Friday, December 3, 2010

Hazelnut-buckwheat crêpes with pear-ginger compote and crème fraiche

I recently joined the Food52 site when I saw that you could sign up to test recipes that members had submitted. These days, it seems that I belong to too many cooking groups, but I liked that with this one, you only sign up if there's a recipe you'd like to test. For me, that means dessert recipes. Then, it's as easy as writing a 100-word review and sending it in to the editors to help them make their picks for the week's winner. I haven't got around to submitting a recipe yet, as I always seem to be cooking someone else's, but hopefully soon.
I chose this recipe because it seemed to have a really interesting mixture of textures and flavours, and also because I love both buckwheat and crêpes. I loved the pear compote, with its sharp, gingery and lemony syrup. Sadly, I did not love the crêpes. I found them really heavy, and, if I make this again, I will eliminate the hazelnuts in the crepes and just use them as a garnish. The only change I made to the recipe was to use a rich, thick, local Greek-style yogurt in place of the crème fraiche. It was what I had on hand, and I actually prefer it.

This recipe was submitted by user KTC, who has a brand-new blog called Whip & Spoon

Hazelnut-buckwheat crêpes with pear-ginger compote and crème fraiche
Serves 6

Pear-Ginger Compote:
8 pears, firm but ripe
Juice from one lemon
Juice from one orange
2-3 strips lemon zest
2-3 strips orange zest
¼ cup honey
½ cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, beans scraped from pod
1 cup cup white wine, such as Moscato (or a dry wine will work, too)
1-1½ cups water (enough to cover pears in pan)
2 1-inch pieces fresh ginger, peeled
6-ounce container creme fraiche
  1. With a swivel peeler, peel skins off pears. Remove stems and cut in half. Cut each half into four even wedges; remove seeds and tough interior with a paring knife. Add to 2.5 quart sauce pan.
  2. Using a swivel peeler, remove zest strips from orange and lemon; juice lemon and orange. Add lemon and orange juice and zest strips, honey, sugar, vanilla beans and pod pieces, white wine, and ginger pieces to pan. Add one cup water (plus extra, if needed, in order to just cover the pears).
  3. Bring to a boil; allow to boil for just a few minutes. Turn down heat and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until pears are easily pierced with a sharp knife but not falling apart.
  4. With a slotted spoon, remove pear slices from ginger syrup and set aside.
  5. Turn up heat, bring syrup to a boil, stirring occasionally, until it's reduced to about 1.5 cups golden, thick syrup. Pour juices released by cooling pear pieces into the syrup as you cook it.
  6. Remove ginger pieces, vanilla bean pieces, and lemon and orange zest strips from syrup. Add pears to syrup.
  7. Keep pear-syrup mixture on low heat if you plan to serve immediately. Otherwise, cover and refrigerate; reheat when you're ready to use it.
Hazelnut-Buckwheat Crepes:
1 cup cold water
1 cup whole milk
4 eggs
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup sifted buckwheat flour
1½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 cups whole unsalted hazelnuts
2 teaspoons sugar
  1. Place water, milk, eggs, sugar, salt, and buckwheat and white flour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (alternatively, you can use a hand mixer or a whisk and mix by hand).
  2. Mix on high (or vigorously, if by hand) for a few minutes until all ingredients are fully incorporated and batter is smooth. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
  3. Put hazelnuts onto a cookie sheet and into an oven preheated to 350 degrees. Roast them for 10 minutes (or, until skins start to pull away from the nuts and they turn golden). Remove the hazelnuts from the oven, wrap them in a clean kitchen towel, set aside for a few minutes to steam, then rub vigorously using the towel to remove as much of the skin as possible.
  4. Divide hazelnuts into two even batches. Place one batch onto a clean plate; place a second plate on top of the hazelnuts and press down firmly a few times to crack the nuts into large pieces. Set aside to use as a garnish.
  5. Repeat the above step with the second batch of hazelnuts then place the roughly cracked pieces onto a clean cutting board and chop them into fine pieces, about the size of Grapenuts. (Alternatively, you could chop them in a food processor, pulsing until you get the desired result, being careful not to overchop them into a paste). Set finely chopped hazelnuts aside.
  6. When you're ready to cook the crepes, bring the batter to room temperature. Check the consistency of the batter--it should just coat the back of a spoon, like a heavy cream. Add water a little bit at a time if you need to thin the batter, then stir in the finely chopped hazelnuts (it's best to add the hazelnuts just before you cook the crepes, otherwise, if they sit in the batter, they will get soggy). Heat a 6-inch nonstick skillet over high heat, add a dab of butter (enough to thinly coat the bottom of the pan), lift the pan from the heat, and pour 1/4 cup batter into the center of the bottom of the pan as you quickly swirl it around to spread the batter evenly.
  7. Return the pan to the heat. As it cooks through, gently peel it from the pan with a rubber spatula; flip the crepe with the spatula or your fingers and cook it on the second side until light golden brown. Repeat until all crepes have been cooked (stir the batter before you ladle the batter for each crepe, since hazelnuts may settle to the bottom of your bowl).
  8. To assemble, fold the crepes in half, then in half again. Place one or two on a plate. Top with 8 or so pear pieces; spoon ginger syrup over the top. Add a dollop of creme fraiche. Sprinkle coarsely chopped hazelnuts on top.

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Medifast Coupons said...

Wow! Say that three times fast. They sure look good though.

Katie said...

Hi Mary,
Thanks again for testing my recipe--I'm glad you liked the pear part and sorry the crepes turned out heavy! Ugh. Probably best to leave out the hazelnuts like you say. I like the idea of using Greek yogurt--thicker and richer than creme fraiche. And you plating is your photos! Thanks again--and happy holidays!
p.s. I've been enjoying reading your blog and will visit again!

RamblingTart said...

Perfect! Just love the idea of Greek yogurt. That would be delectable with the pears. :-)

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful dessert. Love the flavour combo.

Anonymous said...

Looks yummy! I adore pears!

Evelyne@CheapEthnicEatz said...

Too bad they did not live up to your expectations but they look stunning. Will have to check this site out!

cocoa and coconut said...

Crêpes are hard to perfect, but the dish still looks beautiful. I would order this at a café, it looks that professional

Valerie Gamine said...

Mary, this looks so delicious! Growing up, my dad used to always make buckwheat crêpes for us on the weekend. Even thought I've made classic crêpes several times, I'v yet to try a buckwheat version because I'm so nervous that it won't live up to what I remember. But after seeing your photos, I may have to try this recipe.

The presentaion is stunning!

Unknown said...

Mary, your plating is beautiful! Even though they may have been heavy they look delightful!

A Canadian Foodie said...

This is a stunning presentation. Stunning. If I was served this at someone's home I would be euphoric. You do have a very special gift Miss Mary Mary... and those in your world are very fortunate to be at your table. The flavours are so perfect. The bitter earthy buckwheat with the nuts and fruit.YUM. I think you are being a bit too hard on yourself. I find buckwheat anything to be a bit heavy, don't you? I am my own worst critic, too.

tasteofbeirut said...

These galettes are beautiful!