The Glorious Bretonne Galette
Crepes and Galettes
Crepes are large, very thin pancakes. They can be simple and eaten plain with sugar and lemon juice. Or, they can be sophisticated, and filled with savory or sweet stuffings.
Walking along the banks on the Seine, in Paris, you can see many expert crepe makers, entertaining and feeding the tourists. From start to finish, the whole process of making, filling and serving a crepe takes, perhaps, a minute and a half.
Crepes are very versatile - you can roll, fold or stack them to create many tasty dishes, including main courses and desserts. With a bit of practice, crepes are really quite easy to prepare and great for entertaining.
The Bretonne Galette is a variation on this idea, popular in the north west of France, and made of buckwheat and filled with delicious flavours. My first taste of a Bretonne Galette was in Nantes, where I visited a traditional Creperie. With a wide range of galettes on the menu, both savory and sweet, they could suit all tastes.
Interestingly enough this photo, which is in the public domain was taken by Kazubon, in Cafe du lievre, Kichijoji, Tokyo. So, it isn't just the French who enjoy them!
Paris Street Food - Crepes
Classic Bretonne Galette
- 3/4 cup buckwheat flour
- plus 1 tablespoon buckwheat flour
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 2/3 cups milk, or milk & water mix
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- up to 3 eggs, optional, for fluffier crepes
- Filling for galette :
- 10 slices ham
- 10 slices whole eggs
- 2 cups Gruyere cheese
- Whisk together the flours, milk/water, butter and salt. Include eggs, if you want thicker, fluffier galettes.
- Once the batter is smooth, leave to rest in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
- Melt a knob of butter, in a crepe pan, over low-medium heat. Then turn up the heat to medium.
- When the pan is hot, add a ladle of batter and swirl or spread until the bottom of the pan is covered.
- Cook until the crepe is golden underneath, but still slightly moist on the top - usually about one minute.
- Loosen the edges of the crepe, then flip over, and cook for another minute.
- Fill each crepe as you make it, or transfer to a warm plate, if you want to fill them in a batch.
- To assemble a crepe, heat in the middle of the pan, place 1 slice of ham in the middle. Crack an egg onto the ham, and sprinkle a small amount of Gruyere cheese on top.
- Cook for about 30 seconds, then fold the edges of the crepe over onto the egg white, so just the yolk peeks.
- Cook until the egg white is set. Traditionally, the egg yolk was served still runny.
Preparation and Cook Time
Gallette / Crepe Pan
To prepare thin pancakes and delicious crepes in your own home, you will need a suitable crepe pan. Crepe pans come in a range of sizes, commonly from 8 to 12 inches in diameter. I prefer to use a smaller pan as it is easier to flip the crepe. But, if you want to fill the crepes, you will need to make larger ones.
The best crepe pans are nonstick and hard-anodized . Pans with gently flared sides make it easier to flip your crepes during cooking. Pans with a deeper lip can also be used for making omelettes.
Available in 8.7 or 10 inch diameters, these heavy-duty cast aluminum pans are perfect for fast heating. They have a tough Quantanium nonstick coating, which means they can be used with metal utensils.
Electric Crepe Makers
Electric Crepe Makers can be a lot more convenient than the frying pan method. So, if you love crepes, and want to make them regularly, this could be the the better solution for you. With an electric crepe maker, you can make savory and sweet crepes like those you get on the streets of Paris. The best have a smooth, non-stick surface, and come with the accessories you need to spread batter evenly and cook it to perfection.
The CucinaPro is quick and easy for making crepes. Plug in, let it heat up, and spread a thin layer of batter, and your delicious crepe will be ready in seconds. Non-stick aluminum plate, 5 different temperature settings, and batter spreader included.
Crepe Making Accessories
To make crepes, galettes or pancakes the traditional way, you will need a spreader and a spatula for flipping. Wood is a warm and beautiful material, and brings a touch of nature indoors. It has also been found to be more hygienic than some other materials, such as plastic, so it is the perfect material for crepe-making accessories. To keep wooden accessories in good condition, they should be hand washed and dried thoroughly after each use.
This hand-crafted pancake spatula is approximately 14inches in length. It is made of the finest olive wood and used to flip food without scratching cookware surfaces.
T-shaped wooden crepe spreader, for spreading crepe batter evenly around the pan.
Crepes - Sweet & Savory Recipes
Always popular in France, these delicate wafer-thin pancakes with delicious fillings can be found on menus in smart restaurants and in corner creperies all around the world. Crepes are very versatile ranging from simple Butter-Sugar-Lemon through to crepe cakes and cannelloni.
Martha Holmberg's love of crepes is shown in this superb cookbook. The collection featuring 50 recipes for delicious crepes is illustrated with inspiring photographs.
Finding the Best Galettes
For this, I recommend a trip to Brittany in North West France. The cities of Rennes and Nantes are perfect places to start.
More about galettes
- Recipe: Galettes Bretonnes au Sarrasin (Breton Buckwheat Galettes)
- Nigel Slater's buckwheat galettes, crepes with apples, and mache salad recipes | L
Whether you're a seasoned showman or just learning to cook, tossing pancakes will put a smile on your lips
- Breton Crepes and Galettes Recipes - Buckwheat Crepes and Galettes
Make authentic Breton crepes and galettes recipes with savory fillings. Buckwheat crepes and galettes recipes from the Brittany region of France.