The question is, can a crepe be gluten-free? I say, of course it can! As long as you understand what needs to happen to your batter to get a good crepe, and with the abundance of alternate flours our there, it’s possible to get a satisfying “paper pancake” without the gluten. However, not everyone out there is gluten-free and mastering the traditional crepe is a great skill to acquire. Today I want to share both recipes, I feel it’s best to understand the original to get the alternate versions just right. With a little practice you’ll get the hang of it, and it seems to impress family and guests though it takes little effort!
Crepes are such a staple in France they’ve taken to calling the holiday which celebrates the return of Spring (“La Chandeleur”) as “Crepe day.” On this day if you wish for good fortune all year, toss the first crepe of the batch, usually a dud anyhow, on the top of your kitchen cabinets and leave it there all year! My dud-crepe is sitting atop a cupboard as we speak gathering a load of dust and good luck for my family. Give it a try, I’m betting you wouldn’t mind an extra push for some fortune yourself…
The trick to getting it right is understanding the balance of flour to milk (much thinner than pancake batter), and realizing the order you add the ingredients is important and not to be messed with. Letting the batter sit refrigerated for at least a couple hours is also ideal. With the traditional recipe it’s not as pertinent, for last minute meals we’ve cooked them moments after all was whisked together and had good results. But with the gluten-free version, it’s much more obligatory to get the right body and hold for an ideal crepe.
The traditional recipe is below. Try topping my personal favorite way, with chocolate hazelnut spread (nutella) and sliced bananas… I’m lost on chocolate heaven! (regular recipe and vegan recipes here)
- 1 cup flour
- Pinch of salt
- ¼ cup sugar
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1⅔ cups whole milk
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon rum *optional*
- (extra butter for the pan)
- Have on hand a 10-inch nonstick crepe pan or regular skillet.
- In a bowl, sift the flour, salt, and sugar.
- Make a well in the center. Add the eggs and whisk them into the flour mixture.
- Gradually whisk in the milk, stirring constantly.
- Stir in the 1 tablespoon of melted butter (and rum if using, I highly suggest it!).
- When the mixture forms a smooth batter, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours; Overnight is also great if making the batter the night before for breakfast following morning.
- Heat the pan over medium heat & butter it lightly. Every few crepes add a bit more butter to the pan.
- Pour about 4 tablespoons of batter into the pan. Quickly swirl the batter using circular motions to coat the entire surface.
- Wait until the crepe starts to brown at the edges. Flip with a long utensil that won’t tear, with your fingers by pinching the edge of the crepe, or with an impressive powerful flick of the wrist.
- It only needs to cook on the flip-side for 30 seconds or until it is lightly browned. Slide the crepe out onto a plate, cover with a light towel to keep warm.
Now to take on the gluten-free angle. There are several different flour combos I’ve tried that work out wonderfully…. and probably even more that have been a flop. The thing to pay attention to is the texture of the batter (no lumps) and the ratio of flour to milk. Some flours like coconut take a but more liquid to fully incorporate, so adjust accordingly. Below is the list of flour combo ideas, each lends a different and exiting flavor profile:
1 cup of brown rice flour; 1/2 chestnut flour & 1/2 cup quinoa flour; 1/2 cup buckwheat flour & 1/4 cup millet & 1/4 cup almond flour.
These are some of my favorite combos so far. An example of the recipe goes like this:
Recipe for gluten-free crepes :
- 1/2 cup chestnut flour
- 1/2 cup quinoa flour
- 2 large eggs
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 1 tablespoon rum (optional)
Another recipe example, leaving out the milk:
*1/2 cup buckwheat flour
*1/4 cup almond flour, 1/4 cup millet flour
*½ teaspoon salt
*3 large eggs
*2 cups water (add little by little as needed)
*1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 tablespoon melted butter
As always, follow the instructions found in the traditional recipe… this never changes!