As it happens, I like eating crepes all year long and in many variations: plain flour, gluten free with buckwheat, sweet and savoury. For me, Pancake Tuesday is just another excuse to eat more crepes. And what a fantastic excuse!
When I was younger and still lived in France, Sunday night in my family was almost always dedicated to a dinner of savoury galettes de blé noir (buckwheat crepes) and sweet crepes. My mother would whip up the galette and crepe batters in no time at all, fry the crepes, flip them over, organise the toppings (tomato slices, ham, grated cheese, sugar, chocolate and jams) in different plates and bowls and we would all ceremoniously enjoy our beloved crepes.
I make crepes for last minute dinners, brunches (with toppings of roasted cherry tomatoes and sauteed mushrooms) and for dinner parties or breakfasts with friends.
My recipe for buckwheat crepes differs a bit from the one of the renowned galettes from Brittany. The real galettes de blé noir batter contains buckwheat flour, egg and water. My batter is more similar to the one of crepes as it contains melted butter and milk instead of water.
With a big bag of Royal Gala apples sitting on the counter, I had the perfect idea for a crepes topping: some delicious caramelised apples. After cooking the apples in the caramel, you will be left with some wonderful melt-in-your-mouth pieces of fruit and a lovely apple caramel syrup to drizzle over the crepes.
I kept some of the buckwheat crepes to have for dinner with a bit of ham and cheese (they are easy to reheat in the microwave oven). But along the day, I would grab a couple of crepes, add a spoonful of caramelised apples and have a wonderful time. I enjoyed them with a cup of lemon green tea but a glass of dry cider would be a wonderful accompaniment.
For the buckwheat crepes batter
200g sifted buckwheat flour
2 free range eggs
40g melted unsalted butter (plus extra cold unsalted butter for frying)
For the caramelised apples topping
4 apples (medium size, peeled and cut in small dice)
150g golden caster sugar
30g unsalted butter
1 pinch fleur de sel
1. Put the sifted buckwheat flour in a large baking bowl and form a well in the centre. Add in the eggs and melted butter and whisk constantly while pouring the milk until you get a very smooth batter. Transfer the batter through a sieve into a large jug (this will remove any remaining flour lumps). Cover and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
2. Put a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add in the sugar and butter. Once the butter has completely melted, stir and keep doing so until the crumbly sugar has transformed into a velvety deep amber coloured caramel sauce. This should take 8 to 10 minutes.
3. Add the small apple dice to the caramel. Coat well the apple pieces with the caramel sauce. The caramel should harden a bit when in contact with the cold apples. Cook for 10 minutes stirring often until the apples have softened (but not mushed) and the caramel is all melted. Add a pinch of fleur de sel or sea salt and stir well. Transfer into a serving bowl and set aside.
4. Put a crêpe pan (or a shallow non-stick pan, 20cm diameter preferably) over a medium heat. Take the batter out and stir it well. Melt a small knob of butter in the pan. When it starts sizzling, pour a small amount of batter (you can use a ladle to do so but do not fill it completely or you will end up with very thick crepes; it should be the equivalent of 2 or 3 tablespoons). Swirl the pan quickly so the batter coats the bottom evenly. When bubbles start forming at the top, delicately turn it over with a spatula.
5. Cook the other side for about 30 seconds then slide the crepe on a large plate. Cover with tin foil to keep warm.
Repeat with the rest of the batter.
Serve 2 or 3 crepes per person with the caramelised apples and a drizzle of the apple caramel syrup resulting from it.
These unsweetened buckwheat crepes are also delicious with some savoury toppings (ham and cheese, sliced tomatoes and grated mozzarella, creamed leek and sauteed scallops, etc.).
Tip: when cooking the crepes, warm up your oven (low heat) and put the plate of crepes in it to keep them warm before serving.