Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Buckwheat Crepes: Crepe Memories from Paris and a Video Demonstration

Buckwheat crepes with vanilla yogurt and blackberries.

And buckwheat crepes with Nutella. Oooh, yeah.

My favorite crepe memory was about 5 years ago in Paris. One of my friends had printed out directions from his friend, who had studied abroad in Paris, to her favorite creperie. If I can recall, the directions went something like this:
"In the Latin Quarter by the Saint Michel metro, past the Easy Internet, look for the Tunisian bakery but don't go inside the bakery, there's a window on the outside corner where they make crepes. But you don't want the old guy, or the really young guy, but the third guy."
We did manage to find the creperie window and the third guy to make our crepes. Nutella crepes, of course. It was magical watching him swirl a long flat spatula in a circle to smooth out the batter. We mentioned that we were specifically told by a friend to order our crepes from him, and he laughed and asked if it was an Asian girl from Chicago. So I guess my friend's friend had returned on many occasions just for his crepes. My friend went first and after the first bite, his eyes widened and he made yummy noises. My other friend had the same reaction.

When it was my turn, I was pleasantly surprised by the crispy outside, chewy inside. Our three murmurings of delight inspired a passing tourist to order one too. We stood there eating and waiting to see his reaction. Same widened eyes and yummy noises. :)

While my crepes don't quite elicit that same reaction. They are healthy though. I make these for breakfast when all the cousins get together. I just let them assemble their own. There's usually a plate of crepes, and bowls of filling. We tend to prefer strawberries and bananas, with Nutella and whipped cream. The crepes themselves have a slight nutty flavor from the buckwheat, but other than that, are a neutral base for any sweet or savory topping you wish.

Videos are kinda fun. :) You can watch the video for the full recipe and flipping demonstration, but I've included instructions below as well. For a full-screen view of the video, you can watch on YouTube.

Buckwheat Crepes 

For about 6 crepes, you'll need:
1 1/4 cup milk (soy milk isn't a good substitute because the glutens in the flour don't bind as well)
1/2 cup buckwheat flour, or whole wheat flour if you don't have it
1/2 cup white all-purpose flour
1 egg
1 tblsp oil

Beat the egg and the milk together. Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly until smooth. Set aside.

Now you can prepare whatever filling you wish.

In a pan on medium heat, add a few drizzles of oil, and 1/3 cup of the crepe batter. Swirl it around until the bottom of the pan is evenly coated. In a few minutes, when bubbles appear in the batter like below, the batter is no longer liquid, and the edges start pulling away from the pan, it's time to flip the crepe.

Just slide a butter knife along the edge to loosen the crepe from the pan. Then take your spatula and move it as close to the center as possible and flip the whole thing.

Flip it again onto a plate, with the nicer side on the bottom. Fill with whatever toppings you wish and fold over so the crispy side shows. My first crepe hardly ever comes out as nice as the subsequent ones, but it's perfectly edible.



  1. I've yet to eat crepes that are crispy outside, chewy inside. No wonder I have no affinity for crepes. But I have to say your crepes and filling look temptingly delicious!

  2. I did crepes with caramelised bananas the other week but when I tried to pile the crepes in the oven to keep them warm they all became crispy and lost the soft texture. How do you keep them warm while cooking the rest of the batter?

  3. Buckwheat crepes are also very good as savouries. My favourtie filling (typically Breton) is bacon with a fried egg, all wrapped up in the crepe. Mmmm!

  4. I like your "cooking school" video! and the crepes look good too. My French father-in-law actually puts beer into his mixture. He reackons it makes it lighter or something like that. I'll have to try it out sometime.

  5. buckwheat sounds too healthy for me.


  6. My crepe memory was in London - chocolate + bananas filling!
    Yum Yum!

    All the crepes you are describing all sound so good!

    I guess I won't be making this coz it involves flour and flour relates to baking and makes me cringe. :O

  7. Yich,
    I'm not a big crepe fan either but every once in a while isn't bad. :)

    You can cover the crepes with plastic wrap and then a thick towel on top to keep them warm. Otherwise, they heat up well in just a few seconds in the microwave.

    Yeah, when I get a craving for savory crepes though, I make VNese banh xeo. :)

    The beer does make the batter lighter, but I'd only do that for savory crepes. Beer in breakfast crepes? *shudder*

    Eating healthy is good for you. :)

    I know you've baked before. And this recipe is so easy.

  8. Hey Chopsticks,
    Your crepe recipe is featured in Serious Eats.

  9. I've never made crepes before but I watched your video and now I feel inspired. It was a great video! Thanks!

  10. I'm not sure if you're using a non-stick pan, it's hard to see, but metal will scratch the teflon coating and shorten the life of the pan, as well as introducing bits of teflon into your diet. Not good. There are heat proof silicone spatulas and flippers that work exceptionally well. Great recipe!

  11. I had buckwheat honey but never buckwheat crepes, wow, sounds very healthy hehe, hey, what fillings did you use here ? hmm..thinking of those luscious crepes at Paris Buffet in Las Vegas..caramel sauce, with powdered sugar, chopped almonds, whipped cream and mixed berries muahahaha..gosh, I need some sugar now !

  12. Yich and Anon,
    Thanks for the tip!

    I used vanilla yogurt and blackberries, but you can fill it with anything you want.

  13. Oops, Amy,
    Didn't mean to overlook your comment. So are you gonna try it? Use the strawberries you just bought. :)

  14. Jetlagged, wet and a bit stunned from travel, my husband and I found a creperie in the Jean Talon market in quebec. We placed our order and ten minutes later, our first meal in town was a chicken/mushroom/sherry and cream filled buckwheat crepe. We blinked in happy amazement.

    Now with your recipe, I can try to create more memories!

  15. Hi OddLyme,
    Sounds like you got a great crepe story too! I hope you like my recipe.


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