I think my favourite thing about pancake day, apart from the excuse to eat more pancakes, is that it means you are clearly out of that slightly bleak post-Christmas period and the countdown to Easter (and therefore Spring!) has started. So whilst I’m not generally one for scheduling posts around whatever holiday the food world has decided to co-opt, I had to make an exception for today.
Clearly, given my long and ongoing obsession with buckwheat flour, I knew it would have to feature in my pancakes. This is a fairly basic but useful recipe for buckwheat crepes, versatile enough to go sweet or savoury depending on your tastes – I’ve included an idea for each below the recipe itself.
The savoury version is a simple (but delicious!) combination of ham, gruyere and market greens with a slick of mustard for a bit of a kick. In the interests of full disclosure, it’s been my lunch every day for the last four days.
The sweet version uses hazelnut milk in place of regular milk (although that’s optional) and then a slightly magical (vegan + dairy free!) chocolate and hazelnut butter sauce is drizzled on top. Even if you don’t make the pancakes, I would absolutely recommend that you make the sauce and just liberally spoon it over some ice cream.
My crêpes tend to be fairly abstemious made, as they are, just with flour, eggs and milk (dairy or otherwise - see the instructions for the hazelnut crêpes below). If you like, you can substitute a couple of tablespoons of melted butter for an equal amount of milk for a richer effect.
- 2 eggs
- 110ml (1/2 cup less 1 tablespoon) milk
- 55g (1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon) buckwheat flour
- A pinch of salt
- Butter, for cooking
- In a large bowl, whisk together the egg and milk. Whisk in the buckwheat flour and salt until smooth and let the mixture sit in the fridge for a couple of hours (or overnight - I've actually kept it in my fridge for three days without ill effect)
- When you're ready to cook, heat a knob of butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Give the batter a quick whisk and ladle a spoonful of batter into the pan. Twirl it around so that the batter covers the whole pan and cook the pancake for a minute or so until brown. Flip it over to cook the other side for 30 seconds.
To make the savoury crêpes with ham, gruyere and greens:
Prepare the batter as above, adding a pinch of pepper and nutmeg along with the salt. Once you’ve flipped the pancake over, spread a little mustard over half of it. If, like me, you’re not a huge fan of mustard, you can mellow it with a little mayo or creme fraiche so you still get a kick of flavour but it’s not too hot. Add a handful of ham and sprinkle with gruyere cheese. Cook until the cheese starts to melt and then add some mixed greens. Once the pancake is cooked through, flip the uncooked half over the filling and gently fold again into quarters.
To make the sweet crêpes with chocolate and hazlenut fudge sauce:
Make the chocolate and hazelnut fudge sauce first by heating 1/2 cup of water in a small pan until boiling. Add 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of cocoa powder, whisking to combine. Simmer for a couple of minutes, whisking every now and then, until the sauce is thick. Add 1/4 cup of hazelnut butter and cook over a low heat, continuing to whisk, until smooth. Take off the heat and add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Set aside until needed. The sauce will keep for a week in the fridge, just gently heat it when required.
To make the pancakes, prepare the batter as above substituting hazelnut milk for the plain milk. Cook the crêpes as directed and top with a drizzle of warm chocolate and hazelnut sauce, a dollop of creme fraiche (or ice cream!) and some chopped hazelnuts.
Chocolate and hazelnut fudge sauce adapted from epicurious.