You know the way there are people who remember the very first date with the person they married? The place, the music, the ambience, the food..all become special. So it is with pancakes for me. I have a real big mushy soft spot for pancakes. They were my very first foray into the world of cooking at the age 6 or so… and remain a bit of magic for me. Everything about crepes spells nostalgia …reminding me of the kitchen at my childhood home in Delhi with its blue tiles, my moms precious and then new frying pan, the marble of the kitchen counter with its grey veins, the dining table chair that I stood on as I cooked, the old fork with its old fashioned engraving (one out of the 3 we owned), the ceramic white plates with the brown print near the outer ring… faded and aged memories, lovingly stored and brought out for a walk across time, every single time I make pancakes.
Since that first day that I made pancakes, Ive cooked these over and over again through the past 3 decades. Each time with different fillings depending on the moments obsession. One could possibly chart my journey through food with the fillings alone. The incredible thing about pancakes is that there are so many types and formats they take around the world that it’s an endless road to discovery. Almost every few years there was a new filling I was kicked about… from chocolate sauce to nutella, mince meat with garlicy herbs and mayo, caramelised banana with rum, chicken and potato salad, roasted fruit and syrup.. the list is endless.
The recipe I share with you today is adapted from Smitten Kitchen and I have thrown in two of my current favourite fillings. I have also used whole wheat flour here instead of the all-purpose Deb uses and to make that work, upped the milk- to stick with my current theme of being the supergirl – healthy and wise.
The Whole Wheat Crepe
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly (I browned this first, which probably won’t surprise you)
- 1.5 cup milk (fat level shouldn’t matter, but I use whole)
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- Four pinches of salt (avoid this if using salted butter)
- 4 tablespoons honey
- Combine the crepe ingredients with a whisk or an immersion blender. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or up to two days.
- Preheat a medium non-stick skillet or crepe pan over medium-high heat. Once heated, brush the pan lightly with melted butter or oil.
- Pour 1/4 cup of the batter into skillet, swirling it until it evenly coats the bottom and cook, undisturbed, until the bottom is golden and the top is set, about 2 minutes.
- Carefully flip and cook on other side for 5 to 10 seconds. Transfer wrapper to paper towel covered plate. Continue with remaining batter.
- To fill, lay out the crepe on a plate, place the filling on one half of the crepe, fold over.
Filling 1 – Cinnamon scented Peach with cottage cheese (to fill 4-6 crepes)
- Peaches (you could use plums as well)- 5/8 pitted and cut into quarters if tiny, eighths if larger
- Butter – 1T
- Sugar – 2T
- Pinch of ground cinnamon, .5 t vanilla
- Juice and rind of half an orange
- Paneer – 100 gms, crumbled
- Toss all the ingredients except butter and let stand for atleast 15 minutes. Try not to taste the juices that start flowing out of the fruit or you will have nothing left and need to start from scratch.
- Melt the butter in heavy, large skillet (over moderately high heat. Add the fruit and cook them for 2 minutes, tossing them about until they’re warmed through.
- To assemble, lay a crepe on a plate. Place a couple spoonfuls of paneer down middle of crepe. Add a spoonful or two of warm plums. Fold crepe sides over and eat one before the others in the house discover the heaven that’s arrived in the kitchen!
Filling 2- Mushroom-n-Spinach in bechamel (to fill 6 to 8 crepes)
- Flour – 4T (I use half or all whole wheat sometimes but you should try this first with all purpose to know what you are really going for)
- Butter – 2T
- Oil – 4T
- Milk – 2 cups
- Garlic – 3 + 5 cloves
- Thyme – 1 t
- Button Mushrooms – half packet, sliced
- Shallots – 6/7 or 2 small onions
- Spinach – half bunch, cleaned and chopped
- In a small, heavy saucepan, melt 1 T butter and 1 T oil over low heat. Blend 2 T flour into the melted butter, stirring constantly over low heat. Cook flour for about 4 to 5 mins to remove the raw floury taste. (Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt if using unsalted butter.)
- Meanwhile bring milk to boil with seasoning if desired. (I add 3 cloves of garlic for this recipe but have also been knowing to add onion/clove/bay-leaf as my mood strikes or what I think will work with the rest of the dish)
- Take the pan with the flour off the heat and slowly add the milk, stirring constantly to avoid all lumps. Once all the milk has ben incorporated, get the pan back on heat and bring to boil while stirring. Continue cooking slowly while stirring until smooth and thickened. Add a bit more milk to thin out the sauce if desired.
- Heat remaining oil, add garlic, onions/shallots and cook till golden. Throw in the mushrooms and thyme and salt and cook till the released water evaporates and the mushrooms are tender but there are no residual juices. Season with plenty of salt.
- Separately, stir fry the chopped spinach in a teaspoon of oil and add to the mushrooms.
- Mix the white sauce with the mushroom and spinach. Mix in the cheese if using and correct seasoning to taste.