Known in French as “Crêpes Vonnassiennes” or “Crêpes Parmentières”, these fluffy little Potato Pancakes are actually properly known as “Crêpes” and are a delicious specialty hailing from Vonnas, in the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region of France.
The recipe was created by Elisa Blanc (known as “Mère Blanc”) who was the grandmother of legendary Michelin-star Chef Georges Blanc. She invented these small-sized pancakes made from mashed potatoes mixed with milk and eggs, until reaching a liquidy batter consistency, which is then cooked on a pan.
This home-style regional specialty is not so much known outside of Auvergne. In fact, truth to be told, I had never heard of them until last week, when I was looking for some regional French recipes that made use of potatoes.
But after trying them, I can definitely say that they should be famous, both within and outside of France!
They are simple to make, delicious, versatile and definitely bound to become a favorite in my household. The use of mashed potatoes gives a really unique taste and an incredibly delicate texture (and this is also a great way to make use of left-over mashed potatoes).
In Auvergne, these potato pancakes are traditionally meant to be enjoyed with a Bresse chicken with cream and mushrooms (the signature dish of Chef George Blanc). But people enjoy them in so many ways, served on their own with toppings (I enjoyed mine with mushroom, cheese and spinach) or to accompany a meal of meat in sauce, or even fish. They are also perfect used for dessert, with fruits and a sprinkle of powdered sugar.
These crepes also remind me of blinis, so I can certainly see them being served with smoked salmon or tarama. Really, I think they’d go with almost anything!
Cooking notes :
- For the potato mash, choose higher starch potatoes (like Russets or Yukon golds). Avoid waxy potatoes.
- If using leftover potato mash, take it out of the fridge at least 1 hour prior to bring it back to room temperature. If the mash is too cold, it will be too firm and results in a batter that is too thick.
If you try these Potato pancakes from Vonnas recipe let me know! Leave a comment or share a photo using #pardonyourfrench on Instagram.
1 pound of potatoes, peeled (500g)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 medium sized eggs + 4 medium size egg whites
2 tablespoons crème fraiche (or sour cream)
Prepare the mashed potatoes - Bring a big pot of water to a boil. Add a sprinkle of salt and add the potatoes (peeled). Boil until tender. Drain and mash until smooth (but thick). Set aside to cool.
Once cooled a bit, add the flour and mix until just incorporated. Add the eggs, egg whites and cream and mix well. The batter should be smooth and liquidy (but not too liquidy, a bit custard-like).
On medium-low heat, melt a dollop of butter in a frying pan.
Add a small ladle of the batter onto the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until bubbles start to form (just as if you were making pancakes.) Flip and cook 1 more minute, until golden. Repeat for each pancake.
Try more Crêpe recipes: