Tuesday, February 22, 2011
The first time I made crepes, I was enraptured with the process. The smooth motions of spooning batter into a hot crepe pan, swirling it swiftly to distribute the batter in a nearly translucent circle, then settling the pan onto the stove-top flame for the few moments it takes for the batter to set into the culinary wrapping paper known as a crepe...
The crepe discovery, naturally, was years ago. A much more recent discovery - the ancient Ethiopian grain known as teff, which can either be cooked whole or used as a whole grain high-fiber flour... Likely the most well-known product of teff flour is injera, the wonderful, spongy flat-bread of Ethopian cuisine. When you make crepes from teff flour, with merely the addition of a bit extra baking powder you achieve a texture very much like injera, in the work of a moment, without the lengthier process of a sourdough starter. And unlike buckwheat crepes, which are delicious but tend to be a bit heavier in texture, teff crepes are ethereally airy, making it almost impossible to believe just how wonderfully high in fiber and protein they are...
and so delicious, nutty and perfectly balanced with a hint of sweetness, yet still savory, we enjoyed them for breakfast and lunch the first day I made them... I love them with sweet fillings as well as savory. They're perfect filled with peanut butter, fruit preserves, coconut butter, almond butter, honey - breakfast or dessert options abound. For savory meals, we filled them with soft, spreadable cheese (Laughing Cow!), pea sprouts, z'hug, and a little pesto for the most delightful combination of rich and creamy, fresh and crispy, and wildly spicy.
On a side note, where does one find teff flour, you might ask? Stores such as Whole Foods do stock teff flour, but economical me found the price tag a little alarming and thus was delighted to discover the Teff Company from Idaho, a farm dedicated to introducing the ancient, nutritious teff grain to the States. Browsing their lovely website, I was immediately moved by their story. The Teff Company offers reasonable prices and free shipping within the States, so I'm sure you can already guess I quickly had a box on my doorstep from this wonderful grain farm, beautifully packaged and containing both whole teff grains and teff flour.
I foresee many adventures with teff in our future...
1 cup teff flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup water
1 rounded T coconut oil, melted
~ Stir together the teff flour and baking powder, then stir in the water and coconut oil to make a smooth, very runny batter that drips easily off the spoon.
~ Set a small, nonstick skillet or crepe pan over medium-high heat. If the nonstick surface is in flawless condition, you might not need any oil at all. Otherwise, give the pan a very light coating with canola oil cooking spray, and continue to spray the pan between crepes as needed.
~ Using a serving spoon or small ladle, pour a spoonful of batter onto the skillet to make one crepe at a time, quickly turning the skillet in a circular motion to allow the batter to fill most of the pan. As you can see here, my circles are far from perfect, but one is at least aiming for a circle...
~ Once the batter is distributed (that step should only take a few seconds), place the pan back on the heat and cook until the surface of the crepe looks like it's just dried on top.
~ Turn the skillet over above a plate, and the crepe should fall neatly onto the waiting plate! Serve warm, with sweet or savory fillings! :-)