I have a thing for pancakes. When following a recipe I always add more milk than the recipe calls for in an effort to thin out my pancake, cook them until golden brown, and then slather them in butter and syrup. Today’s post is about thin pancakes also known as Crêpes.
A couple summers ago my daughter and I took a trip to France. It seemed like every place we went had a crêperie. In fact I would venture to say you would be hard pressed to find a town in France that did not have one or a restaurant that served crêpes in a range from sweet to savory. Today’s recipe features a Keto friendly gluten free crêpe to be enjoyed by all!
A crêpe (pronounced /kreɪp/, French IPA: [kʀɛp]) is a type of very thin, cooked pancake usually made from wheat flour. The word, like the pancake itself, is of French origin, deriving from the Latin crispa, meaning “curled.” While crêpes originate from Brittany, a region in the northwest of France, their consumption is nowadays widespread in France and is considered the national dish. Crêpes can be compared to the African injera, the tortilla, the Indian dosa and the Mexican sope.
Fun Facts about the Crêpes
The crêpe is not just an easy, cheap and delicious food; it has cultural significance and a dedicated day on the French calendar.
Historically known as the Virgin Mary’s Blessing Day, February 2 in France is now better known as le jour des crêpes (‘the day of crêpes’), and is more of a familial custom than a religious celebration.
Also named La Chandeleur (‘the return of the light’), the date commemorates the winter’s decline and the coming light of the spring. Families celebrate this moment with a meal of crêpes together.
The day also has a cheeky superstitious element. According to legend, if you hold a coin in your writing hand and a frying pan in your other, flip a crêpe and it lands flat, your family will be prosperous that year.
The Origins of the Crêpe
Folklore has it that a housewife in Brittany, accidentally spilled some thin porridge on a hot flat stove and the through this mistake came the discovery of how good a thin crispy pancake tasted.
Crêpes have a fascinating history. Coming from just a little area of France, and though all cultures have a pancake, the French perfected this and made it into an art form, which became the national dish of France.
Once isolated from other areas of France on its rocky promontory in the far west, the region of Bretagne (known by us English-speakers as Brittany) has a historic – and enduring – identity all its own.
Geographically closer to Britain and with a reputation for residents with a slightly more “British” comportment than the rest of the French, the Breton landscape is rocky and open, its coastline dotted with steep, wild cliffs making it difficult to grow crops.
But when buckwheat arrived in Bretagne in the 12th century, it took to the harsh landscape right away.
The Bretons made the most of this fiber-rich, high-protein grain, grinding it down and combining it with water and a touch of salt to create a batter.
With a dab of butter on a hot surface, the batter was spread with a wooden scraper into a flat, round shape, then flipped, folded and filled with whatever was local and fresh. In Brittany, crêpes are traditionally served with cider.
Though white flour has sometimes been used since the 20th century (known with some derision as crêpes de froment), crêpes are still made in the same way today.
Certain aspects of crêpe-making have remained constant since its advent in the 1100s. But variations on the crêpe are constantly appearing.
The common ingredients include flour, eggs, milk, butter and a pinch of salt. The batter of the original French crêpe is usually made with white wheat flour when the crêpe is served as a sweet crêpe. If a crêpe is made with buckwheat flour, the crêpe also called “galette” is served as a savory crêpe. A batter made of 100% buckwheat flour is gluten-free. This makes it possible for people who have a gluten allergy or intolerance to eat crêpes / galettes (as long as the other ingredients of the dish are gluten-free, too, of course).
Because a crêpe may contain a variety of fillings, it can serve as both a main meal and a dessert. Common fillings for meal crêpes include: cheese, asparagus, ham, spinach, eggs, ratatouille, mushrooms, artichoke (in certain regions), and various meat products.
Sweet crêpes, can bee served as breakfast or dessert. They can be filled with various other sweet items such as jam, melted chocolate, whipped cream, ice cream, Nutella (a chocolate and hazelnut paste), bananas, berries, nuts, poppy seeds, cinnamon etc. The most popular sweet toppings include sugar (granulated or powdered), maple syrup, lemon juice, whipped cream, fruit spreads, sliced soft fruits, etc.
Crêpes Known by Other Names
In Italy, crêpes are called Crepsella. In areas of Eastern Europe, the meal is called Palacsinta (Hungarian), Palaèinka (Bosnian, Serbian,Bulgarian, Macedonian, Czech, Croatian and Slovenian), Palacinka (Slovak), Palatschinken (in Austria); the Romanian word for crêpe is clãtitã. In Danish, it’s Pandekage, in most German regions it’s Pfannkuchen, and in Dutch it’s Pannekoeken. The Polish version is called Naleœniki. In the Spanish region of Galicia, they’re called “Filloas”, and may also be made with pork blood instead of milk. In the Balkan region such as the countries of Albania, Montenegro, and Serbia, Palacinka may be eaten with fruit jam, feta cheese, sugar, honey, or the hazelnut-chocolate cream Nutella not unlike blintz, whose preparation is otherwise similar.
Types of Crêpes
A sweet crêpe opened up, with whipped cream and strawberry sauce made with buckwheat flour came to North America from Southwest Asia and also spread to Eastern Europe, where a similar meal, called blintz, also developed.
A sweet crêpe served with strawberries and whipped cream Mille crêpe is a French cake made of many crêpe layers. “Mille” (“mil”) means “a thousand,” implying the many layers of crêpe.
Another standard French and Belgian crêpe is the crêpe Suzette, a crêpe with lightly grated orange peel and liqueur (usually Grand Marnier) which is subsequently lit. In 1895, grand chef Henri Charpentier worked for the Café de Paris in Monaco, where he helped make the crêpe an important food in the fine restaurant. One evening, the Prince of Wales dined at the Café de Paris, and requested a luxurious crêpe dessert. In a moment of inspiration, Charpentier threw some orange and brandy onto a crêpe and lit the whole thing on fire. The iconic crêpe Suzette was born, and named after the Prince’s dinner guest that evening.
Cherry Kijafa Crêpes are also common and are made with a traditional crêpe base, but filled with cherries simmered in a Kijafa wine sauce.
Making Low Carb, Keto, Gluten Free Crêpes
A constant challenge in our house is the varying tastes between my husband and I when it comes to food. I’m the daring and adventurous one. I try to make my foods when he cannot see what is happening in the ingredients and if he likes it than he is none the wiser. One of the biggest challenges I have found trying to bake with low carb gluten free ingredients is getting them to stay together.
In regular crêpes made using wheat flour, the gluten helps to bind them together. You can make them as thin as you want, and they will still bend and fold. That however is not the case with many gluten-free flours, and virtually all low carb flours.
To help bind your crêpes together you must add a secret ingredient! Add some Aspen Protein Grass-fed Beef Gelatin! Its more common use is for sugar-free gummy bears, but it works great in making dough’s and batters behave as they should. Not to mention you get the benefits of collagen from gelatin, too.
I know gelatin might sound a little strange for crêpes, but trust me, it works. It acts as a binder, so these Keto crêpes will bend, roll and fold just like real ones! You won’t taste the difference, I promise.
The process for how to make Keto Crêpes with almond flour is really quick and easy. It’s not too different from making regular crêpes. Except the first step.
To start, you will need to “bloom” the grass-fed beef gelatin, which basically means mixing the powder with water. It will expand and thicken in a few minutes.
Puree the batter together until smooth, then add the thick gelatin mixture and blend again. The batter will be similar to normal crêpe batter (runny), but can be just a tiny bit thicker. If it’s super thick, add a bit more water gradually to thin it out.
Now, you can make the gluten-free crêpes in a hot pan on the stove, just as you would normal ones.
Nine Tips for making Perfect Crêpes Every Time
- Use the right size pan. An 9.5-inch pan works great. This recipe is more difficult if you try to use a larger one.
- Use a pan with a heavy bottom. It transfers and maintains heat better, translating to better crêpes.
- Heat the pan gradually. If you heat the pan too fast, it will likely overheat, you’ll have to reduce the heat to compensate, then increase again. Instead, heat it over medium-low and be patient as it heats up.
- Make sure the pan is hot, but not too hot. I know that sounds confusing. What I mean is, heat the pan at medium-low (or sometimes medium), not higher, but give it enough time at this temperature to heat up before you begin cooking. If the pan is too cold, the crêpe batter will stick. If it’s too hot, the crêpes will be crispy instead of soft.
- Use just a little oil (or ghee), but not too much. You need enough fat to prevent sticking, but if you use too much, the almond flour crêpes will crisp up. You need a very, very small amount, and only need to grease after every few crêpes, not after each one.
- Swirl the batter around the pan correctly. I did this wrong for years and had no idea! Don’t tilt the pan one direction and wait for the batter to drip down to the edge. Instead, rapidly tilt in a circle in all directions, and repeat this quickly 2-3 times as soon as you pour the batter in. The circle of crêpe batter will gradually get larger as you do this.
- Flip at the right time. Cook the crêpe for 1-2 minutes, until the edges are dry and you see bubbles forming on top. Gently slide a turner underneath, and if it feels dry enough to stay together, then you can flip. You may need to adjust the temperature a bit as you go. Usually, all the crêpes after the first one should turn out about the same if you have the temperature right.
- Cook for less time on the second side. After you flip, you usually need less time than the first side. No more than a minute most of the time.
- Be creative with your fillings. There are no set rules on what you can fill your crêpe with, so be adventurous!
While you could eat this crêpe for breakfast, I like it better as a dessert filled with fresh strawberries and heavy whipping cream and chocolate sauce served with a glass of Cab Franc Dessert Wine. To make this dessert extra special, you can elevate the taste by filling your crêpes with whipped cream infused with Cab Frac Dessert Wine. You can do this by filling your iSi whipped cream dispenser with 3/4 cup extra heavy whipping cream, a heaping tsp. of confectioners sweetener, 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract, and 1/4 cup of very chilled Cab Franc; pressurize with nitrogen, shake well and add in place of regular whipped cream.
Some of the best Cab Franc Dessert wine I have ever had can be found at Bacchus Winery. You should check them out. You could even take a wine making class and make your own if you live locally or just purchase a bottle or two. They ship!
I would love for you to try these. Send me pictures and tell my what wonderful things you decided to fill them with!
Keepin it Fresh!
Almond Flour Crêpes
- June 20, 2019
- 30 min
- 125 Cals/Serving
- Print this
- 2 tbsps Grass-Fed Gelatin
- 1 cup Water (divided)
- 1 cup Blanched Almond Flour
- 1/4 tsp Sea Salt (increase to 1/2 tsp for savory)
- 4 large Egg
- 2 tbsps Ghee (melted
- or Coconut Oil for dairy-free)
- Optional Ingredients (only for Sweet Crêpes)
- 1 tbsp Erythritol (or any granulated sweetener of choice)
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- Optional Fillings
- Lilly's Chocolate Sauce
- Heavy Whipped Cream
- Monkfruit Confectioner's Sweetener
- The Skies the Limit
- Step 1
- Place gelatin into a small bowl with 1/2 cup water. Set aside for 3 minutes to bloom.
- Step 2
- Meanwhile combine almond flour, sea salt, eggs, melted ghee or coconut oil, and remaining 1/2 cup water in a blender. Blend until smooth.
- Step 3
- Add gelatin mixture to the blender and blend until smooth. If it’s very thick for crêpe batter, thin out with a little more water. (Do not thin out too much. It may still be a little thicker than normal crêpe batter.)
- Step 4
- Heat an 8-inch oiled pan over medium-low heat. Pour 1/4 cup of batter into the pan and quickly tilt in a circle repeatedly, to spread evenly into a thin layer. (It may form empty air bubbles at first, just keep rotating and the batter will fill them in.) You should be able to get 2-3 rotations in. Cook for a minute or two, until the edges are dry, then carefully flip and cook for another minute on the other side.
- Step 5
- Repeat with the remaining batter.
- Step 6
- How to store crêpes: Fresh gluten-free crêpes with almond flour are delicious, but you can also make them ahead of time. Store them in the fridge lined with parchment paper or paper towels between them.
- Step 7
- Make sure the container doesn’t have too much air, because they can dry out and become crispy instead of soft. If this happens, you can just break them apart and use them as chips! It was a surprising side effect I discovered.
- Step 8
- You can also store almond flour crêpes in a plastic bag in the freezer. Again, line them with parchment paper in between first.