You can’t come to Brittany without trying a crépe!
It’s like coming to England and not having a full English breakfast.
Brittany is home to the pancake which has spread throughout the world in different forms and names.
Traditionally pancakes, called galettes, were made from buckwheat (blé noir) and it was only at the beginning of the 20th century when white wheat flour became more affordable did the soft sweet crèpe of today evolve.
- Galettes are savory pancakes made with buckwheat (which has no gluten), so perfect for those with gluten allergies, served with butter and any savory filling of your choice: sausage, egg and bacon, smoked salmon, cheese, ham, cheese, scallops …. andouille sausage is not recommended – another Breton speciality, unless you are of hardy constitution.
- Crèpes are the sweet version and your imagination can run wild. Cinnamon sugar and a little lemon is my preference but the variations are endless: jam, honey, chocolate, nutella, peaches, grated apple and honey, blackcurrants, ice-cream, Chantilly cream ….
Tip: If you are out and about and want to order one, it is pronounced ‘krep‘ – the “e” is pronounced same as in the e in ‘wet’.
If you want to try making your own, this is my favourite recipe for about 20 crèpes. It is without milk – sacrilege to the Breton recipe, I know – but milk can make them tough. Which also makes this a perfect recipe for those with milk allergies:
3 cups (750ml) flour
1/2 t (2.5ml) salt
2t (10ml) baking powder
4 cups (1 litre) water (for a thicker crèpe leave out 125ml water)
2 T (30ml) sugar
1 T (15ml) vinegar
2 T (30ml) oil
- Sift the flour, salt and baking powder
- Make a well in the flour mixture
- Mix the water, sugar, egg, vinegar and oil.
- Add gradually to the flour mixture, stirring continuously removing all the lumps
- Let the batter stand for at least 30 minutes!! NB – this will allow the granules to soften so you get light crèpes. Or even leave it overnight in the fridge.
- Wipe a pan with kitchen towel and a little oil (keep this available to wipe the pan from time to time)
- Heat up a pan on the oven and using a soup spoon with the same amount of batter pour into the centre of the pan. Remember, the thinner the batter the thinner the crèpe.
- Move the pan at an angle to spread the mixture evenly over the whole surface.
- As soon as it sets turn it over with a spatula and cook the other side.
- The first one is for the chef – I find it is never perfect until the pan is cooked in once!!
Gites in Southern Brittany
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