Vegan Rhubarb Crepes...because rhubarb is one of my favorite spring flavors and crepes are so easy to make.
I've been experimenting with a plant-based diet. Not in an all-or-nothing way but as a gradual crowding out of refined, cholesterol-laden, sugary, and high-fat foods. I've always eaten a mostly healthy diet, but as I discover ever healthier ways to eat I find I feel better, have more energy, suffer little to no joint pain, and naturally and slowly lose excess weight.
So far the results have been fantastically tasty as I veg-experiment my way to better health. I'm hoping to retain good health as I approach my 70's and beyond.
Seasonal eating is something I've enjoyed for many years and now living near the woods (just across the road from my condo) I've been able to forage for many flavorful and nutritional wild foods.
Just over the rooftops and across the road, the view from my front porch is the woods beyond.
In addition to dandelion greens, wild mushrooms, fiddle head ferns, and ramps, rhubarb is another of my favorite Springtime tastes.
I don't have to forage far for rhubarb as there is a lovely, large rhubarb patch in the garden near the condo's garages and today I harvested some for the first time this season.
Spring comes late here in the northern neck of Idaho so our rhubarb is now ready to harvest, while in many areas June spells the end of the harvest period.
The following recipe is vegan with swap outs listed in parenthesis for those preferring a more eggy, dairy-centric version.
Do try the vegan version, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at how good "healthy" can taste!
The crepes are egg-less and dairy-less, the cream topping is nut-based, there is some needed sweetening, but no refined or fake sweeteners were used. Raw sugar and honey are used to lightly sweeten, where needed.
Recipe: Rhubarb Crepe Filling (serves 6 to 8)
For the Rhubarb filling/topping:
1-1/2 pounds of rhubarb divided. Cut 3/4's pound in one-inch pieces, the other in 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside the half-inch pieces.
1/4 cup raw sugar (I used Sugar-In-the-Raw brand)
2 TBS water
In a medium sauce pan add the 3/4's pound of one-inch pieces of rhubarb, the sugar and the water. Bring the pan contents to a simmer and cook this down for about 30 minutes, covered, - stirring occasionally - until it's broken down, pudding-like, and thickened.
Add the 3/4's pound of 1/2-inch pieces of rhubarb to the sauce.
Bring to a simmer, cover the pan, and allow to cook on low for about 5 minutes until the recently added rhubarb is soft but still chunky. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
* * * *
While the rhubarb simmers you'll have time to make the Egg-less Crepes.
Eggless Crepes (makes about 10 crepes)
1 TBS Egg Replacer (EnerG brand see Notes for a homemade version) plus 4 TBS water well mixed (or 2 eggs)
1-1/2 cups almond milk (regular milk)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, sifted (unbleached white flour)
1 tsp raw sugar or honey (sweetener of choice)
2 TBS vegan butter, melted, or olive oil (regular butter)
coconut oil for the skillet
Whisk or blend all ingredients together, whisking/blending in melted vegan butter or oil last. The batter should be somewhat thin. Set this aside for 15 minutes at room temperature for batter to temper.
Heat an 8-inch, non-stick skillet or a well-seasoned pan with a light coating of coconut oil applied thinly with a paper towel. You'll be able to use less oil, less often if your pan is of the non-stick variety. Your burner should be turned to medium-high or a bit hotter.
When a few drops of water skitter and sizzle when dropped onto the pan's cooking surface it's ready to for the crepes.
Ladle 1/4 cup of batter into the center of the skillet and immediately swirl the skillet to coat the bottom with batter.
This crepe is not ready to turn as it's still wet.
Cook the initial side for one to two minutes until the top is bubbly and no longer runny or wet and until you see a thin edge of the crepe just starting to brown.
Flip the crepe and cook a minute or two more. Lift an edge with a spatula or knife to check for doneness.
Stack the finished crepes on a paper towel-covered plate to prevent condensation between plate and bottom of first crepe. When the crepes have cooled , insert pieces of waxed paper or parchment between the crepes, seal the bag and place in the fridge.
While the crepes are cooling you can make the Cashew Cream. Of course, you can substitute whipping cream, if you choose.
Cashew Cream (3/4's to 1 cup of cream)
1/2 cup raw cashews soaked for about 15 minutes to soften, then rinsed and drained
1/2 cup water
1 TBS raw honey
1/4 tsp vanilla or almond extract
1 drop orange extract
light dash sea salt
Dash cinnamon or nutmeg
1 TBS arrowroot or cornstarch
Sliced almonds to garnish, optional
Place all ingredients into a blender or Bullet (NutriBullet). Blend until very smooth. Pour into a small sauce pan, heat on low whisking constantly until thickened and smooth. Refrigerate until needed.
You may reheat the rhubarb mixture, crepes and cashew cream or serve room temperature, or chilled, as desired.
To assemble, place a line of rhubarb filling down the center of the crepe and fold one side over the other.
The crepes may be folded as above or folded in half, then in half again for a triangular shape. Arranged around plate, points inward, and half covered with rhubarb filling, the drizzled with cashew cream for a nice presentation. Another presentation is to make a crepe cake by stacking the crepes on top of one another with the filling spooned on between each crepe and topped with more filling and dollops of Cashew Cream.
Spoon some of the rhubarb filling over the top of the crepe, then top with a dollop or two of cashew cream. Sprinkle on some sliced almonds as an optional garnish, if desired.
Homemade egg replacer for each egg you're replacing in a recipe.
One egg equals...
1 teaspoons cornstarch
2 Tablespoons water
Nifty thing about crepes is that they're easier to make than pound cake or pie and don't require the long baking times keeping the house cooler in hot weather.
Crepes have an elegant mystique about them that elevates everything you wrap them with, such as fruit fillings, creamed veggies and shell fish. You name it, nearly everything is better in a crepe!