Crepês, Vegan Buckwheat Galettes and Chocolate Spread Recipe
Crêpes are thin pancakes usually made in France and French speaking countries. They are a common street food in Paris, however they are usually made overly thick in Paris that they look like a cross between a pancake and a crêpe. Galettes are thin pancakes but not as thin as crepes and they are made with buckwheat flour. They are not well known all around France and are made in the West of France.
What does crêpes have to do with West Indian cooking? Again you are mis informed, you see in the French West Indies crepe making and crepe eating is a big part of food culture. Lying on the beach in Guadeloupe one would hear a voice saying Mademoiselle tu veux des crêpes? ..”Non, merci”..I would respond as crepes and galettes are not vegan. Until today….
The first cookbook I ever purchased online was Vegan Brunch and the crêpe recipe both whole wheat and regular are near perfect. This is my go to recipe for crepes until I get off my butt and try to make another version but why fix something that is not broken? My partner who is French and, vegan ate his body weight in crêpes many times during his childhood growing up in France and, he endorses Isa’s recipe for crêpes as he thinks it taste just like the ones with eggs.
Mardi Gras and Some Information on Crepes and Galettes
Today is Mardi Gras and in the French West Indies they celebrate this day all the way. By the time I finish write this post the party would have already started in the streets and, the parade would be on its way. There will be lots of people eating crêpes as well. We decided that we would do both crêpes and galettes today since we were not taking part in the festivities. The difference between crepes and galettes is that one is sweet and the other is savory. The crepe is usually made with white flour and in France and by extension the French West Indies. There is a flour that you can buy especially for crêpes that blends smoother than the all-purpose American type. I used all-purpose today and crepe flour a few weeks ago and there is a difference in the final crepe but nothing to lose sleep over. Crepes are usually consumed in the home in France and can be eaten with sprinkled sugar, chopped hazel nut and sugar, butter (margarine), jam or Nutella.
Galettes on the other hand are traditionally made with buckwheat flour (sarrasin flour) and there are in essence gluten free. Galettes made in France are not vegan as they depend on egg as a binder. My partner developed this vegan recipe, with my help of course for the binding agents and it comes out perfect everytime. Since we live in a mixed multicultural household we have a crepe pan for crepes and galettes and, a tawa for rotis :0) one never knows when you have a yearning for both. My crepe pan is a professional one so it is a little expensive but you can get a decent one for around 30 usd. Also note that galettes can be eaten with jam and sweet stuff as well but the formula itself is savory. Galettes are unique to the region of Bretange and, in the past the farmers would eat galettes at night. They would scrape their left overs in the centre and fold it as I did in the photo below. Please note that there are no leftovers in the centre of my galette. Galette is slightly thicker than crepe and traditionally is eaten with egg, spinach and mushrooms. I made a vegan version by doing a white wine marinated tofu and I picked some spinach from my organic garden and finished it off with vegan creme, salt and pepper. Please note that the only flour in the recipe is buckwheat and it is strong and if it is not a flavour you appreciate you can water it down by taking out 1/4 cup of the buckwheat flour and adding 1/4 cup all purpose flour. As you know, by doing this the recipe will not be gluten free anymore. The galette has come a long way from being a dish with leftovers to something that looks very elegant!
Typical Galette Fillings
Mildly flavoured tofu with some black salt
Gently sauted onions
Wilted spinach with cream
Cheese (will be vegan in my case)
Ham (vegan again)
Quiona (maybe I am pushing this one)
Vegan chicken strips
Tofu Fish from Caribbean Vegan
Vegan Buckwheat Galette ( Gluten Free)
Makes 6 galettes
250 g buckwheat flour
2 vegan eggs (1 tablespoon ground flax seed plus 5 tablespoons warm water mix and leave for 3 mins, then strain or not. The straining is optional for this recipe)
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 and 1/3 cup of water
1 teaspoon arrowroot flour
2 tablespoons vegan butter for cooking galettes
Mix everything expect butter in a food processor. Tranfer contents into a bowl and leave at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours.
Mix well before cooking.
Cook as you do crepes making sure the pan is greased and very hot as you put on the batter. The batter should sizzle as you put it on the pan.
See photo below
Chocolate Spread ( Pâte à tartiner au chocolat)
I had a bad relationship with Nutella made in the USA…wait lets us rewind before I get to that. Just before I went vegan I tried Nutella…whew I was lucky, LOL 🙂 and I liked it but, found it weird that people would put a chocolate spread on bread. It wasnt peanut butter so I had a hard time accepting the use of Nutella. Anyways when I went vegan it meant that te 3 euro GIANT Nutella on special would not be in my basket anymore…what was I going to spread on my pancakes now? Here is my recipe for a chocolate spread. I used real hazelnuts, but lucky for me I get hazelnut power here so I just take it out of the bag and toast it up to enhance the flavour. I also use Colza oil for the fat in this recipe and a bit of soy creamer to bring a milk chocolate taste to the spread. It is no Nutella but it works and a tablespoon of it would not set you back if you are on a diet. I remember when I went back to Barbados after a trip to France and was feeling for some Nutella. I bought a jar in the bourgeois supermarket in Barbados and opened it up in the car as I have no manners. I tasted it and it was not the Nutella that I know. It tasted overly sweet and I wasnt tasting the hazelnuts and the chocolate was not right..it would have been nice as a frosting but it was not the Nutella I grew to love. I then realised that the formula is different depending which country it was made. I was eating one made in Italy and sometimes in Germany and they tasted better in my opinion. There was one that was a bit stiffer than the other and did not spread as well as the one from Italy. Anyways we are vegan here so let us move on from the past and enjoy this healthy ish chocolate spread for our next crepe party. There are many vegan nutella recipes around and I am not going to say this is the best but it is really good. I also had to make sure that mine was unique to the other recipes online so it could have been worth posting. It is unique as it contains cold pressed oil.
Vegan Chocolate Spread
Copyright Taymer Mason
1 cup ground hazelnuts toasted ( toast in the oven for 5 mins or in a dry frying pan)
3/4 cup dutch cocoa powder
1 cup organic powdered sugar
1/3 cup Colza oil (rape seed oil or sunflower oil)
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons soy creamer
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth
Options: Like a bitter sweet taste ?add in 3 to 4 tablespoons of high quality bitter sweet chocolate melted to the food processor.