When the temperature starts to drop, reach for award-winning British food writer and cookbook author Diana Henry’s new guide to cold weather comfort food. From rib-sticking braises to the best fall fruit desserts, Roast Figs Sugar Snow is the key to staying warm this fall and winter. This savory French buckwheat galette won’t let you down.
My pancake love started 15 years ago, when Patricia Wells’ book Food Lovers’ Guide to France led me to the Café des Artisans, a little crêperie on a cobbled street in Dinan, Brittany. Here I sampled my first galettes de sarrasin: dark, nutty-tasting buckwheat crêpes. Surrounded by dusty accordions, old advertising posters and bottles of hard cider, I perused the café’s single-sheet menu. I expected to find buckwheat crêpes with smoked salmon and cream, but I wasn’t planning on finding mushrooms, walnuts and Roquefort, or sausage, bacon and potatoes in a mustard sauce: it seems that almost anything can go into a buckwheat crêpe. French cider is the obvious accompaniment, drunk Breton-style out of a large teacup.
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups buckwheat flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- flavorless oil, such as peanut or sunflower
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
- 2 large onions, very finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- Salt and pepper
- 1 pound smoked bacon lardons
- 1 heaping cup Gruyere or Emmenthal, shredded
- 6 large eggs
- Sift the flours and salt into a large bowl and make a well in the center.
- Beat together the milk, water and eggs in a bowl and gradually pour into the well, beating the flour into it as you go.
- Stir in the melted butter and let the batter sit.
- For the filling, melt the butter in a saucepan and sweat the onions over very low heat.
- You may need to add a splash of water to stop them from sticking to the bottom of the pan – the onions must not color, but should soften (about 20 minutes).
- Add the cream, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Sauté the bacon in its own fat and set aside.
- To cook the galettes, heat a tiny bit of oil in a large skillet.
- Add half a ladleful of the batter and swirl it around so that it reaches all the sides. The batter for these is thicker than normal crêpe batter, so you have to really swirl it to get it to move.
- Cook until brown and set underneath, then flip the pancake over with a spatula and cook the other side. Add a little more oil for each pancake.
You can either cover the pancake with the various components of the filling–bacon, onions and cheese – and then break an egg on top and let it cook on the pancake, or you can let it fry separately. To be honest, I never find it easy to get the egg to cook on the pancake. I usually add the other fillings, let the cheese melt as the galette finishes cooking, and fry the eggs in a separate pan, adding them at the end. In France they fold the pancakes over, but I think they look best open, so that you can see the filling.
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