Indira and Noor have always enjoyed crepes. They like both the sweet sort, filled with Nutella or some confiture, as well as the savory kind (usually made with buckwheat) that we ate last month in Valberg, when we went up to the mountains to do some snow sledding on Noor’s birthday. That day Shri had just the plain – but awesome – buckwheat crepes that come with a generous dollop of beurre de bretagne, and the girls and I had them with a really satisfying topping of ham and some cheese.
Ever since, I have thought that I must try and make crepes at home, since we all enjoy them so much, though so far I have only ever bought the packaged, sweet variety from supermarkets for the girls’ gouter.
First, a little background on crepes. They are very think pancakes, made of a variety of flours, and can be both sweet or savory. Crepes are native to the region of Brittany, in northwestern France, where they are traditionally made with buckwheat flour and served with cider. The interesting thing about buckwheat is that it is not a variety of wheat; in fact it is not a cereal at all. It is classified as a “pseudocereal” – it is a broadleaf plant and not a grass (true cereals are grasses). Buckwheat – called sarrasin in French – is gluten-free and a rich source of proteins and iron.
And as it has turned out, crepes are just wonderfully easy and quick to make. What’s more, the substitution of whole wheat for plain flour doesn’t make a discernible difference to the taste. I was quite relieved to see that the girls ate the ones I made today with whole wheat flour with as much enthusiasm as they did the one I made last week with white flour.
Noor and I shared one today with a filling of a little bit of a salmon spread that we both like, instead of Nutella, and that was very nice too. So I am now planning to go the whole hog and make the savory kind one day for dinner, with sarrasin flour.
This recipe, based on the one in Linda Doeser’s “Les 100 Meilleures Recettes – Cuisine Vegetarienne” is, to borrow a phrase from Indira and her friends, easy peasy lemon squeezy 🙂
Whole wheat Crepes
115-120 gms of whole wheat flour, with 1/4 tsp of salt added in (if you have time, sift these two together)
300 ml of milk ( either whole cream or half-fat)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon of sunflower oil
In a mixing bowl, stir in half the milk and the egg in to the flour till the batter is quite smooth. Add the rest of the milk, and the oil, and mix till well combined.
Ideally, leave the batter to rest for 30-60 minutes.
Heat a medium-sized crepe pan till it is very hot. Put a little knob of butter on the pan, and quickly spread it over the surface of the pan with a kitchen towel. Now lift the pan off the heat, pour 1/3 a small cup of batter on to the pan, and quickly bend and turn the pan every which way till the batter covers the entire surface of the pan. Put the pan back on the hob, turn the heat down just a little, and cook till the top of the crepe appears to be dry. Flip it over with a spatula, and cook the other side for 1/2 a minute or so, lifting every few seconds towards the end to check if it is done.
Repeat the process with the rest of the batter. Try not to keep the crepes one on top of the other as they can get difficult to separate.
(Crepes can be cooked in an oven too; more about that another time)
Keep each prepared crepe on a large surface and when it is a little cool, spread any sweet or savory filling over one half, then fold the crepe over twice to form a triangle.
Et voila ! That is all it takes to create a great snack, or with some salad on the side, a very nice meal.