When we were at the beach this summer, the children and I found a few breakfast spots that prepared fresh crepes to order on top of large hot griddles and filled them with everything from chocolate and berries to bananas to whipped cream.
They were fine, but like most European-inspired dishes, especially confections, I found they were too large and too thick. Once the cook rolled them around the fillingand placed them in a paper cone, they were rather unwieldy. The layers were so thick that the berries and chocolate-hazelnut we ordered spilled out messily. The birds around us were happy, at least, with their chocolaty fruity snacks.
Once home, I told the kids that not only could we make gluten-free crepes here, but that we could also prepare a more delicate, French-like treat.
This recipe is inspired by traditional recipes, like those of renowned chef, Eric Ripert, but I have used almond flour in place of all-purpose flour, organic cage-free eggs, coconut sugar in place of whire sugar, plant-based milk (I like Ripple brand unsweetened vanilla, but use almond or cashew milk if you’d like) in place of whole dairy milk, and homemade ghee (you can buy it if you must) in place of melted whole butter.
Once you have combined the flour, eggs, sugar, and milk, you can make this batter your own. Whisk in orange liqueur, cinnamon, vanilla seeds scraped from the dried bean, or even some organic cocoa powder. If you desire a savory crepe, add half the sugar, hold the spices, vanilla, and citrus, and whisk in some finely chopped fresh herbs or even grated sheep’s milk cheese.
Traditionally, crepe batter requires a bit of a nap after the ingredients are combined. This allows the gluten to rest and the batter to thicken slightly. Because this batter didn’t contain gluten, however, resting isn’t necessary.
A word about cooking the crepes. A nonstick pan is essential here and it must be well heated with a bit of ghee to allow the batter to set properly once added to the pan. And regarding pouring the batter into the pan, pour just enough in the center of the pan, swirl to cover the base of the pan, and wait until it is set and moves easily before flipping.
It takes only a matter of minutes to create a lovely stack of thin petite rounds that you can then fill with just about anything you like.
No, these crepes aren’t perfectly French. But prepared with nourishing ingredients, I believe you will feel moved to declare, “merci, bien,” just the same.
Makes about 20 crepes
1/2 cup finely ground almond flour
2 tablespoons coconut sugar or granulated monk fruit
Pinch of Himalayan pink salt
2 large cage-free eggs
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest or 1 drop of lemon essential oil (optional)
1 teaspoon grated orange zest or 1 drop wild orange or tangerine essential oil (optional)
3 tablespoons melted and cooled ghee, plus more for cooking and serving
1/2 cup plant-based milk, plus more as needed
Cinnamon sugar (prepared with granulated monk fruit or Turbinado sugar) for serving (optional)
In a large measuring cup or medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, sugar, salt, eggs, vanilla, lemon and orange zest or oils, if using, 3 tablespoons of ghee, and milk, whisking until smooth. The batter should be the consistency of heavy cream. Whisk in more milk, as needed.
Heat about 2 teaspoons of ghee in an 8-inch nonstick crepe pan or sauté pan over medium heat. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into the center of the pan, and lift it off the heat to swirl the batter in the pan, covering the entire surface of the pan. (If you need to drizzle in additional batter to cover any holes, you can. Just don’t add too much; you want the crepes to be as thin as possible.)
Cook the crepe until the top surface appears nearly dry and it moves easily when you gently shake the pan, about 1 1/2 minutes.
Using a small offset spatula or your fingers, flip the crepe and cook another minute or so until it again moves easily in the pan and is light golden brown on the underside.
Slip the crepe onto a plate and repeat with the remaining batter, adding more ghee to the pan each time, and stacking the crepes on top of one another.
(If you don’t want to use all the batter, pout it into a glass jar, seal, and refrigerate fou up to 1 day. The batter will likely thicken overnight, so thin it with additional milk, as needed. If you have leftover crepes, set on a plate, wrap in plastic wrap, and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.
To serve, fold each crepe in half and then in half again to create a quarter moon. Drizzle with warm ghee and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Alternatively, spread with chocolate-hazelnut paste, almond butter, berries, or whatever you like.