Galettes de Sarrasin (Buckwheat Crêpes) – The French Pancake

by Jenn on September 28, 2010

in Breakfast,Desserts,Gluten Free,Photography

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Living in a French-speaking region (and not too far from France), crêperies are easy to find.  Unfortunately, because crêpe batter is usually not 100% buckwheat, my husband and I have never been to one because we were never sure if he’d be able to enjoy them and still be gluten free.  Back when we lived in the States, one of our favorite French restaurants would serve crêpes filled with chicken and mushrooms that were out of this world.  Then, when we ventured off to Paris a couple months ago, I had the privilege of enjoying a crêpe filled with four kinds of cheese (au quatre fromages) – I think there was comté, brie, emmental, and chevre – an odd combo, but delicious.  Little tiny hole-in-the-wall place by the Louvre that made them to order, I think with the café, my total came to something like only 5 euros!

Peace Monument and L'École Militaire, Paris Peace Monument, Paris

I always felt bad for my husband, because every time I’ve been able to enjoy the delectably thin envelopes of pan-fried goodness that can envelop such a multitude of flavors, he had to miss out.  Even the buckwheat ones, which so often were not 100% GF.  I had always been hesitant to try them at home, because I don’t own a crêpe maker, nor a special short-lipped pan specifically made for them.  Not having seen anyone make them with a regular old frying pan, I always figured that the special equipment was necessary for a proper crêpe.

However, one should never doubt the power of a stainless frying pan!  This was the lesson that I learned this weekend.  Crêpes can totally be made in nothing more than a plain old frying pan – doesn’t even have to be non-stick!  And making them gluten free? Well that’s the easy part – crêpes, pancakes, waffles, and the like all hate gluten.  Gluten free does it better in my eyes, making for some of the lightest most beautiful versions of our favorite breakfast foods.  Given that the recipe for these buckwheat crêpes was already 75% gluten free, I just substituted the last 25% of AP flour for my generic all-purpose GF mix – it was perfect!

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Really, crêpes aren’t all that different from a pancake.  No baking soda because they don’t need to be fluffy – just light and thin.  And because there is no baking soda to activate, it’s no longer necessary to have buttermilk providing acidity in the batter; any old milk will do just fine.  One thing I found unique about making crêpes was the need to let the batter sit out for a couple of hours before using it.  I’m still not quite sure why this is required, maybe to allow the flour and liquid to interact more and make for a smoother batter? I could be wrong, but I haven’t tried skipping that step yet so not exactly sure.

Of course to test crêpes I needed a scrumptious filling.  I went for the peaches that desperately needed using, didn’t even bother peeling them – just cut them up, juices dripping off the cutting board all over my hands, and tossed them into a pan – softened them up over the heat in some butter and maple syrup, a little cinnamon/vanilla, and called it good.  I don’t know how much longer we’ll be able to find nice peaches, so I wanted to enjoy them while they still are fairly reasonably priced!

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Cooking the actual crêpes was so easy.  Effortless even.  Don’t be intimidated, just go for it!  Fill them with whatever your heart desires.  Use them to remember times traveling with friends, or to create new memories.  But most of all, be creative, and find freedom with them.  Even gluten free cooking, with all the crazy different flours and ingredients out there, yes, even gluten free cooking can give you freedom in the kitchen.  Dessert, dinner, breakfast, tasty snack, make these crêpes to suit whatever you are in the mood for!

Also submitted to – Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and Gluten Free Wednesdays

{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica Meyer September 28, 2010 at 12:38 am

These look so delicious! Your photography is fabulous and the food really stands out. I can’t remember the last time I had a crepe… Will definitely be trying this recipe. Thank you! :)

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Jenn September 28, 2010 at 12:45 am

Thanks so much for the wonderful compliments!! I hope you enjoy the crêpes!!

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Chelsey September 28, 2010 at 1:05 am

Crepes, pancakes, waffles and the like do hate gluten…especially when they are in my kitchen, lol! A very anti-gluten place :). You have to wonder why you need to wait a half an hour for the batter to rest, eh? I made crepes a couple of months ago and kept the step In place because I wanted successful crepes too, but would it be so bad to skip that step? I don’t know. If I could guess, I would assume the waiting part is for gluten in regular cepes to relax…I think I’ll risk skipping the step next time I make them and see how it goes. I like to live on the wild side!

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Jenn September 28, 2010 at 7:38 am

Oh your reasoning sounds much more plausible than mine, I bet you are right about letting the gluten relax in traditional crêpes…Curious to hear about how they go if you skip that step!

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Gertie September 30, 2010 at 3:07 pm

I really like your blog, the recipes and photographs.
I have to adapt the recipes because whe can’t have dairy, eggs or grains but its always nice to find new ideas.
I make buckwheat crêpes just with buckwheat, no GF mix, and the taste is much better when the dough can rest for a few hours (all night). I find its also much easier to bake them.

Jenn September 30, 2010 at 4:15 pm

@Gertie – oh that is really interesting that you bake your crêpes! Would you be willing to share how you bake them??

Gertie September 30, 2010 at 7:19 pm

My recipe is really simple, but quite nice :
180 gr buckwheat flour
+/- 2 cups of water
1/4 tsp salt
Mix it / beat it for 10 minutes and let it rest over night.
In the morning I bake some very thin ‘smoked ‘ bacon (on both sides, in a non-stick pan) and add the ‘pancake’ batter. Bake until dry on top, turn and bake other side.
Serve like this or with blueberries ( cooked with some sugar).

ps: my english is not that good. I use the term ‘bake’ when making pancakes or crêpes and when reading your recipe again , I think it must be ‘fry’?

Jenn October 1, 2010 at 7:51 am

Hmm I think you are right! No worries, I certainly know what it’s like to mix-up words, I do it all time time speaking (or trying to speak) français…. Yeah “bake” implies that the cooking is done in the oven, so “fry” would be more appropriate. Looks like a great recipe, glad to see that crêpes can be made with only buckwheat as well!!

Kim - Cook It Allergy Free September 28, 2010 at 1:03 am

Oh my, Jenn, these crepes sound wonderful!! I am going to be so making these. I love crepes, but do not make them since I do not have a crepe maker (my Mom does, so I only have ever made them at her house). But, if you say they are easy without one, then I am all in for trying.
By the way, just finished making your dishes for Adopt a GF blogger! It all turned out amazing! Cannot wait to write up my post! ;)

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Jenn September 28, 2010 at 7:36 am

Thanks! Yes, just go ahead and try them in a regular frying pan! Oooh and I can’t wait to see what you made!

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Kocinera September 28, 2010 at 3:48 am

Those crepes look beautiful–and very yummy!! I’m glad to hear that you can use a regular pan, too.

Beyond the deliciosity of the crepes, I loved all of your photos! Gorgeous!

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Jenn September 28, 2010 at 7:40 am

Thank you!

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Kim September 28, 2010 at 5:40 am

Oh I can’t WAIT to try these! I have a really similar recipe, but this one sounds so good I just have to try it for Sunday breakfast this weekend! With peach syrup!
(FYI I’ve been reading your blog forevah! But I’m a lousy commenter!)

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Jenn September 28, 2010 at 7:41 am

Aww thanks! I hope you enjoy them!!

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Rosa September 28, 2010 at 8:28 am

Those are so delicious! I love your choice of filling.

Cheers,

Rosa

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Jenn September 28, 2010 at 9:10 am

Thanks Rosa!

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Kulsum at JourneyKitchen September 28, 2010 at 8:39 am

I haven’t tried buckwheat crepes. Yours pictures are making sure I know I have been missing out on something special! Thanks for the inspiration

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Jenn September 28, 2010 at 9:39 am

Thanks! Yes you must try some!

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InTolerantChef September 28, 2010 at 9:20 am

I love the sound of the peach filling, sooo yummy!

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Jenn September 28, 2010 at 9:29 am

Thanks! Really fresh ripe peaches are one of my favorites, so sweet like candy – thought they would make the perfect dessert filling.

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Miriam/The Winter Guest September 28, 2010 at 9:24 am

I love buckwheat and I’ve made this sort of crepe before, but we aren’t gluten-intolerant so we didn’t need to worry. But I have some celiac friends… I must try this with them. Thanks for sharing!

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Jenn September 28, 2010 at 9:30 am

Thanks, I hope they like them!!

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Cherine September 28, 2010 at 10:11 am

Wonderful crepes! Love the filling!

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Jenn September 28, 2010 at 10:16 am

Thanks so much!

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bake in paris September 28, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Totally enjoyed this post… the crepe story, the photos and the recipe….

Sawadee from Bangkok,
Kris

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Jenn September 28, 2010 at 1:11 pm

Thanks so much Kris!

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Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite September 28, 2010 at 12:48 pm

I absolutely *love* real sarrasin crêpes – the only kind in my book. How fab that you are able to make them gluten free -you’re a GF goddess Jenn!

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Jenn September 28, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Aww thanks Mardi! Yes, they are my favorite kind too!

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Carol, Simply...Gluten-free September 28, 2010 at 2:17 pm

Your photos are spectacular and these crepes? Well, what can I say? Beautiful!

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Jenn September 28, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Thanks so much Carol!

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Anna Aspnes September 29, 2010 at 12:33 am

OH MY! How I miss the humble European pancake. I am SO trying these. TFS.

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Jenn September 29, 2010 at 4:42 am

Thanks! Enjoy!!

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Ricki September 29, 2010 at 12:39 am

I don’t know what’s more beautiful–the crepes or the scenery! I actually prefer that you didn’t peel the peaches–more nutrients that way! :)

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Jenn September 29, 2010 at 4:46 am

Thanks Ricki!! Good to know about the peaches, I knew there was a good reason to be lazy about them!

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maybelles mom September 29, 2010 at 3:42 am

i am so glad I found your blog. the pictures are so evocative.

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Jenn September 29, 2010 at 4:47 am

Thank you !!

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torviewtoronto September 29, 2010 at 3:54 am

delicious

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Jenn September 29, 2010 at 4:51 am

Thanks!

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Linda September 29, 2010 at 3:55 pm

It looks delicious, Jenn. I love that you used buckwheat. And peaches are a favorite of mine.

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Jenn September 29, 2010 at 7:32 pm

Thanks Linda! I think buckwheat is what is traditionally used in these, love their taste! Mmm and I love peaches too :)

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Celiacs in the House September 29, 2010 at 5:01 pm

I’m with Ricki. I kept being distracted by the gorgeous photos and thoughts of travel and then drawn back to the crepes. What sweet torture, Jenn. I still remember the crepes and the bread from France on my high school French club trip. Glad that was before I knew what celiac disease was.

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Jenn September 29, 2010 at 7:34 pm

Thanks! (I hope it’s a good thing that you get distracted!) I haven’t gotten French bread down gluten free yet, but we can all have crêpes at least! Love finding things that are so easy to convert!

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Heather September 29, 2010 at 5:28 pm

Lovely photography and yummy looking recipe. I haven’t had a crepe in a long time but have been thinking about making buckwheat crepes soon. This has given me some inspiration. Thanks!

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Jenn September 29, 2010 at 7:34 pm

Thanks so much, hope you enjoy trying them!

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Lisa@bakedinmaine.com October 2, 2010 at 4:27 am

I LOVE crêpes and wanted to share this GF brand from Maine USA http://www.ployes.com ….. “For generations the Bouchard Family has been milling a unique light buckwheat flour in order to prepare “Ployes” (rhymes with boys). A recipe based on the one created by the French Acadian exiles who settled in Northern Maine, Ployes are as elegant as a fine crepe, as hearty as a breakfast pancake and as versatile as any bread.”
Anyway, I LOVE your post and photos!!!!
You ROCK!
Lisa
xo

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Jenn October 2, 2010 at 10:55 am

Thanks Lisa! Next time I am in the US I will have to check them out!

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Jess August 12, 2012 at 12:46 am

I was just reading all the comments and saw this one about ployes…I am very saddend to tell you that they are no longer making their buckwheat only version anymore, both the red and green bags now contain flour mixed into them :( I live in Maine and use to be a huge ployes fan…they made awsome pancakes…but over the past few years as more of my friends have become GF I’ve noticed that ployes isn’t the same anymore…use to be that either the green lable bag or red label bag was only buckwheat and the other mixed flour… so if you are looking for plain buckwheat ployes, don’t bother :(

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Sophie October 2, 2010 at 11:02 pm

Hello Jenn!
These gf buckwhreat crêpes with the lovely peach & maple filling looks truly appetizing & pretty too!

MMMMMMMM,..I also lovce Paris but also I love Switserland!!

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Jenn October 3, 2010 at 1:45 am

Thanks Sophie!!

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Lindsay at Kitchen Operas October 5, 2010 at 7:29 pm

Mmm, I’ve been looking for a good buckwheat crepe recipe, and this one seems to completely fit the bill. Can’t wait to try it out – thanks!!!

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Jenn October 5, 2010 at 7:34 pm

Great! I hope you like it!

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Cindy January 11, 2013 at 6:02 pm

Do you grind your own buckwheat flour? I bought some bucket berries last month to sprout, ut was wondering if they could be ground into flour? Thanks and your blogis such a fun read!

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Jenn January 11, 2013 at 9:27 pm

Hi Cindy – I do not, I buy buckwheat flour, but I imagine that you could grind the buckwheat berries…if you try it would love to hear how it worked out for you!

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French Cuisine April 22, 2014 at 1:43 pm

i love buckwheat crepes but i never really tried making one. uhm i think i should give it a try and i hope that it’ll looks and would taste good too

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