During my time in France I have seen my fair share of crepes, as well as galettes, which are the savoury version used with buckwheat flour and have a rougher texture. Highlights include a crème de marrons crêpe, a goat’s cheese and honey galette and a chorizo galette that I ate in Montpellier which you can read about here. None have yet to beat my very first memory crêpes while on a family holiday in France. We were about to catch the Eurotunnel back home and decided to nip into a crêperie before. We waited an age, to the point where Dad was suggesting we forget the crêpes: luckily, they arrived soon after. They were beautiful soft and golden, served with chocolat chaud (a thin but rich warm chocolate sauce), Chantilly and either warmed pears or apples. The soft fruit and melt in your mouth crêpes drenched with rich chocolate and clouds of sweet cream swirls up a sweet, fruity haze that floats over my mind whenever I think about that evening all those years ago. The memory has probably become rose-tinted, but it nevertheless has acquired an important status in my kerfuffles with crêpes.
I’ve had less experience with the thicker, smaller ‘griddle’ pancakes. My twin adores Scotch pancakes, while I remain fairly impartial to them. I’ve made the plain cakes before as they are good for brunch and can be made in advance. However, this variation of flour-based batter is also dripping with golden memories. I’m assuming most people my age grew up with Matilda the film and were inspired by the 6 year old that serenely whisked, spooned and flipped her way into a mound of the most perfect looking griddle cakes we had set eyes on so far. It is very easy and immensely satisfying to make them as identical and perfect as possible, as I found out.
Mum has a tradition on her birthday to give us children (still identifying with that word, thank you) presents. When she came to visit me in Bordeaux she was sweet enough to bring me her birthday present to me: a canister of Stonewall Kitchen Farmhouse pancake and waffle mix. This company sells a mixture of speciality foods, kitchenware and trinkets for your garden (my Mum found it at the garden centre near us). Their website looks delicious and they have gluten-free versions of baking mixes.
You still add eggs and milk, but fluffy, delicious pancakes hit a sweet spot. I spooned natural yoghurt and orange marmalade on top of mine, creating a sunny, tangy, not too sweet breakfast that was supery-dupery-magical. I’m doubtful as to whether they’d be a recommended daily breakfast but a weekend treat took great form in the shape of these.
You say pancake, I say crêpe. Well, these two are very different and while the former, thicker and smaller version is ubiquitous throughout the US and crêpes are best in France, they both are beautiful when done to perfection.