Sunday, October 26, 2014

WIP: Simple Allergy Friendly Buckwheat Crêpes

(WIP = Work in Progress), but in general these allergy friendly buckwheat crepes worked out pretty well. There is no dairy or wheat or nuts of any kind (since coconut or other tree nut-based ingredients are often part of dairy- and wheat-free foods) in the batter--but there is egg. The recipe is very simple, with just buckwheat flour, egg, water, and a pinch of salt. They're probably more brittle than if you include dairy in the batter, but otherwise they function as crepe skins and have a nice flavor to them. And really, I think you could probably do the same thing with other flours, or a mix a flours. You could probably even put in a pinch of xanthan gum or guar gum if you wanted it to be a little more flexible a crepe skin. Again, work in progress; I'll be playing with it from time to time.

Huh, look at that--turns out buckwheat crepes are a food with some history in France, generally savory and called "galettes". And looking a little further, it seems that actually, if you work the batter a lot, buckwheat will gelatinize. ...maybe I will get a stand mixer one day after all. There was a time, before I sussed out my dairy and wheat issues, that I wanted one in order to explore hand-pulled noodles and pastries. Of course, I shelved all that (and saved myself the money) when I figured out that they caused my system problems. Anyway, between this and the pistou discussed in my previous post, it seems that French cuisine has more to offer me than I knew--not that you ever really see these parts of it in the U.S. Though, there is a cafe serving galettes in the Mission District of San Francisco.

Pictured above, I made a savory crepe and a sweet crepe for breakfast this morning. For the savory one, I filled it with some of the scallop sautéed kale from the previous night, along with some pear/teardrop tomatoes. For the sweet, I filled it with bananas and local alfalfa honey. Both were really delicious! If I were just making sweet ones, then I'd think about incorporating cinnamon or other things like lemon zest into the batter possibly. And for the savory, maybe other spices, if I wanted to be elaborate. The simplicity and speed with which you can mix up the basic batter is really appealing to me, though.

What's that? My banana crepe looks funny to you? (It's okay, banana crepe, I thought you were delicious.) Well, yeah, the relative brittleness of the crepe meant that when I messed up my flipping technique, the crepe ended up breaking, so I had two half moons instead of a full moon.

[Technique note:] I think next time I'll just flip once and use the originally-top side (now bottom side after the flip) as the outside of the crepe; it's smoother and looks a little nicer than the wrinkled surface of the originally-bottom side--at least at the heat I was cooking at this time.

[UPDATE: added a note about the recipe proportions to adjust servings made and thickness of the crepes. Also edited the ingredients list and instructions slightly to incorporate what I learned in later attempts.]

Simple Allergy Friendly Buckwheat Crêpe
makes batter for 2 crepes

You can actually scale this recipe up to maybe four times its current proportion while sticking with the one egg. As it stands, the crepes cook up a little thick because of the egg and flour to water ratio. Increase the amount of water relative to the flour and egg for a thinner batter and thinner crepes. [UPDATE 2: it doesn't work! Keep the flour:water ratio unless you have a stand-mixer or a motor arm and want to go for the gelatinized buckwheat described in the linked page above.]
If the crepes are very thin it’ll be easier to flip and release from the pan if you have an actual flat crepe pan with its low edges. I don't have such a pan, so it's easier to work with if the crepes aren't so delicate. And because I'm usually cooking for one, it's easier for me just to use one egg and have thicker crepes rather than make too much batter.

50g (about 1/2 cup) buckwheat flour
100g water
1 egg
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar
vegetable oil

  1. Thoroughly whisk together ingredients in a bowl or measuring cup for ease of pouring.
  2. Heat a 10-inch skillet over medium-low heat for several minutes to bring the pan to cooking temperature. Use a paper towel folded over several times to wipe a thin layer of oil over the surface of the pan. Pour half the batter into the skillet and tilt the pan around to allow the batter to cover the surface in a thin layer. Cook until the crepe has set (about a minute). Slide a metal spatula underneath the crepe to release it and flip to briefly cook the other side.
  3. Add your filling, fold, and plate, or remove crepe from pan and fill afterward.


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