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Author Notes: When I tested this, I grated a little cinnamon over the filling in each layer instead of using ground cinnamon. After the fact, I decided that people are more likely to have ground cinnamon on hand so I guessed at the amount for the filling. Please, when everyone tastes, let me know if the amount of cinnamon seems right. It should be a nice presence that enhances without overpowering the other stuff. Thanks. (See the full article on this recipe here). —Alice Medrich
For at least 25 (or more) crêpes
- 2 cups (260 grams) buckwheat flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (55 grams) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the pan and top of the cake
- 6 large eggs
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk, plus more as needed
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 cups (300 grams) walnuts, finely chopped (or pulsed in a food processor to make a very coarse meal)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 large orange (for zest)
- 12 ounces (340g) fresh creamy goat cheese, softened
- 3/4-1 cups (320-420g) honey (orange blossom or clover or a mixed flower honey has a bright floral taste)
- 8-inch crepe pan
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, butter, and eggs with about a quarter of the milk and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the remaining milk and the water. Set the batter aside for at an hour (to let the flour hydrate) or cover and refrigerate for longer (up to 2 days). Stir the batter well before and frequently as you use it, as the heavier ingredients tend to settle to the bottom of the bowl. (Buckwheat flour makes a crêpe batter with the slightly unusual “stretchy” texture—the best method for coating the crêpe pan is to pour a little more batter into the hot pan than you really need, swirl the pan to coat and pour excess batter immediately back into the remaining batter. It sounds wrong, but it works perfectly.)
- Set two plates near the stove for the finished crepes. Heat the pan over medium to medium-high heat and brush lightly with butter (a silicon brush is terrific for this). When a drop of water sizzles on the pan, lift the pan off the burner and pour a scant 1/4 cup of batter into the pan, off center at about 2 o’clock. Immediately tilt and rotate the pan counter clockwise, shaking as necessary, to coat the pan entirely (in one pass if possible), and immediately pour excess batter back into the bowl. Set the pan back on the burner and cook the crêpe until the surface no longer looks wet and the edges and parts of the underside are browned, 45-60 seconds. Loosen the edges of the crepe with a spatula and flip it over with the spatula or (carefully) with your fingers. Cook 30 to 60 seconds longer. Slide or flip the crêpe onto one of the plates. You can trim the edge of the crepe to remove the lip caused by pouring off excess batter at any time—while you are cooking or when the crepe is cooked. As you get the hang of the batter, and how to tilt the pan, you can decrease the amount of batter you pour in the pan and thus the amount of excess.
- Repeat, setting the second crepe on the second plate. Crêpe can be stacked hot—but they are easier to separate if you let each one cool just long enough to cook the next one. Stack the first two crepes in time to put the next hot one on the empty plate, and so forth. If the crepes seem too thick, adjust the batter with a little extra water. You want thin crepes with lacy edges. Repeat to make the remaining crêpes, buttering the pan only as necessary. Make about 25 crêpes. Set aside,
- Toss the walnuts and cinnamon in a bowl and grate the zest of the orange over them. Toss to mix.
- Place one crêpe on a plate. Leave a 1/2 inch margin bare around the edges of each crêpe as you fill. The filling will melt towards the edges to some extent anyway, and naked edges will be lacy and slightly crisped. Smear a scant tablespoon of goat cheese somewhat evenly over the crêpe—a small offset spatula is your best friend here. (If the cheese is not soft enough to spread easily, microwave it on low for a few seconds.) Drizzle the crêpe with about 1 1/2 teaspoons of honey. Sprinkle with a heaping tablespoon of the nut mixture. Spread the second crêpe with cheese and then set it on top of the first. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with nuts. Repeat—always spreading cheese on the next crêpe before stacking it. In the end, top with a bare crêpe. Press down gently on the stack to level the cake. (If you are a superb crêpe maker you will have gotten more than 25 crepes from the batter, you can continue to stack and fill them, or wrap and refrigerate or freeze left over crepes for another use).
- The cake can be wrapped airtight and refrigerated for a day or two. To serve, set the cake on a baking sheet, brush the top with a little melted butter. Bake in a preheated 350 F oven for 25-30 minutes (assuming the cake was refrigerated—a little less if not) until heated throughly. Transfer to a serving platter. Sieve a little powdered sugar over the top. Serve hot. Cut with serrated knife.