BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

Don’t Crepe Out!

32 Comments

Crepes, those seemingly innocent sheets of batter, endlessly versatile and much loved by eaters across the globe, have been my sworn enemies for as long as I’ve been tall enough to reach the stove top. Most culinary endeavors spur me on, encourage me to rise to the challenge and tackle whatever crazy concept has become embedded in my brain, but crepes? Crepes managed to elude me, through countless attempts and a hundred different recipes. There’s nothing fancy about the batter, resembling a watery pancake base and incorporating standard pantry staples at its most basic, but my hands always failed me once the pan hit the flame. A whole batch of batter would yield one, maybe two serviceable crepes after an hour or more of labor, dozens of other torn, gooey, sticky flapjack sheets landing in the trash, rather than the plate. It could all be chalked up to a lack of finesse at first, those fumbling memories becoming exacerbated by a lack of confidence. I needed help; a crepe intervention, if you will.

Help came in the form of Rachel Carr, a professional crepe wrangler and chef of Six Main in Chester, Connecticut. Offering a brunch class that featured my old nemesis as a star component, it was just the refresher course I needed. Wrapping up a seasonal melange of asparagus and mushrooms within, she highlighted their versatility, playing to their savory side but leaving options for a sweeter conversion. Packed full of tender green stalks and soft, toothsome sauteed shiitake, bursting with umami, the combination makes a strong case for using crepes beyond the dessert course.

Standing over the industrial stove, nimbly flipping one crepe after another without any drama, my own crepe compunctions no longer seemed quite so insurmountable. What’s more, these were gluten-free crepes, lacking the benefit of a wheat base to hold them together. If this formula was so cooperative, so sturdy, the process of turning the liquid mixture into a pliable wrap must be simply a matter of practice. With years of brunch service under her belt, Rachel could very well churn them out in her sleep.

Thus, I don’t yet have my own twist on them, only the inspiration to strike back out in the world of crepes, gluten-free recipe in hand. Rachel so kindly agreed to share her secret formula, ending years of struggle and hunger, effectively putting crepes back on the menu where they belong.

Asparagus and Mushroom Crepes
Reprinted with Permission from Rachel Carr of Six Main

Crepe Batter*:

1 Cup Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Water
1 Teaspoon Coconut Oil
1 Teaspoon Light Agave Nectar
Pinch Salt

Filling:

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Bunch (Approximately 3/4 Pound) Asparagus
6 – 8 Shiitake Mushroom Caps, Sliced into Strips
1/4 Large Red Onion, Diced
1 Clove Garlic, Minced
Salt and Pepper, to Taste

Hollandaise Sauce:

1/2 Pound Firm Tofu
1/2 Cup Water
1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1 – 1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt
2 1/2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1/8 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/8 Teaspoon Paprika
1/8 Teaspoon Turmeric (Optional) for Color

To Finish:

Fresh Tarragon, Chives, Scallions, or Parsley, Chopped (Optional)

Whisk together all the ingredients for the crepe batter, until smooth, and set aside.

Prepare the filling by heating the oil in a saute pan over medium heat, and cook all the vegetables until aromatic and slightly soft; 8 – 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove the pan from the heat but keep the filling warm.

The hollandaise sauce is made by tossing everything into the blender and pureeing until completely smooth. This can be prepared up to 5 days in advance if stored in the fridge.

Return your attention to the crepe batter, and add up to 1/4 cup of additional water if it has thickened further. It should be the consistency of loose pancake batter, thin enough to spread easily over your pan. Heat a crepe pan or medium skillet with a flat bottom over medium-low heat, and whip the surface very lightly with coconut or olive oil. You don’t need much to prevent it from sticking.

Ladle or pour about 1/4 – 1/3 cup of crepe batter into the pan and swirl it around until the bottom is completely covered. Cook until very lightly browned and the edges begin to curl. Flip the crepe, either using a snap of the wrist or a spatula, and cook the other side briefly, just one or two minutes longer. Slide the finished crepe out of the pan and onto a plate. Fill with the hot mushroom and asparagus mixture, spoon a dollop of the hollandaise on top, and either roll the crepe up or simply fold it in half. Top with an additional drizzle of hollandaise sauce and a sprinkle of fresh herbs, if desired. Repeat until the batter and filling have been used up.

Makes 4 – 6 Filled Crepes

*To convert these to sweet crepes, increase the agave to 2 tablespoons and, obviously, use a more dessert-like filling!

Printable Recipe

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Author: Hannah Kaminsky

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

32 thoughts on “Don’t Crepe Out!

  1. Crêpes is what we Belgians mean by pancakes! We don’t have the fluffy thicker pancakes, we don’t know that! I love this saoury crêoe a lot! So different what I am used to! :) thanks! x That vegan hollandaise sauce is calling my mouth too!

  2. Oh those crepes are gorgeous!! I’ve had jammy crepes in my pre-vegan days but I think my tastes now tend towards the more savory. my mother actually owns a crepe pan…maybe I should head over and practice :)

  3. Pinned this to try later!

  4. these look amazing!! i’ve made them once, and they turned out so well i’m almost scared to try again ;) hopefully it wasn’t just luck!

  5. More than anything, I’m shocked you found a vegan crepe-making class period. I mean, what are the chances? These look delicious and will probably prompt me to finally attempt making crepes myself. Although, we have an entirely vegan, authentic crepe restaurant in LA, so I’ll likely let the experts handle that most of the time. ;)

  6. I definitely need to get my teeth into some homemade crepes very soon! Asparagus and mushrooms sound like the perfect fillings, too.

  7. I am crepe-inept also and think it’s mainly to do with the kind of pans I own…I need to get some real serious non-sticks!

  8. There’s a crepe vendor at the local farmer’s market that always has a super long line. It’s fascinating to watch them make each one to order. I’ve never tried myself but the recipe sounds simple enough… :-)

  9. yum! I am a true sucker for sweetie crepes, but I will accept the presence of savory crepes in this world. My mom used to always make us crepes for breakfast when I was growing up… so I’ve been making crepes since I was tiny! They are SO GOOD. I love a crepe with just a little powdered sugar and fresh lemon juice. Mmmm.

  10. Is it important to make the hollandaise sauce in advance for flavor mingling, or does that not matter much? The crepes look awesome. I agree with Eileen that the asparagus-mushroom combo is great.

  11. Vegan crepe-making class??? Who knew?! Crêpes and I have never been on good terms, in fact I would say our relationship is closer to hate-hate than anything else! But you make it looks very doable, and have me excited to give it a try!

  12. Crepes! Yummy!
    It’s funny, I always found making crepes so easy, did it since I was a young child. And even today, I make them quite a bit. Love the whole wheat version, too.
    My sworn enemy in the kitchen is caramel sauce, though. We’ll never be on good terms…

  13. Crepes are one of those things that I always want to eat, but never want to make. Partly because they scare me (too hard! too complicated! I’ll mess them up!) and partly because I never knew where to start… but now I do, thanks to you!

  14. Haha, I totally agree with you on the struggles of crepe-making! They are my enemies – preparing-wise, not taste-wise of course! Yours look fabulous. However, when I saw that picture of Rachel, I thought it was you because I had never seen a picture of you before. Then, when I found out it wasn’t (please don’t think I’m creepy now), I decided to google “Hannah Kaminsky” and found your photography homepage. Oh my god, Hannah, I didn’t expect you were THAT amazing! I mean, I knew you were amazing but you are even amazing-er than I had anticipated. May I ask, where did you learn all that? The wonderful photography and cooking and food-styling. Your blog radiates international flair, professionalism and intellect.
    You might just turn into my idol. Keep up the wonderful work,
    Lara.

    • Oh my goodness, you are too sweet! Thank you so much, I’m really flattered that you would think so highly of my work. I started out just as a hobbyist, taking photos for the blog as a means of illustrating the words, but it slowly blossomed into an art and a feature of its own. When I realized that the photography was becoming the most appealing part of the process, I decided to finally go to school for it, so now I’m currently working towards my BFA in commercial photography. It will still be a while before I graduate, since I’m only taking classes part time to accommodate for freelance work, etc, but I know that it’s worthwhile to stick with it.

      I’m just so grateful for your kind words, although I don’t feel worthy of such high praise! I think that the love fest could be mutual, since I happen to love your photos, recipes, writing, and blog in general, too. :)

      • You’re welcome aaaand: Oh wow! Thank you, that totally made my day. I can’t stop smiling :). Although at the moment I find it really hard to post regularly because I sometimes feel like my everyday food is just “too” simple to write about it. But I’ll probably write a post about that topic soon..
        Thanks again! :)

  15. The crepes look awesome, I like the asparagus and mushroom filling and the Hollandaise sauce with tofu sounds fantastic Hannah.
    Hope you are having a lovely week :D

  16. oh wow.. those crepes look perfect and the filling and the sauce. yes!

  17. I love crepes, and it’s amazing that they are vegan and gluten-free. I have quite a few crepe recipes on my site – but they are just regular “flour” crepes.

  18. Love sweet and savory crepes! That is all I ate when i traveled to Paris! I totally would love to make this recipe one day soon.

  19. I haven’t had crepes in years, because I struggle like you do – or did (once you get into the kitchen again). Sometimes my crepes would turn out OK and other times a mess. I blamed the weather. Maybe it’s time to try them again. A savoury option is very appealing. Great post!

  20. Oh my…I adore savory crepes and these look just perfect! Perfect little packages that I can’t resist. :) Thank you so much for sharing. I can’t wait to try the recipe.

  21. Crepes are a favorite memory from my childhood. Dad would make them on the weekends for breakfast! LOVE THEM. Although I must say any attempt I’ve made at making them sans milk and eggs have failed horribly. Great job figuring it out!

  22. Gorgeous crepes–and I love that action shot of the chef! It’s been awhile since I tackled crepes, but late spring veggies are the perfect filling; I need to make some soon!

  23. Oh my God yes! These look amazing and I happen to have in season asparagus and shiitakes in my fridge. Thanks!

  24. I have never attempted crepes and with my track record for pancakes (not a good one) I’m not sure I’m ready for this. So glad you have mastered them though :)

  25. It took me a long time to make my first crepe, but I did so just last year! It was far less intimidating than I thought it would be, which is probably why I waited so long. BUT, I really love the idea of this corn savory crepe, I can already imagine all of the different fillings that I could use! :)

  26. Pingback: Meatless Monday: The Sexiest Vegan Valentine’s Dishes | I Eat Grass

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