Sometimes I like to make up meanings for the names of ancient grains that have nothing to do with what they actually are. Kamut, for example, is a pet name for a woolly mammoth. Amaranth is either a city in a far off kingdom, or some kind of gem stone (possibly a gem stone named after the far off city in which it's mined). Spelt is probably an onomatopoeia, meaning the sound of expectorating (Spelt! 10 points for Gaston!). In reality, Spelt is a subspecies of wheat popular in the bronze age which is enjoying a new popularity among the health food crowd. Spelt flour acts a lot like wheat flour, though it absorbs more liquid than its more popular counterpart. The flour is sweet, so it is great for baking. And it makes excellent crepes.
These crepes were perfect: a little sweet, a little salty, a little nutty, with crispy edges and nice browned surfaces. They were quite easy to make--just a little labor intensive in the cooking phase. I am not an expert crepe maker, but it's amazing how much easier it gets after the first few crepes.* I developed a little dance around making the crepes. I didn't really trust myself to judge when the crepe was done (as they have a tendency to tear if you try to lift the edges up too soon). The recipe said they cook for one minute on the first side and forty-five seconds on the second side. So I would pour in the crepe then dash to the microwave and set it for a little less than a minute. When the time beeped, I would flip the crepe and then dash back to the microwave and set it for about forty seconds. It was quite silly, but I didn't lose a single crepe. So maybe it wasn't so silly after all?**
Ricotta Spelt Crepes
Makes about 14 crepes, which serves 4-6
1 cup whole milk, plus extra for thinning
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsps unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup spelt flour
2 tsps kosher salt
1 cup fresh ricotta
Butter for the pan***
1. Measure milk, honey, melted butter, eggs, flour, and salt into a blender (or receptacle for immersion blender). Blend batter until smooth. Pour batter into a bowl, cover, and let stand at room temperature for about an hour.
2. After the batter has rested, stir it together in case it has separated. If it's too thick (thicker than heavy cream), add a little milk until it's the right consistency. Stir in the ricotta, leaving a few lumps because the lumps of cheese are the best part.
3. Heat an 8 inch nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium high heat until water dances when dripped into the pan. Take your stick of butter and rub it quickly over the pan. If the butter burns, turn the burner down and try again.
4. Pour 1/4 c of batter into the pan, slightly off center. Turn the pan in a circle so the batter spreads out. Don't try to supplement it if there are empty spaces...those crepes just have character.
5. Cook the crepe for 1 minute on the first side. Slide a spatula under the edges to loosen the crepe, and then slide the spatula under a good amount of crepe and flip it in one motion. If it gets a little folded during the flipping process, you can smooth it out in the pan.
6. Cook for 45 seconds on the second side, then shake the crepe out onto a plate. Continue cooking crepes until your'e out of batter. You can stack all the crepes onto one plate and serve!
From Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce with Amy Scattergood
*The first crepe always looks like crap. Always. Just eat it and be done with it.
**No. No, it's still silly.
***If you have a really hot kitchen (like mine), you'll go through more butter. If your kitchen is nice and cool, you will use less.