Crepe, Crumpet, Blini, Tortilla, pancake you name it, each and every region of the world has its own recipe. The first crepes have been around since 7000B.C but as far as France is concerned the first written mention of the galette are back to the XIIIth century, this doesn’t mean it did not exist, just that recipes were oral (the only litterates aside from some nobles were the monks and they were busy writing other stories).
Crepes/Galettes both come from Brittany but even their recipe varies between Upper Brittany (U.B) and Lower Brittany (L.B) and you would be ill advised to use the wrong recipe. Both were called galette from the word “galet” (flat pebble) that was heated and on which the batter was poured to avoid burning.
Crusaders knights and lords brought back buckwheat grains from the crusades and very quickly the flour obtained was used in bakeries and became very popular in Brittany.
The three main differences between crepes and galette are:
1. The flour, a crepe is made of only wheat flour while a galette uses buckwheat flour (100% in U.B and no less than 70% in L.B).
2. The number of eggs, usually a crepe will use roughly 1egg per 3.5oz of flour.
In U.B they will not use eggs at all and in L.B 1 egg per 2pds of flour.
3. Crepes is mostly used for sweet preparations and desserts while Galette is a main dish and will be cooked with savoury recipes.
Also galette are usually done in small quantities, one will cook enough galettes (one or two per persons) for the meal while when preparing crepes, because of the sheer number of ingredients and flavouring, if you don’t prepare a few gallons of batter then there will be fighting over who gets the last one.
I have memories of my great grandmother, bless her, spending an entire afternoon cooking a pile (trust me 30 or 40 crepes looks like the Everest of crepes when you are 8 or 9) of crepes for her great grandchildren and very few of those got to see the next day.
In regards with the fillings, as said above, galette will often be savoury, so here is a list of ingredients:
- Creme fraiche
- Salted butter
- Ham or better Andouille (innards sausage that match perfectly the galette)
- Sausages all flavours (except the the Frankfurt type)
- Some cheese
- All this served with a bowl of apple cider
For the crepe, let’s be honest, if the batter is great you don’t really need much more to enjoy the crepe.
- Crystal sugar is my favourite as it gives a nice crunchiness to the soft crepe texture
- Jams (any but in small quantities)
- Ice cream scoop with hot chocolate and whipped cream
- Salted butter caramel
- Suzette with sugar with a glass of Rhum, Grand Marnier (orange liqueur), Anis and then flambee
- Usually server with coffee, milk, tea or a juice
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