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Leek, Apple, Fennel Sausage, and Goat Cheese Crêpes


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  • For the filling:
  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 oz. bulk Italian sausage
  • 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds, lightly toasted in a dry skillet and crushed
  • 2 medium tart apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 large leeks (white and light green parts), washed well and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick (about 2 lb. before trimming)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Brown Butter Crêpes
  • 3-1/2 oz. (7 Tbs.) unsalted butter; more softened for the pan
  • 1-3/4 cups whole milk; more as needed
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 6-3/4 oz. (1-1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • To finish the crêpes:
  • 4 oz. fresh goat cheese
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter (optional), plus more for the baking dish
  • 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds, lightly toasted in a dry skillet and crushed



Step 1

In a 1- to 2-quart saucepan, cook the butter over medium heat, swirling it every few seconds, until melted and the milk solids at the bottom of the pan turn golden-brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Immediately pour the brown butter into a small bowl and let cool almost to room temperature.

Combine the milk, eggs, and salt in a blender. Blend for a few seconds to combine. Add the flour and blend until very smooth, about 20 seconds. Add the brown butter and blend for another 10 seconds.

Pour the batter into a large bowl and let rest for at least 5 minutes and up to 24 hours. (If resting for more than 30 minutes, cover and refrigerate.)

When ready to cook the crêpes, check the batter; it should be as thick as heavy cream, not as thick as pancake batter. If it feels too thick, whisk in up to 1/2 cup more milk.

Heat a crêpe pan with an 8-inch base or a 10-inch nonstick skillet with an 8-inch base over medium-high heat until it’s hot enough for a drop of water to sizzle. Using a folded paper towel, grease the pan with about 1/4 tsp. butter. The butter should sizzle upon contact but not instantly turn brown. If it does, reduce the heat as necessary.

Using a ladle or measuring cup, pour 1/4 cup of the batter into the center of the pan while simultaneously lifting the pan from the heat and tilting and turning it in all directions so the batter spreads evenly across the bottom in a thin circle. If the crêpe has any holes in it, quickly add a few drops of batter to fill them in.

Cook until the edges begin to dry and lift from the sides of the pan and the bottom is nicely browned (lift up an edge with a small silicone spatula or your fingers to check), about 1 minute. Use the spatula or your fingers to flip the crêpe over. Cook until the second side is browned, about 20 seconds more.

Slide the crêpe from the pan onto a large plate or cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining batter, adjusting the heat and spreading more butter in the pan every two or three crêpes, or whenever the pan begins to look a bit dry. You can stack the crêpes on the plate as they’re done; they won’t stick. The crêpes will soften as they cool.

Make the filling:

Heat 1 Tbs. of the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Crumble the sausage into the skillet and cook it, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink. As you cook and stir, break the sausage into small bits with the spoon and take care not to let it brown to the point of crustiness. Stir in the crushed fennel seeds. Scoop the sausage out of the skillet and transfer it to a paper towel–lined plate to drain.

Pour off the fat from the skillet, add 1 tbsp of the oil, and then the apples and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the apples are tender and beginning to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the apples to a large bowl, and add the sausage to the bowl as well.

Add the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil to the skillet, and then add the leeks and 1/2 tsp salt. Cover and cook, stirring frequently, until the leeks are very soft, fragrant, and sweet, about 20 minutes. Season with pepper and more salt, if necessary. Add the leeks to the sausage and apples and gently toss them all together.
Finish the crêpes:

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425°F. Butter the bottom of a 9-x-13-inch baking dish.

Lay the crêpes presentation-side down on a clean work surface. Divide the goat cheese equally among the crêpes, spreading it in a thick horizontal line across the center of each one. Spread about 1/2 cup of the sausage filling evenly over the cheese. To fold, pull the bottom edge of each crêpe up and over the filling and roll it up a half turn. Tuck in each side, and finish rolling up from the bottom. Arrange the crêpes seam-side down in a single layer in the prepared baking dish. They should be snuggled in tightly together. Brush the tops of the crêpes with the melted butter, if using, and sprinkle with the crushed fennel. Bake until heated through, 10 to 12 minutes, and serve right away.

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