Buckwheat Pancakes

Serves: 2
Approx cost: €2.50
Approx calories (per pancake): ~680
Approx preparation and cooking time: 20 mins

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #173B0B;”] F irstly I’d like to tell you all about a little adventure I had on Saturday. While doing a bit of “spring cleaning” on my web hosting I noticed a redundant database – let’s call it “database3″. At any one time I often have various databases running, as well as different installations of WordPress. A testing area of my blog so I can be sure that updates and changes don’t wreck things, other little projects I like to tinker with and so forth. Let’s call the database where all the data for FiveEuroFood.com is stored “database1″. So, anyway – I notice a redundant database and I think “ok, I’ll delete all the data from this one, but won’t bother deleting the database itself, and then I can use it for my next little pet project I’m working on”. So I click on “database1″, access the web admin panel and drop (delete) all the tables from inside the database (can you see where this is going?). A wave of terror hits me – “Oh my God”… I hammer in “fiveeurofood.com” into my address bar. “Error: Unable to connect to database”. Yes – I’d deleted all data for my site. Thankfully, I’d made a backup just 2 days previously, so I could restore everything minus a few comments (if you notice one of your comments suddenly disappeared this is why! :() and the most recent post which I could re-create quickly thanks to Google’s cached version of my site (Thank you Google!!), but what have I learned from this? Backup, backup, backup. I’m now going to be backing up my main database every time I make a post, and if you run your own WordPress installation I’d advise you to do the same, because you just never know! Ok, now on to the “main event” :)

If you ever get a chance to visit France make sure you do not miss a visit to “crêperie”. Sure – you can get crêpes almost anywhere these days, and definitely make them yourself, but a real, French crêperie is something else! To sit and choose from a menu with so many different varieties of pancake on it is tremendously fun, and don’t think that they’re all sweet. In a crêperie you’ll often have the “galettes” first, sometimes called “galettes de sarrasin” (buckwheat pancakes) or “crêpes salées” (salted/savoury pancakes) which will be similar to this recipe. A large pancake, made with buckwheat flour and then fried, and folded over a filling which can be pretty much anything, although frequently involves cheese (hey, it’s France!). You usually take a light buckwheat pancake as a starter – maybe it will have just cheese, or ham and cheese, or perhaps even a fried egg inside, then a more substantial one as a main course, and then finally you select your “crêpe” for dessert. I won’t lie – these are often the star attraction, especially crêpes brought to your table swiftly followed by a waiter with a small pan filled with heated alcohol which they set alight and then tip all over the crêpe. One of the most famous of these particular pancakes is the “crêpe suzette“… oh my:

Crêpe Suzette is a French dessert consisting of a crêpe with beurre Suzette, a sauce of caramelized sugar and butter, tangerine or orange juice, zest, and Grand Marnier or orange Curaçao liqueur on top, served flambé. The most common way to make Crêpe Suzette is to pour liqueur (usually Grand Marnier) over a freshly cooked crêpe with sugar and light it. This will make the alcohol in the liqueur evaporate, resulting in a fairly thick, caramelised sauce. In a restaurant, a Crêpe Suzette is often prepared in a chafing dish in full view of the guests.

Some years ago, my wife and I used to have a favourite crêperie – this place was really “old-school”. The whole restaurant was about the size of a small living room in someone’s house, with one corner set aside for a tiny preparation and cooking area, heck, the place didn’t even have a toilet. There were faded prints on the wall, old pizza peels and copper pots hanging there and best of all were the husband and wife owners of this tiny little establishment – always so warm and welcoming. They rarely had customers which meant that the place was dark and quiet and romantic – our little place.

We used to go there so often – perhaps more than once a week, it certainly wasn’t pricey – before taking a stroll home in the cool night air, but after some time we really had felt like we needed a bit of a break from crêpes. As the weeks wore on we decided to once again revisit our beloved restaurant, only to be met with a dark restaurant and a small sign taped to the door letting us know that the kind old man had passed away not one week previously. It saddens me that we never had a chance to see him again, to be welcomed by him and his wife into their lives for an evening, because eating there was really like sharing a meal with a family. Friends and readers – cherish the company of those whom you care about, whomever they may be – you never know when things may change!

Ingredients

Buckwheat Crêpe ingredients

For the pancakes

  • 60g Buckwheat Flour
  • 1 egg
  • 120ml Milk (or half milk, half water)
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 20g Butter

For the filling

  • 1 large or 2 medium Onions
  • 1 green Bell Pepper
  • 100g Cheddar Cheese
  • 4 spicy sausages, such as Merguez
  • 2 tsps Olive Oil

Instructions

  1. Start off by mixing the buckwheat flour, salt and egg together using a small whisk. Once mixed well, gradually pour in the Milk or milk and water, whisking well between each addition until you have a fairly runny batter. Set aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Meanwhile, place the sausages under the grill or broiler so they will be ready by the time the pancakes are!
    The buckwheat batter
  2. Next, peel and chop the onion and core and chop the bell pepper finely.
    Chopping the onion and pepper
  3. Heat the olive oil in a pan and when hot, add in the onion and bell pepper and fry through, stirring regularly so it doesn’t burn, for about 4 or 5 minutes, until softened. Stir in a bit of salt and pepper if desired and then remove from the heat. Grate the cheddar cheese and set aside.
    Frying the onion and pepper
  4. Set a large frying pan onto the heat and allow to heat up for a minute or so. Divide the butter into two chunks and place one chunk into the hot frying pan, moving around with a fork or other implement to ensure the base of the pan is well coated. When sizzling nicely pour in half of the batter mix. Note that if your pan is not sufficiently big you may need to make more than two pancakes. One half of the mixture should thinly coat the whole pan – you’ll need to tilt the pan a bit to run the batter to any “blank” spaces.
    Frying the crêpes
  5. Fry for a minute or two until browning on the bottom and then flip the pancake over, either using super-awesome pancake flipping skills or a wide spatula :p. Cook for about a minute and then start arranging half of the onion and bell pepper in the centre and then half of the grated cheese. Fold up the corners to create a square shape and press down gently for a few seconds to ensure they stay down, sealing in the centre. Carefully transfer to a heated plate and arrange the sausages on top and then repeat the process for the second pancake. Enjoy!
    Buckwheat Crêpes

Comments

  1. says

    Charles, you have just posted one of my favourite French culinary inventions! Your pancake looks simply fantastic! And the merguez… well it's my favourite raw sausage in France (although it's not really French…)! Did you know in Brettany they also serve galettes simply with a bit of sausage? But a great sausage, like you would never find outside of this region…

    Since I tasted a buckwheat pancake for the first time in my life, it has never crossed my mind to have a savoury wheat pancake. I have always looked down on Swiss pseudo-crêperies serving savoury crêpes made with wheat flour. For me a savoury pancake is a buckwheat pancake.

    I also make galettes at home, but I admit they are never as thin and as crunchy as the ones in good crêperies…

    I am a bit maniac and always order the same version: fried egg, cheese and ham. Sometimes instead of a sweet crêpe (the best one is with dark chocolate and salted butter…) I take a second savoury one ;-)

    Actually I have noticed they often serve salades composée in crêperies… I never order them there of course :-)

    You must know better than me the best crêperies in Paris, but if you ever go to Lyon, let me know, I'll give you the address of the best crêperie there!

    I have noticed yesterday some comments have disappeared… I am sorry for your problems with the blog. Luckily all your recipes are still there :-)

    It was really a great idea to post this recipe!

    • says

      Hehe, thanks Sissi – come to think of it, I think I'd probably consider it rather strange to have a savoury wheat pancake too. I know what you mean about the egg, ham and cheese ones… that's such an amazing combination. I usually like something they call a "tartiflette" as the main course though – potatoes, onion, crème fraiche, reblochon cheese… Soooooo good! As for sweet crêpes – no way… the best is a good crêpe suzette. I could eat those all day! To be honest, as I live just outside of Paris I don't know the crêperies there so much, but if you ever come to Versailles I can point you in the right direction for sure!

      • says

        Charles, to be frank I prefer tartiflette on its own ;-) I have a very good (not mine of course) recipe on my blog (the photo is awful, but believe me it's simply extraordinary and sooo easy! actually too easy…).

        You know what? I have known about crêpe Suzette and the way it's made for at least 15 years and I have never had it!!!! Awful no? Although I'm in the middle a bottle of Grand Marnier (I mean not exactly now, it's a bit too early ;-) ) and I love it, so I would probably adore crêpe Suzette. I don't know why I have never had it… Must repair it quickly!

        Thank you for the propositon, I will remember next time I go to Versailles.

        • says

          Oooh, awesome – I just checked it out – looks and sounds so delicious. Reblochon cheese has to be the nastiest thing in the world when uncooked but so good when melted down on top of things (perhaps it's supposed to only be eaten cooked?)

  2. says

    Look at that final picture! Fabuloso! These pancakes remind me of the blini we made from Russia. I wasn't a big fan, but the kids adored them. Maybe I'll give it a try with the French twist. The cheddar cheese sounds really appetizing. And I can only imagine your panic when the database disappeared. I'm clueless when it comes to programming, but today (and likely all of this week) I have to upload content to a client's website. I'm absolutely dreading it. It doesn't come easily to me and will likely take me way longer than is necessary. I'm going to take your advice though and back-up what I do each day!

    • says

      Hi Kristy – you can equally add in a different cheese of choice. Brie or camembert is *really* darn good, if you like that type of cheese! How did it go with your content uploading today? Will you be doing it by FTP? I hate FTP with a passion… at least on my web-host right now. The host in general is really good but for some reason I cannot maintain an FTP connection to it – uploading or downloading a large number of files is painfully slow because every 2 minutes I lose the connection and it has to reconnect… /sigh

      • says

        LOL…honestly I'm not sure what I'm doing. I go to the designer/programmer's word press page which may or may not be an ftp. I have no idea. I just know that I go in much like I would a blog post and copy and paste my content. The only problem is that it never seems to format how I want it and that's where I end up in trouble. Plus there are so many pages and links, etc. Blech. I may not have hair left by the end of the week. ;) Fortunately I'm at least a little familiar with WP now.

        And I'm still diggin' that last picture. The lighting (and styling) looks great! I've just started the styling chapter. :)

  3. says

    Savoury pancake – right up muy sleeve! I would love this…Buckwheat is used quite often in India and we make puris (fried breads) on very special/ auspicious occasions…We call savoury panckes either cheela (made out of gramflour or semolina) and also dosa (made out of ground and fermented rice + lentils).

    I would happily gobble up this pancake….without the sausage of course….maybe with some chilly chutney from Sissi…

    -Shilpa

    • says

      Mmm, you just had to start talking about Indian food – it's a huge weakness of mine. Cheela and Dosa sound awesome, although not sure how I could get some fermented rice… maybe make it myself – might end up poisoning myself or something knowing my luck :D I think actually chutney would go really well with this too, nice idea!

  4. says

    Oh these look fabulous, Charles. I'm a big fan of savory crepes. You wrapped it up so well…but it's just asking me to take a huge bite! There's a great creperie in San Clemente (CA), and I always used to go there when my brother lived down there. I'm sure there's a delicious restaurant here in LA, I've just yet to find it. That'll be my next mission. :)

    • says

      Hehe, it's always difficult to "break open" food when you spent some effort already wrapping it up, or fixing it in some way just for presentation's sake :D There is a very touristy, but not bad crêperie in a town not far from my place although the last time I went there… wow, really not good. They'd replaced their "huuuuuge" menu with a tiny two-page booklet, the crêpes were limp, warm and completely unappetising. Maybe it was because I went in August… the month when all French people seem to disappear to God-knows-where for a month long vacation… perhaps the chefs were on holiday too, so I will try it again before writing it off as trash :(

  5. says

    Exceptional! I can never get enough crêpes! I love them so much, as a 'souvenir' I brought home a cast iron crêpe pan from the kitchen shop at Gallerie Lafayette…I just used it this weekend! I am not a huge lover of buckwheat…or perhaps I just didn't have a good one. I generally make 1/2 all purpose flour and 1/2 whole wheat flour crêpes, so I don't know why I don't care for the buckwheat…I shall have to persevere and keep trying them until I find one I like ;-).

    We have a crêpe place we love in Paris too…we often get our crêpe and walk over to a park and just sit outside and eat our delicious crêpe as if we were on a 'lunch break' of course, we are usually on vacation!

    • says

      Hi Eva, thanks a lot! I can imagine the crêpe pan took up a fair amount of your luggage allowance, lol :D I remember going to Galeries Lafayette, just one time as an impoverished student about 9 years ago. I desperately wanted a "fashionable" scarf, and ended up dropping €50 on some stupid piece of fabric, which wasn't even that fashionable. Nowadays I couldn't care less about "fashion" and my wallet is better off because of it :D As for the scarf, that had a huge hole burnt in it when I dropped it on a hot floor light in a cocktail bar a few years later :p

      Which is the place you like in Paris? I should give it a try! :)

  6. says

    It's funny, I'm constantly worried about losing electronic information but do I backup on a regular basis? No… it's a good reminder, thank you! I love the use of buckwheat in crepes and I have no problem whatsoever with cheese :) The sausage on top is the kicker… better not show this to my husband (he'll be looking for them Saturday morning). Just curious, do you eat these babies with syrup? (I like a little even on the savoury crepes…)

    • says

      Interesting – I wouldn't have thought to add syrup, although I can imagine it adds a nice little touch, although not this time around alas – we had bottle of maple syrup in the fridge which fell out and smashed… grr. Broken glass everywhere and sticky syrup under foot… urgh!

      As for backups – That reminds me – I keep meaning to get another hard-drive for my PC as a "mirror". Should really look into that soon too :)

  7. says

    you're making me run for my hard disk now ><

    anyway crepes look delicious! I wonder how the flavour differs in a buckwheat flour pancake, I've never tried one before.. Is it slightly more hearty? I like sourdough crepes for its earthier, tangier flavours, so if it's so, I think I'll really like this! thanks for sharing, and for the warning!

    http://mummyicancook.blogspot.com/2011/08/sourdou

    • says

      Hi Shuhan – it's definitely heartier. You had a good word for sourdough crêpes – even the buckwheat I would describe as being earthy, filling and just slightly bitter maybe. Never tried sourdough crêpes though – thanks for the link, I must give it a try sometime :)

    • says

      Thanks Greg – what sort of backup options does wordpress.com offer? If I permanently lost everything I'd be heartbroken so I think I need to adopt a much more serious approach to back-ups after this near miss. Imagine losing quite literally weeks… months of work!

  8. says

    I love crepes, but have never had the guts to try to make them. They don't seem overly difficult… I think I'm just afraid of trying to flip them and them folding over on itself or ripping or something that would ultimately ruin the crepe. Your savory crepes look wonderful! I love the buckwheat flour! Next time I'm at a creperie I'll need to try a crepe Suzette. I normally stick to the classic of strawberries and Nutella :)

    • says

      Hi Stefanie – *definitely* try a crêpe suzette – you won't regret it :) The pancakes are quite easy to make, it's true, and for sure, the one tricky part… no, two slightly tricky parts are probably the flipping and then the folding at the end. If you use a shallow pan with sloping sides you can easily flip it with no tools, just by shaking it to the edge and gently chucking it in the air. If not, I bought a really wide, flexible spatula from IKEA… it's about twice as wide as a regular spatula… specially designed for fish fillets I think, and that works perfectly :)

      • says

        I watched my mom make crepes in her cast iron frying pan for 50 years. No flipping was ever involved though she had very sturdy wrists from lugging that thing around. You DO need asbestos finger tips to grab and flip the crepe by the edges. :)

  9. says

    I have wanted to try Buckwheat pancakes for sometime now but for whatever reason haven't. These are definitely the star attraction for me and I love how you made these crepes into a meaty, hearty version. I usually see crepes with fruit or ice cream.. but these look amazing. Great job. And Backup, backup, backup is always the way to go ;)

    • says

      Thanks Kay! If you ever come to France, be sure to go to a crêperie! You'll have a whole world of fun choosing the dizzying array of stuff on the menu :D

  10. says

    I'm not a big breakfast eater so a 'pancake' recipe didn't really catch my attention until I took a closer look and saw that it actually looks like a crepe. Or am I wrong?

    Tartiflette … now that sounds intriguing. Do you have a good recipe? It sounds similar to a Hungarian potato casserole called Rakott Krumpli though my mom's (Romanian) version is even better in my opinion. :)

    • says

      Yeah, I made it after the french "galettes sarrasin" that you can buy here, otherwise translated as "buckwheat pancakes". It's basically the same as the wheat crêpes they serve for desserts, with chocolate and ice-cream etc, but has buckwheat flour instead. In England we'll call crêpes "pancakes", but also call the American/Canadian breakfast style ones "pancakes" too, so I can see it would be a bit confusing, but you probably wouldn't want to eat this one for breakfast in any case :D

      For the Tartiflette – Sissi put a delish looking dish here. If it's anything like it, Rakott Krumpli sounds wonderful too!

      • says

        Pancakes/crepes … or palacsinta (Hungraian) or scoverdzie (Romanian). It can get very confusing. :) My mom's crepes were only ever filled with home made jams: plum or apricot were my parents' favourite, though I love honey drizzled inside and then a quick zap in the microwave.

        Thanks for the Tartiflette link. Here's the recipe for my mom's Romanian scalloped potato casserole so you can picture what I'm talking about. It's a hearty and very filling peasant dish that the farmers make. :)

        My Mom's Scalloped Potatoes

        (aka Rakott Krumpli or Hungarian Scalloped Potatoes

        3-4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and sliced across

        1/2-1 lb kielbasa (or Polish) sausage, skin removed and sliced thinly

        5-6 medium potatoes, sliced thinly

        ~1 cup sour cream

        milk, as needed

        salt and pepper to taste

        Lightly oil a large casserole dish as the milk really sticks.

        Starting and ending with the potato slices, add a layer of sausage and then hard boiled egg slices to the casserole dish. Sprinkle some salt and pepper over the potatoes. Add about half the sour cream over the first layer and the rest over the 2nd layer before topping with the final layer of potatoes. Pour enough milk into the dish to go about half way up to the top of the potatoes.

        Bake tightly covered at 350 deg F for 1 hr or so or until potatoes are tender when you stick a knife tip into the top layer. Remove the lid and continue baking until the milk is gone and the top is golden brown.

        Serve with a green salad.

        Variation:

        For the Hungarian version saute red onion and mix with the sour cream. Sprinkle bread crumbs and hungarian paprika over the top and bake. No milk is used as boiled potatoes are used in the recipe.

        NOTE: Polish sausage can be replaced with any smoked cooked sausage. If I was using a fresh sausage though, I'd put them on top of the casserole so they could cook and render the fat down into the potatoes.

  11. says

    I make pancakes pretty often, it's a very Russian thing I guess ) When I'm in Moscow my mom makes me pancakes with caviar – this is something, I must say… If you like caviar of course )

    Backups are important ( I have a plugin that backs up every week, but you can set it up. Never tried to restore the site from backup though, I think I should try once to make sure that it's really working.

    • says

      I love caviar! They eat it a lot in Sweden too, so good! I guess with some chopped onion and sour cream it makes an amazing meal!

      I had a similar plugin myself – WDB Backup, I think it was called, but folder/file permissions work differently on Windows hosts than Linux hosts and I wasn't able to get it working since I changed hosting providers. Also, the plugin didn't actually back-up the whole database – just posts/tags/categories. Maybe comments too, I can't remember, but I prefer to backup the whole MySQL database instead of just a sub-section of it. I'll just have to remember to not be such a clown next time :/

    • says

      That looks good, but just read the requirements: "EZPZ OCB only works on Linux servers running PHP 5 and above" – sucks to be me I guess :D In the end I have a scheduled backup of my entire web-server which runs once a week and then manually perform DB backups from my hosting control panel. It's not ideal but it's better than nothing :/

      • says

        Backup option on my hosting is paid, so I have to use the plugins. Your solution is good as well, at least you can be sure that you backed up everything )

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