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Brittany, next to Normandy, is known for its crepes made from blé noir (“black flour”), or sarrasin (“buckwheat”). Buckwheat has an intense, moody flavor that makes for a great foil to rich flavors. In both regions, buckwheat crepes, called galettes, serve as a base for savory fillings like cheese, eggs, or ham. We serve a lot of them at Bar Melusine. The crepes can be made ahead and refrigerated for a day or two (feel free to freeze them for up to a couple of weeks; they thaw overnight in the refrigerator).
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Savory Buckwheat Flour Crepes with Leeks, Apples, and Pont‑l’Eveque Cheese
For the crepe batter:
- 2 large eggs
- 1 ½ cups (360 ml) whole milk
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon (100g) buckwheat flour
- ¼ cup (30 g) all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks/ 170 g) melted unsalted butter, cooled to lukewarm
To assemble the crepes:
- 4 tablespoons (55 g) unsalted butter
- 3 large shallots, sliced into 6 wedges each
- 2 medium baking apples, cut into ¾-inch (2-cm) wedges
- 8 ounces (225 g) Pont-l’Eveque or other soft, bloomy-rind cheese, trimmed and pulled into small pieces
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- crunchy sea salt, to finish
To make the crepes:
- In a blender, buzz the eggs with the milk, sugar, and salt. Add the flours, blend well, and finally, blend in 1/4 cup (55 g) of the melted butter. An immersion blender works wonderfully here, too, if you have one. Let the mixture sit overnight in the refrigerator.
- Place a 10-inch (25-cm) crepe pan or black steel pan over medium- high heat. Drizzle with 1 to 2 teaspoons of the remaining 1/2 cup (115 g) melted butter and swirl to cover the pan. Have a plate ready nearby. Ladle about ¼ cup (60 ml) crepe batter into the pan. Tilt the pan to move the batter around the whole pan, making a circle. Cook on one side for 40 seconds, until set and slightly browned. Carefully flip the crepe with an offset spatula or rubber spatula. Cook 10 more seconds and move it to the prepared plate. Repeat with the remaining butter and batter.
To assemble the crepes:
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter in the pan over medium heat. Season the shallots with a bit of salt and cook slowly, turning them every so often. They are ready when they have a little color but are not very brown, about 5 minutes. Wipe out the pan and melt 2 more tablespoons butter over medium heat. Place the apples in a single layer and cook slowly, flipping once, until the wedges are browned on both sides, being careful not to cook so much that the apples burst, about 8 minutes total.
- Heat the oven to 500°F (260°C). Have ready a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Working with one crepe at a time, put about a quarter of the cheese in the middle, making a 3-inch (7.5-cm) square of cheese. Top with 2 to 3 slices each of shallot and apple, and sprinkle with some fresh thyme.
- Fold in the round edges of the crepe to make a square, using the edge of the cheese as a guide for where to crease. Press gently to make the edge lie down. Place on the sheet pan folded side down and repeat with the remaining crepes. Top the crepes with any remaining bits of cheese and drizzle a bit of extra butter from cooking the apples. Cook for 5 minutes. Garnish with a bit of crunchy salt before serving. Eat while hot!