a 10' skillet, but I've also used a more traditional 6" skillet. Two important things here: it should be non-stick; and the sides of the pan should slope to make it easy to flip the crepe.
- Ladle in enough batter to cover the bottom of the pan, swirling it around quickly to get good coverage. Pour off most of the excess, depending on how thick you want your crepes. For mine with a 10" skillet, I poured something between 1/8 and 1/4 cup of batter.
- Once the crepe starts to brown around the edges, slip a spatula under it to check the surface and flip it. This could take 2-4 minutes depending on your stove and the type of pan you're using. Once it's flipped, it should only need another minute or so of cooking. Remove to a plate.
- The batter should make 10 crepes in a 10" pan and can all be made ahead. I interleaf them with wax paper, slip into a zip lok, folding them in half if neccessary and throw (gently) into the refrigerator. Then I just nuke them for about 7 seconds to warm them back up before I fill them. They also freeze great too!
Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Scrambled Eggs
- 4 tablespoons finely chopped chives, divided
- 6 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
- 7 tablespoons smoked salmon
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, to taste
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- couple twists of ground pepper
- 8 large eggs
- 8 green onions, chopped on the diagonal
- salt and pepper to taste
- butter for the pan
- 20 small swiss chard leaves
- Combine the cream cheese with 3 tablespoons smoked salmon, 3 tablespoons chopped chives, lemon juice, salt and ground pepper. Mix well with a fork or spoon so the salmon pieces start to break down and merge with the cream cheese. Set aside
- Blanch the swiss chard leaves in boiling salted water. Remove. dry and set aside.
- Lightly butter your pan to scramble the eggs. Add the chopped green onions and cook until slightly softened (about 1 minute or less). Then add the eggs, the rest of the smoked salmon and chives (adding more if you want) to the pan, and 3 tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture. Scramble everything up.
- Warm up the crepes, lay 2 swiss chard leaves on the least attractive side of the crepes, and spoon a bunch of scrambled eggs on top. Wrap the crepe around the filling and put a dollop of cream cheese / smoked salmon mixure on top to hold the crepe closed.
- The crepe keeps the eggs nice and warm like a little blanket and the cream cheese will start to melt a bit on top. Schmear it across the surface and eat them all up!
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Holiday Breakfast