Make the pancakes first. Mix the eggs, egg yolk, sugar and melted butter in a small bowl. Scrape the vanilla seeds into the milk, add the vanilla pod and place over low heat until heated through. Sift the flour into a large jug, make a well in the centre and pour in the egg and butter mixture. Add the warm milk and mix until the batter is free of lumps. Rest the batter for at least 1 hour or store it in the fridge for the next day.
Heat a frying pan and add a drizzle of oil. Add a ladleful of batter and tilt the pan to spread it evenly. Cook for about 1 minute over medium heat until the bottom is golden. Flip and cook the other side for a minute. Remove the pancake from the pan and keep warm. Repeat with the rest of the batter, or keep the batter in the fridge for up to two days. The batter makes 10–15 pancakes.
For the béchamel, heat the milk, studded onion and bay leaf until just simmering. Remove from the heat and set aside to infuse for 30 minutes. Discard the studded onion and bay leaf. Heat butter in a saucepan until melted. Add the flour and fry the roux until golden. Whisk in the milk and cook for 5 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened and the flour has cooked out. Add the cheese and season well. Place a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming.
For the mushrooms, heat a large pan over high heat. Add the mushrooms and dry-fry until golden and all the moisture has evaporated. Add the butter and thyme and season well with salt and pepper.
To serve, divide the mushrooms and some shaved Gruyère between two pancakes, fold over and pour the béchamel over the top. Top with extra shaved Gruyère.
Extracted from JAN – A Breath of French Air by Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen (Struik Lifestyle)