In my family, a big amount of crepes batter would usually be made, and there would be a choice of savoury (ham, grated cheese, tomato slices, fried eggs - usually cooked on the crepes - etc.) and sweet toppings (chocolate spread, jams, sugar, caramel sauce) on the table.
There is also the tradition that each of the guests should try and flip a crepe. The way you do it is by holding a coin (gold, preferably) in your writing hand and hold the crepes pan in your other hand. Flip the crepe in the air and if it falls back perfectly on its other side in the pan, it will bring prosperity to you and your family for the year. Or in our case, it would mostly bring laughter for the rest of the evening when staring at a crepe that had gotten stuck on the ceiling (the result of some powerful crepe flipping).
Buckwheat galettes are very easy to make and need only three ingredients: buckwheat flour, salt and water (we sometimes add one egg to get a bit of colour, but it is optional). After that, you can choose to fill it with what you want. My favourite topping when eating out in a French crepes restaurant is sauteed scallops with creamed leeks (I am hungry just thinking of this).
If you are reading this from Australia, Melbourne in particular, make your way to Hardware Lane in the Melbourne CBD. There, you will find a super little crepes and galettes restaurant called Le Triskel. I have eaten countless galettes and crepes accompanied by little bowls of cider there during my three years living in Melbourne. The owners, Michael and Patrizia, are really lovely and friendly. I heard they now also have a little crepes stand (made of an old newsstand) on one of the main streets of the Melbourne CBD, lucky Melburnians! If I was still in Melbourne, I would definitely head there next Monday.
But I am not in Australia or France whatsoever so I will be making my own crepes this Monday. Last year, I made buckwheat crepes with caramelised apples for Pancake Tuesday. This year, I want to make proper buckwheat galettes for some savoury toppings and then a batch of crepes batter to have with some delicious jam or sugar and lemon.
To make things a bit different and not stick to just ham and cheese, I created a twist with a delicious roasted garlic and parsley crème fraîche to scoop on top. And it was so delicious I am sharing the recipe with you all!
I have divided the recipes in three: the plain buckwheat galettes batter (so you can also make some to have with the toppings of your choice - and it is vegan when removing the egg), the flavoured crème fraîche (which I guess would also be delicious swirled through some pasta or in a soup) and the final recipe is the one assembling everything into delicious ham and cheese galettes with roasted garlic and parsley crème fraîche.
I honestly cannot wait for Monday to make more of those, I may well have to make a small batch between now and then!
Will some of you celebrate French Crepes Day? Or will you wait for Pancake Tuesday?
Either way, I hope you give this recipe a try and bon appétit!
Ingredients (make 12 medium size galettes)
330g buckwheat flour
1 heaped teaspoon sea salt
750ml cold water
1 egg (optional - remove it for vegan galettes)
For greasing the pan: light olive oil or vegetable oil, a sheet of kitchen paper.
1. Mix the buckwheat flour and salt in a large baking bowl. Add the cold water in 3 or 4 goes, whisking well after each time. Add the egg (it is optional as it just adds colour to the galettes - remove if vegan) and mix well. Cover the bowl of batter with cling film and rest in the fridge for an hour and a half (I made mine the day before and let it rest overnight).
2. When the batter has rested, take it out and stir it well before use. Pour some light olive oil or vegetable oil in a small bowl, tear a sheet of kitchen paper and fold it in 4.
Put a crêpe pan (or a shallow non-stick pan, 20 or 25cm diameter preferably - alternatively, and if you are so lucky to have one, use a galette pan) over a medium heat. When the pan is hot, dip the piece of kitchen paper in the oil and grease the pan. 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. Cook the other side for 2 minutes (account for 2 minutes on each side) and transfer onto a plate. Repeat until there is no batter left.
- You can stack your galettes on a large plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm before serving. Have some topping ready so each person can make their own filled galette.
- Or have some toppings ready by the hob and once the galette is turned over, add the ingredients on top (such as an egg, grated cheese, spinach, ham etc.). Fold the edges of the galette, leaving some ingredients apparent (see photos above and below).
- Galettes are traditionally served with savoury toppings but I have been cheeky once or twice (actually, way more than that!) and spread chocolate or jam on the top.
1 garlic head
2 teaspoons olive oil
5 tablespoons crème fraîche
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
Peel the outer layer of the garlic head and trim the top (see photo above). Put it cut side up in a little piece of aluminum foil, drizzle the olive oil on the top.
Fold the aluminum foil to cover the top. Put on the middle shelf of the oven and roast for 35 to 40 minutes (the garlic cloves should feel soft). Set aside until cooled down.
2. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins and mash with a fork in a bowl. Whisk in the crème fraîche and chopped parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Ingredients (for 6 people - make 12 medium size galettes)
galettes batter (see recipe above)
light olive oil (and kitchen paper for greasing the pan)
6 slices of ham cut in halves (or 12 small slices)
100g grated gruyère cheese
roast garlic and parsley crème fraîche (see recipe above)
Following the buckwheat galettes recipe and steps above, add the ham and grated gruyère on top of the galette when it has been turned on its other side in the pan. This will allow the cheese to melt.
Serve 2 galettes per person with a serving of roast garlic and parsley crème fraîche on top.
- The galettes are served as soon as ready, so maybe use two pans to allow for faster cooking and serving.
- Alternatively, keep a warm oven and stack the galettes on a tray in it to serve all at the same time (place a sheet of greaseproof paper in between so they don't stick to each other).
- For fewer people, reduce the amount of toppings and reserve some galettes for dessert with sweet toppings (beware who you are serving them to as it could be sacrilege to some French people...).