classic French buckwheat crêpe

sexy-ass-crepeI’m sitting inside a cozy warm apartment on a cold Paris winter day. It’s not too bad with some Kurt Vile streaming into my ears, using space to create movement, engaging a certain monotony that is both appeasing and tense.

As someone who loves creating, finding joy in this repetition is after all the hardest art. To break the unwritten laws that spontaneity is a one-off, that improvisation cannot be planned, that’s where some true pleasure seeps in.

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I hosted a gluten-free cooking class in Paris the other day and a gal from California asked me what my “go-to” weeknight meal would be. I kinda laughed to myself, as I said out loud, “I don’t like making the same thing twice,” meaning, there was no one set of meal that I had on repeat. I don’t use recipes when I cook or bake – moreover inspirations from previous dishes to prompt a new creation that will resemble, certainly, a new one to come.

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But, I did have to think, what are my usual suspects when eating at home in a hurry? Roasted vegetables, sweet potato fries, seared fish, vegan desserts made with coconut oil and its cream, and, oh, oh yes, this one: BUCKWHEAT CRÊPES. This is a dish both my husband and I know how to cook well (he’s French, so, you know) and and it is such a reassuring one at that: you prepare the batter in advance, because you must, and know that when it comes time for that tummy to grumble, it’s ready for you. It fills you up and is warm and comforting. It’s so happy.

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I’m actually surprised I haven’t shared this recipe with you guys yet. I do have my Holy Crepe, it’s Gluten-Free recipe, but it’s not a traditional savory crêpe recipe. You see, over here they eat buckwheat crêpes uniquely with savory fillings, and crêpes from “froment”, or wheat flour [or rice flour in our case], for something sweet.

On the West Coast of France in Brittany, where crêpes originate, the buckwheat savory crêpe is something of a poor man’s food. Or at least that’s how it started. They didn’t even add eggs! They’d let the buckwheat flour sit long enough with the water and the salt so that it stuck together when cooked at a high temperature.

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Perhaps our flour has changed, or maybe I don’t let my buckwheat mix sit long enough, but I still do like adding a bit of egg for texture and binding properties. For this is indeed the key to making a good crêpe batter: let the dough sit for at least 2 hours, preferably 8!

crepe-with-goat's-cheesecrepe-in-pan-with-salmon-and-cheesefolding-edges-over-with-crepe

Thus, here’s one of my “go-to” recipes if you could say that. Fill it with anything from hummus and avocado (which I’ve gotten to doing lately, it’s amazing) to goat’s cheese and vegetables, to smoked salmon and yogurt and dill… the crêpe is your oyster! Or, maybe not an oyster, but, ehm youknowwhatImean.

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classic French buckwheat crêpes

Serves about 4 large crepes
Prep time 2 hours
Cook time 5 minutes
Total time 2 hours, 5 minutes
Allergy Egg
Dietary Corn Free, Dairy Free, Diabetic, Gluten Free, Lactose Free, Nut Free, Soy Free, Vegetarian
Meal type Breakfast, Lunch, Main Dish, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot

Ingredients

  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 Medium eggs (which might mean small in America, as the eggs here are tiny!)

Note

When it comes time to cook, I highly recommend using a large skillet made for crepes or pancakes.  Or at least a heavyweight non-stick pan, that way the heat is evenly dispersed and the crepe comes up easily!

Directions

the batter
Step 1 Measure all of your ingredients and whisk them together at once, so that no clumps form. You want the batter to be runny, so not like pancake batter. So, add enough water until there is some viscosity but it is not too watery. Depends on your flour, but these measurements are good for me.
Step 2 Let your batter sit, covered, for at least 2 hours so that the flour can incorporate. If leaving overnight, keep in the refrigerator. Can keep for up to two days.
cook
Step 3 Heat a tablespoon of olive oil on your hot crepe or pancake skillet (ideally) and add in a full large ladel of the batter, angling your pan around to spread the batter until it's in an even circle.
Step 4 Cook this side for about 1 minute, until bubbles have started and the bottom is browned. Flip, using a wide spatula, and then add whatever toppings you like to heat them. Season them with salt if needed.
Step 5 Cook for another minute, until browned but not crisped, and either fold in the sides like I did in the photos or fold in half for more of a "taco" type crepe.
serve
Step 6 Transfer to serving plate and drizzle with a bit of olive oil, paprika or cayenne pepper, some sea salt flakes, and a salad or greens on the side. Cider is also traditionally served with crepes in France, so enjoy something made locally if you can find it. 🙂

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