Monday, January 3, 2011

Buckwheat Galettes

When my father-in-law arrived two days before Christmas, he did not come empty handed.  Far from it. It took him two full days of driving to get from France to here, but loaded carefully in his car was precious cargo indeed:  boxes of oysters, jars of foie gras, little cans of seafood mousse, tumblers of homemade jam, boxes of Lindt Pyrenees (the best chocolates. ever), blocks of pungent cheeses, saucisson, and so much wine I lost count.

Talk about being spoiled...and, for our part, tremendously grateful. There was one other special item tucked in among the treasure trove: buckwheat flour.  So to top it all off, my father-in-law prepared a beautiful stack of  buckwheat galettes, the crepe's sister pancake.  His recipe is as simple as it gets:

Buckwheat Galettes
Makes 10-12 pancakes depending on pan size

500g/4c buckwheat flour
2 eggs
3/4 liter/generous 3c water
1/2t sea salt (a pinch more if you like)
1/2c salted butter (for Step 3 of my father-in-law's tricks)
oil for pan
a small cloth

1.  Combine all ingredients and mix well with a whisk, 3-5 minutes.  Set aside for up to 6 hours at room temperature or cover and refrigerate overnight.

2.  Heat a crepe pan or large skillet over medium-high heat.  Grease well with oil but remove any excess.

3.  Pour a large spoon of batter into the pan (a soup ladle works perfectly) and swirl to distribute batter evenly.  Cook until tiny bubbles appear all over the surface of the pancake.  Flip and cook briefly on the other side.  Remove from pan and place on plate.

My father-in-law's tricks:

  • oiled cloth for the pan
  • aerate batter and repeatedly mix with wooden spoon or soup ladle thereby increasing the air in the batter (for light pancakes)
  • If your galettes are too thick, simply thin down your batter (little by little) with more water.
  • Step 1:  cook and stack galettes, set aside
  • Step 2:  Clean up kitchen, sit down for an aperitif (also known as happy hour), and relax.
  • Step 3:  Heat pan and add 1-2 teaspoons of salted butter.  Reheat galette, add filling, if desired, and before you know it you have a soft-in-the-middle, crispy-around-the-edges little piece of heaven. Add more butter with the reheating of each additional galette.

While many recipes call for melted butter in the batter, my father-in-law makes his sans extra fat.  Besides, the oil in the pan in Step 1 and the butter in Step 3 are sufficient to achieve the perfect galette.

You can make savory and/or sweet galettes.  Filling options include cheese, cured meats, eggs, jam, chocolate, or whatever else sounds good to you.  If possible, serve with a good French cider.

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