Friday, May 25, 2012

Gluten Free Crepes!

It's a holiday weekend! How about something a little special for breakfast on Monday...?

One of our favorite lazy-morning recipes is crepes. When we first went gluten-free, crepes was one of the first recipes I tried to re-create for our wistful eaters. (Wistful because they were mourning the wheat that had made up such a major part of our diet up to that point...)

It took some tweaking. As it turned out, the key to tasty crepes was in the GF flour mix. Anything with bean flour was unacceptable. (Bean flour adds protein and fiber, but also a distinctive taste that my family won't touch with the proverbial ten-foot pole.) However, our go-to flour mix is perfect for crepes and pancakes.

Crepes are not as hard as they sound!

Here's all you do:

Beat four eggs with 1 to 1-1/4 cups of milk. Add a cup of flour and a pinch of salt and beat until smooth. Unlike pancakes, you don't want lumps. Let mixture sit and thicken while you heat your pan.

Now for crepes, I'll use either a curved-sided stainless steel frying pan with a fair amount of melted coconut oil, or my trusty cast-iron skillet, which requires a lot of oil for the first crepe or two and then develops wondrous non-stick capabilities. We do not use "non-stick" pans per se. Not only do they give off toxic fumes when heated at too high a temperature, but they can shed little particles of chemical non-stick substance into your food. Even if they're new and non-shedding, somehow I just don't trust them. Give me the cast iron skillet instead -- I'll give the high calorie first crepe or two to the people in our household how need the extra calories, and I'll eat the later crepes that require little or no addition of oil. But I digress...

Add grease to your pan (before we cut out dairy as well as gluten, I loved to use butter for this) and swirl the pan to spread the fat. Ladle enough batter into the pan to make a good sized crepe. Now wait. If you try to turn the crepe before it's set, you'll have a mess. You'll know it's set when it starts looking dry instead of wet on top.

Some people pride themselves on pale crepes with minimal browning. We're rather hit-or-miss. As long as they're completely cooked in the middle, and not burned on the outside, they'll disappear at our house.

Usually the first crepe or two are hard to flip, for some reason, maybe it just takes a little practice to warm up. Ease your spatula (the pancake turner kind) all around the crepe, under the edges, until it's loosened from the pan. Then push the spatula deep under the crepe, lift it up, and with a flip of the wrist, turn it over. It only takes a minute or two more to cook the other side, and then you can lift it onto a waiting plate.

I usually try to get a small stack of crepes done (and another cooking) before I let people know they can help themselves. Of course, this wonderful smell fills the air, so they're ready just as soon as I give the good word, standing at my elbow, plates in hand.

Our go-to crepe filling is very simple: just powdered sugar and fresh-squeezed lemon juice. We shake the powdered sugar onto the crepe through a sieve, and follow up with a good squeeze of a lemon wedge. Roll up the crepe and sprinkle some more powdered sugar on top, and voila! Deliciousness! Our girls can eat three or four crepes each, but then they're growing teens. I usually manage one or two.

Recently, our youngest decided to make chocolate filled crepes. She made a simple chocolate ganache (chocolate chips melted with cream), spread it on the crepes, rolled them, sprinkled them with powdered sugar, and drizzled with melted chocolate.
Doesn't that look yummy?

Here's the flour mix I use for just about everything except yeast bread:

2 parts brown rice flour
2 parts white rice flour
1 part tapioca starch
1 part cornstarch

(I used to use potato starch instead of cornstarch, but one of the girls insists it tastes like bean flour to her. Since we don't have problems with corn, it works for us. I guess if we couldn't use corn I'd have to investigate some other option, like millet flour or arrowroot.)


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