Long before anyone realized that gluten-sensitivity was an autoimmune disorder, Elisabeth Prueitt endured the daily discomfort of developing pastry recipes that would turn Tartine Bakery & Cafe into San Francisco’s most popular destination for the carb-loving, all-day brunch crowd. It wasn’t until she switched to naturally leavened breads made from heirloom grains that her symptoms finally subsided. More than a decade later, she and her husband, Chad Robertson, are expanding to a fourth Bay Area location, with their largest retail operation yet coming to Downtown LA’s Arts District later this year.
Prueitt’s latest cookbook, “Tartine All Day,” is a collection of favorite recipes and simple techniques adapted for the modern, everyday home cook. Recipes like her modified crêpes — or Breton galettes, as they’re called in France — substitute gluten-free buckwheat flour in the place of white flour. The result is an earthier, more flavorful crêpe with a subtle bite. In Brittany, you’ll find vendors and bakeries that sell galettes filled with savory variations on the ham and Gruyère classic topped with a runny egg. But since we’re on this side of the pond, there’s no need to limit yourself to salty ingredients. Prueitt says buckwheat flour pairs just as well with sweets, so try it with “melted chocolate, sautéed apples, or pastry cream with raspberries and figs.”
Prueitt recommends allowing the batter to rest for at least 2 hours, if not overnight. This helps the buckwheat to lose its bitter edge. Over time, the starch in the flour will absorb moisture and cause the batter to become more viscous. The result is a lighter, airier crêpe with less of a bitter edge. If your batter becomes too viscous, whisk in a splash of water and milk. Your batter should spread readily in the pan and be “thinner than a pancake batter and similar to heavy cream.”
Yield: Makes 2 cups of crêpe batter, enough for 10 to 12 crêpes
¾ cup buckwheat flour
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp sea salt
A splash of water or milk
Unsalted butter, for the pan
Prepare the batter: In a blender, combine the flour, eggs, milk, oil and salt; blend until very smooth. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours. (The crêpe batter will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.)
In a large bowl, whisk the batter and thin it with the water or milk if necessary. It should be thinner than pancake batter and about the thickness of heavy cream.
Make the crêpes: Heat a small (6- to 7-inch) nonstick pan over medium heat and swirl in enough butter to coat the bottom of the pan. Ladle in about 3 tablespoons of batter, tilting the pan in all directions to spread evenly. Cook for about 1 minute, until the underside of the crêpe is lightly browned. Then flip and cook the other side for about 30 seconds. Transfer the crêpe to a plate and let cool. Continue cooking the rest of the crêpes until you’ve used up all the batter, adding more butter to the pan as needed.
Note: Cooked crêpes can be cooled, stacked and stored, tightly sealed, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.