I had a hard time transitioning to veganism because of the dairy and I was looking for ways to make the creamy French dishes I was used to with plants. That's when I stumbled on this cooking video from Miyoko: "Let Them Eat Crepes". I learned not only to make crêpes without milk and eggs, but also how to milk cashews and turn them into rich creamy béchamel. I could now be vegan without giving up on any of the delicious food I grew up with!
This gâteau de crêpes is a French take on Italian lasagna.
I hope it inspires you the way it inspired me. And it will certainly impress your friends and family!
Ingredients (serves 6):
* 2 cups flour
* 2 cups soy milk (I use oat milk in this video)
* 1/2 cup Just Egg
* 1 Tbsp oil (I use safflower)
* 1 pinch of salt
* 1 cup raw cashews
* 3 cups water
* salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste
* 1 kabocha squash, halved with seeds removed
* 1lb cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
* 0.5 oz dried mushrooms (optional, I use porcini)
* 4-6 shallots, finely chopped
* 1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped
* 1/2 cup red wine (I use pinot noir)
* 1lb greens (spinach or mixed greens), roughly chopped
There are many parts in this recipe that can be done in parallel, so read the recipe entirely before starting :)
It does take some time, but it's really worth it!
1) Kabocha layer:
Preheat oven to 400F.
Place both halves of the kabocha, face down, on a baking dish and add some water at the bottom. Bake for about 1 hour or until cooked
Scoop out flesh in a bowl. Mix in one cup of the béchamel sauce.
2) Duxelles layer:
Remove as much water as possible from the mushrooms by squeezing them with a towel or in a drainer.
(Optional) To add extra flavor, rehydrate the dried mushrooms with boiling water and let sit for 30 minutes. Squeeze them, chop them finely, and add to the fresh mushrooms.
In a pan, put a little oil and the shallots and cook until they are soft and golden. Add the mushrooms and salt. Cook for 15 minutes until the mushrooms are dry. Add the parsley and wine. Mix in one cup of the béchamel sauce.
3) Greens layer:
In a pan, put a little water and all the greens. Cook until reduced and water is mostly evaporated.
Mix in one cup of the béchamel sauce.
4) Béchamel: ( www.clorofil.org/post/milk-cream-and-béchamel ) Blend cashews with water. Cook in a saucepan until the sauce thickens. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste. 5) Crêpes: ( www.clorofil.org/post/french-crêpes ) Mix together flour, milk, Just Egg, salt, and oil.
Use a nonstick pan, ideally a crêpe pan, and oil it thoroughly. Heat it well on medium-high heat.
Remove briefly from heat and pour batter on it using a ladle. The batter should start sizzling right away. Cover the pan with a thin layer of batter by tilting the pan as shown in the video and cook until the edges are lifting (about a minute and a half).
Flip the crêpe and cook the other side for another minute and a half or till slightly brown.
Place the crêpe on a plate and keep warm with and repeat until you have 7 crêpes. If you have more batter, keep that to make sweet crêpes later :) 6) Assembly: In a dish, assemble the gâteau: 1 crêpe + kabocha + 1 crêpe + duxelles + 1 crêpe + greens, repeat, and end with a crêpe on top. Cover with aluminum foil, and put in the oven for 20 minutes at 400F. Remove foil and coat with the remaining béchamel sauce (you may need to reheat it before). Et voilà! Bon appétit!