PANCAKE DAAAAAY TOMORROW!
Anybody else adore pancakes?
French, American, Scottish, Welsh cakes, Dutch baby, German…whatever form I can have them in, I love them.
But there will always be a soft spot in my heart that tells me that you simply cannot beat a truly wonderfully made French crêpe. Personally, I am a savoury pancake girl, but my husband prefers a sweet version. And crêpes and buckwheat galettes just lend themselves so beautifully to either. You can make a big batch and everyone can mix-and-match to suit their tastes, or you can all have a savoury and a sweet one. But they will always taste amazing.
And I know I’m biased, but I assure you, the BEST crêpe recipe in the world is my French grandmother, Georgette’s. I never met her, since she died long before I was born, and my links to her consist of the family farm that I love going to to see my aunts, uncles and cousins, and four hand-written recipes that my mother shared with me.
The elegant scrawl details rough measurements and French-sourced ingredients, but there is one recipe I have made over and over, and found easy to source ingredients for and simple to make. It’s one of the first recipes I ever learned to make, at the foot of my maman, watching a hot pan sizzle and begging for a bite of the first pancake, which my sister and I named “the tasting pancake”.
I could not think of any more appropriate recipe to share with you guys for Pancake Day than what is simply the best French crêpes recipe, along with some fun low sugar savoury and sweet topping/filling ideas that can make your Sugar Free Pancake Day a huge success, even if you are in the middle of Sugar Free February!
Ham, fried egg and grated cheese (a French classic – I like to add a large handful of rocket)
Spinach & ricotta (like my baked buckwheat galettes recipe)
Leeks (fried slowly in lots of butter or olive oil and black pepper) and/or mushrooms with a white sauce (make it dairy free by using non-dairy milk and coconut oil instead of milk and butter for the white sauce)
Crispy bacon, scrambled eggs and grilled or fried tomatoes
Black beans, cheese and low-sugar salsa (some sliced jalapeno and/or spring onions (scallions) go pretty well here, too)
Jarred roasted peppers (check the label to make sure they are sugar free or roast/grill some yourself at home), goat’s cheese (or feta or chopped nuts) and pesto
Roasted pureed squash (or sweet potato) with goat’s cheese
Fresh or frozen defrosted berries and plain yogurt (with or without a teaspoon of rice syrup – fructose free)
Sliced bananas and unsweetened nut butter (with or without plain or unsweetened coconut yogurt)
Low/No Sugar Nutella (another French classic) – I LOVE I Quit Sugar’s homemade version which is delicious and fructose free, but if you are looking for something sweeter, ready made and pretty much identical to the original with 83% less sugar than name brand Nutella, try Jim Jams chocolate spread (not something I would recommend you have everyday, but a great alternative with less sugar while you are coming off the sweet stuff)
Lemon & “Sugar” – I use fresh squeezed lemon juice and xylitol
85-90% dark chocolate, melted (on its own or with fresh chopped fruit, chopped nuts or seeds, and/or nut butter)
Delicious sugar free pancakes ready in no time and with sweet & savoury low sugar topping ideas!
- 500 g (3 and 1/2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
- pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp xylitol, optional
- 4 medium eggs
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp rum, optional (Grandmere Georgette's suggestion, and it's a pretty great one!)
- 750 ml (3 cups) full-fat milk (or water, but milk is nicer)
Mix the flour, salt and xylitol (if using), then make a well in the centre of the mix with your fingers. Crack the eggs into the well and pour in the oil, rum (if using) and milk. Whisk well to combine. You can cook the crepes now, but the mixture does benefit from being left to sit at room temperature for an hour (or make the night before and allow to sit in the fridge overnight if you are planning breakfast pancakes).
To cook the pancakes, heat a crepe maker, or heat a crepe pan or large frying pan over medium heat. Pour into about 1 tbsp oil or butter and allow to heat for a few mins, then pour in a ladleful of batter and quickly swirl the pan round in a clockwise direction at an angle, until the batter covers the whole of the pan in a very thin layer (the thinner the better so use less batter for the next pancake if it seems thick but still covers the whole pan). Allow the pancake to cook for a minute, until it looks nearly cooked through and has golden brown patches on the bottom. Use a spatula to flip the crepe over and cook on the other side for another 30 secs or so until the crepe is light but covered in golden brown patches on both sides.
Cook the rest of the pancakes in the same way, stacking them on an ovenproof plate or dish as you go and keeping the plate with the stacked cooked pancakes in an oven set to a low setting (about 140C/275F/gas 1 or so) to keep them warm.
Serve the pancakes warm with your chosen fillings (see ideas above). For savoury pancakes, particularly any with cheese (or sweet ones with chocolate or something that needs melting), I find the best way to do them is to add the filling when you are halfway through cooking the crepe and have just flipped it. As the bottom is cooking, add the ingredients and allow to heat through, the fold the crepe in half and press down, letting the cheese melt and everything get nice and hot.