Savoring Pancake Tuesday: A Culinary Journey with Crêpes de Sarrasin from my Grandmothers Kitchen in Brittany, France
As Pancake Tuesday, also known as Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras, approaches, the world is gearing up for a delightful day of indulgence before the solemnity of Lent begins. In this blog post, let's embark on a culinary adventure to Brittany, France, exploring the exquisite tradition of Crêpes or Galettes de Sarrasin—buckwheat pancakes that have become synonymous with this joyous occasion.
Origins of Crêpes de Sarrasin:
Crêpes have a long history in France, but the Crêpes de Sarrasin, or buckwheat crêpes, hold a special place in the hearts of the people of Brittany. Buckwheat, or sarrasin in French, was introduced to the region in the 12th century and quickly became a staple in the local cuisine.
The Perfect Buckwheat Batter:
Unlike the sweet and fluffy pancakes associated with breakfast, Crêpes de Sarrasin have a distinctive flavour and texture. The batter is made from a mixture of buckwheat flour, water, and a drop of oil. This results in a thin, delicate pancake with a nutty flavour and a slightly earthy undertone. Some recipes may add eggs or milk, but I learnt this recipe from my Grandmother, a proud Breton and excellent cook! So I continue to make it her way - less ingredients, simple, and also vegan and gluten free!
Art of the Pour:
One of the fascinating aspects of Crêpes de Sarrasin is the skill involved in making them. Expert crêpiers expertly pour the batter onto a hot circular griddle, spreading it thin and evenly. The result is a lacy, golden-brown crêpe that becomes the canvas for an array of delicious fillings.
What makes Crêpes de Sarrasin truly delightful is the variety of fillings that can be embraced. From savory options like ham, cheese, and mushrooms to sweet combinations like Nutella, bananas, and whipped cream, the possibilities are endless. This versatility makes them a perfect choice for both main courses and desserts.
In Brittany, Crêpes de Sarrasin are more than just a delicious treat; they are a cultural symbol. Families and friends often gather to enjoy a meal of crêpes together, fostering a sense of community and celebration. The act of flipping crêpes is also a tradition, with many attempting the skillful toss as a part of the festivities.
As we celebrate Pancake Tuesday, let's take a moment to savour the rich culinary heritage of Brittany, France, through the delicate and flavourful Crêpes de Sarrasin. Whether you choose to indulge in savoury or sweet fillings, these buckwheat pancakes offer a unique and delightful way to mark the occasion. So, gather your loved ones, embrace the art of the pour, and relish in the joy of Pancake Tuesday with a plateful of Crêpes de Sarrasin from the heart of Brittany.
Real Breton Pancakes like my Granny taught me.
You will need: Buckwheat Flour, Vegetable Oil, Water.
Making the crêpes (aka Galettes Bretonnes).
To make your crêpe, mix some Buckwheat flour with some water and mix thoroughly. The batter needs to be very thin - the consistency of liquid cream, or even slightly thinner, so keep adding water until it looks right.
Add a dollop of oil.
Heat a good non-stick pancake pan on the hob.
When it is very hot, use a tissue to wipe it with more oil, pour one ladle of batter onto the pan and swirl around to cover the whole pan. Your mixture should be thin enough that you only need one ladle per crêpe, and the pan hot enough so that the batter sizzles and bubbles as it is poured on.
Remember, the first pancake never works out - we give it to the dog!
Wait until the edges of the crêpe begin to curl, and if you shake the pan the crêpe moves on its own - now it is ready to be flipped.
Once your crêpes are cooked you can make a pile of them on a plate. Once cooled cover with cling-film and store in the fridge - they will be good for 3 days.
Want to get more stuff like this directly to your inbox? Why not Sign Up to Mad Jessie?!
Here's what people have had to say about the emails:
"You're so warm and welcoming! It's a great lift to see your emails!"