Buckwheat crepes are commonly known in French as “crêpes de blé noir” or “crêpes de sarrasin” (blé noir and sarrasin both translating to buckwheat).
They are the quintessence of traditional Brittany cuisine, and if you’re visiting this beautiful North-Western French region, going to a “creperie” to enjoy one (or two, or three…) of these buckwheat crepes is an inevitable must-do.
Made with the simplest of ingredients (buckwheat flour, egg, salt and water), these 100% buckwheat crepes are the most authentic savoury French crepe recipe you’ll find (as opposed to the “crêpes de froment” – wheat flour crepes- that are meant to be enjoyed with sweet toppings).
The most classic variation (one you’ll always find at the top of a creperie menu) is the “crêpe complete” which includes ham, cheese (usually gruyere) and an egg (the egg is either done “mirroir”-sunny-side up– or “brouillé” –scrambled).
Another common variation in Brittany is the galette-saucisse (a specialty from the city of Rennes) where a grilled sausage is wrapped in the crepe and enjoyed with your hands (like a hot-dog). Mushrooms, French andouille (tripe sausage), and caramelized onions are also very popular toppings.
Although, I have to confess I often love to finish off my meal with a buckwheat crepe for dessert, topped with melted chocolate…
- Modern variations of this recipe add some wheat flour to provide some gluten and make the crepe more forgiving. To do so, switch a third of the total amount of flour (2/3 cups) with regular wheat flour. While not as authentic, this ratio will give you a batter that will be easier to work with and less prone to breakage – while providing a buckwheat flavour that is still dominant.
- Traditional crepes are made on a bilig, with the help of a roselle. Obviously, this is not the kind of equipment everyone has in their kitchen, but a non-stick pan and a rubber or wooden spatula will do just fine. Crepes are simply peeled off from the pan with the help of a spatula, and gently placed back upside down on the pan.
- If you are preparing a stack of crepes (to be garnished and enjoyed later), prepare a plate covered with a clean dish cloth. Each time you finish a crepe and peel it off from the pan, place it on the plate – preferably folded in half so it is easier to grab later- and cover it with the cloth. Pile your crepes on the plate, and make sure the cloth is always wrapped around your plate, nice and tight – so the steam is kept inside. This technique will make sure your crepes are evenly cooked and very tender.
2 cups Buckwheat flour (250g)
1 pinch of salt
Sift together the buckwheat flour and salt. Place in a big mixing bowl and create a well in the middle.
Break in the egg and mix with a spoon.
Now using a whisk, slowly add in some water until your batter becomes a velvety smooth liquid, that has the consistency of heavy cream.
Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet/pan over medium heat.
When your pan is hot, drop a in dollop of butter and swirl it in so it coats the entire pan evenly (the butter should melt right away when touching the pan, but not brown. If the butter browns, lower the heat a bit).
Immediately, add 1/3 cup of batter and swirl your pan quickly to completely cover the bottom. Cook until micro-bubbles form on all over the edges of the crepe (giving it a lace-like look) and the underside of the crepe is dry– about 2 minutes.
Loosen edge of crepe with a rubber spatula. Then, with your fingertips, peel off the crepe and quickly flip it. Cook for an additional 30 seconds.
Slide your crepe out of your pan, onto a plate, and cover with a dish cloth. Repeat. Well stacked and wrapped, your crepes can be kept up to 3 days in the fridge.
If you try these Buckwheat Crepes from Brittany let me know! Leave a comment or share a photo using #pardonyourfrench on Instagram.