When we were kids, sometimes on a day like today, my mum would make us crêpes for dinner.Basically, on a quiet night in. Palatschinke, we call them. Normally you’d have them with all sorts of sweet toppings – apricot jam, sugar+cinnamon mix, hazelnut spread, walnuts or you could mix and match all of the above. And today it just felt like a palatschinke day…
These crêpe-like palatschinke are a staple in Serbian mums’ cuisines. Easy to rustle up, quick to make. You have to master the skill of ’tilting-the-pan’ in order to make them nice and thin ( the thinner the better). My nanny used to serve them as well as pudding after a traditional bean soup… for some reason. Savoury versions appeared later – but I was never a fan. So I thought to have a go and do a healthier version of palatschinke AND give them a savoury twist.
BACK TO THE ROOTS. Straight away I thought of France, and all sorts of crêpes they have got. Then I thought of galettes bretonne, from Brittany. Galettes de sarrasin to be precise – made entirely from buckwheat flour, as they do them in lower Brittany.The legend says they were created by accident – when a clumsy farmer from Brittany spilled his buckwheat porridge onto a hot surface. in the fireplace. Quite a while back I had them for the first time and it was a love at first bite. They are just delicious.
Recently I came across a recipe on the blog of fabulous Mimi Thorisson that has inspired today’s recipe. Also, it’s inspired a playlist that I was listening to while preparing this dish:
THE TWIST. This dish was meant to be a post-workout meal so I was thinking how to add enough protein to it. So I have added a fried duck egg and goat’s milk labneh balls, a strained yoghurt cheese, that’s miraculously creamy and tangy and adds that extra layer to the galettes. You may find labneh in middleastern shops or make it at home (recipe below). It does take some time to make it, so if you are not too keen or you can’t find labneh in shops, just substitute it with good old feta cheese (goat’s milk preferably). The creaminess of the cheese and the runny egg yolk blend with the rest of ingredients just about right.
Traditional recipe – since it is from Brittany takes butter. I have tested it with coconut oil and plant milk (home-made almond) and we loved it! Also, the galettes turned out perfectly. They need to be thin but still soft, slightly brittle on the edges and to have small holes in them, which is their main feature. Besides the lovely nuttiness. There are recipes that use wheat flour as well in the batter but the galettes come out completely differently.
This flavour combo is just one of endless options you can do with these galettes. You can have them on their own, with sweet toppings, with fruit or whatever you feel like. I know I had one for pudding as well… only with almond butter and sprinkled cinnamon. Nom nom.
- THE TOPPING
- 1 small butternut squash
- 1 bunch cavolo nero (12-15 leaves)
- goat's milk labneh or feta
- (recipe for labneh below)
- 1 egg per galette
- 1/2 cup bouillon
- 1 tbsp slivered almonds (or pumpkin seeds)
- pinch sumac, sea salt and black pepper
- coconut oil for frying
- THE BATTER (sarrasin)
- 2 cups buckwheat flour
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 2 cups (plant) milk
- Cut the squash into cubes and fry until start to brown for 4-5 minutes. Add the bouillon and sumac, cover and simmer until cooked and tender but still al dente. Set aside. In a pan, fry the cavolo nero for 6-7 minutes on high heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Leave it a bit al dente too. Set aside. Leave labneh/feta at room temperature while making the crêpes.
- Sieve the buckwheat flour into a large bowl and add the eggs in the middle. Add the melted coconut oil and salt and start slowly adding and stirring the milk. Stir constantly and vigorously so you don’t get any lumps in the batter. Cover the bowl and leave to rest for a couple of hours.
- Heat a pan to medium heat and add a dab of coconut oil. Add one ladle of batter to form a crêpe, thin enough so it starts to bubble and form small holes in the pancake. Fry approx 2-3 minutes until golden and edges are brittle. Flip sides and repeat. You can place them into a preheated oven to very low heat to keep them warm while frying the batch.
- Place some squash, cavolo nero with some labneh halves/ crumbled feta in the middle of a crêpe. Fold the side of the crêpe over the filling and leave for a minute or so to melt the cheese ever so slightly and serve the goodness.
- 2 cups goat's or Greek yoghurt
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Black pepper for seasoning
- Over a large bowl, place a big sieve and cover it with a cheese cloth or muslin. Add the salt to your yoghurt of choice and and stir well. Then spoon the yoghurt onto the cheese cloth and close the edges of the cloth around the yoghurt. Tie a string around the top, firmly. Leave it in the sieve over a bowl in the fridge for one or two days, so the whey drains from the yoghurt. The longer you leave it, the firmer the labneh will be. Give it a good squeeze to check if it ready and make labneh balls. Serve the with a drizzle of olive oil and some black pepper on top. You can leave it for shorter and have a lovely spread after 24h or so.