What I love about Shrove Tuesday is that you can eat as many crepes or pancakes as you like without feeling like a freak. Crepes for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Go ahead it's Shrove Tuesday! Three course meal of blinis, galettes and crepes? Why not? It's Shrove Tuesday! I relished a two course meal of an egg, ham and cheese galette and chocolate crepe in the wonderful Creperie de Josselin in Paris a couple of years ago. Portions were huge and while my boyfriend sat struggling with his, I sat as if I was in pancake heaven. Only in a creperie in France or on Shrove Tuesday would I be able get away with it. I have received astonished looks from those who have witnessed me munch through pancake after pancake in one breakfast sitting. In nursery school when I tried my first pancake ever on Shrove Tuesday, I remember my teacher laughing "Another one?" as I went back for a third. I still remember clearly how they tasted. Soft, squidgy, warm and buttery.
As I have a busy week ahead and it's been since Paris that I had my last galette, this year Shrove Tuesday is Galette Sunday. Made with buckwheat flour rather than white or wholemeal, galettes are darker and crispy and make for nicer savoury dishes than its softer, paler cousin the crepe. Buckwheat is also gluten-free so these are a great alternative for coeliacs, plus vegans get a look in too because the recipe I've used is free of eggs and milk. Fillings obviously would need to be adjusted to suit. Be sure to make the batter ahead of time to let it rest, preferably the night before, otherwise the galettes will be too brittle to fold.
It may have been the recipe I chose, but my experience today taught me the perfect galette takes a lot of practise. They say the first crepe in the pan is always the worst, but in the case of galettes, or maybe more specifically my galettes, it is the first three or four. The trick is to have the batter at the right consistency and not to pour too much into the pan. The thicker it is the longer it takes to cook and nomatter how long I left it, it remained very wet. When I did manage to make a lovely crisp galette, it was when just enough batter was poured to thinly cover the base of the pan, so thin that several little holes appeared as it cooked but don't worry about these. Better to have a crispy galette with a few holes than a big brown mushy mess in your pan. I should have taken a picture of my pile of failed attempts which just seemed to get bigger and bigger.
Opting for the sweet-savoury sensation I filled them with goats cheese seasoned with black pepper and thyme, and served them with warm baked figs and honey. Delicious.
Goat cheese galettes with baked figs & honey
Makes 8 servings
For the batter:
- 250g buckwheat flour
- 125ml water
- 125ml sparkling cider (or water which would do just as fine)
- 5g salt
- 300ml water for after batter is allowed to rest
For the filling:
- 500g soft goats cheese, crumbled
- black pepper
For the baked figs:
- 8 figs
- 5g butter
- 5 tsp sugar
- lemon juice
Add salt to the flour in a bowl and mix in the water and cider in two parts. Once combined mix on lowest setting if using a mixer or by hand for 10 minutes. Allow batter to rest in fridge for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight. Add 300ml water, going slow with the last 100ml which should be added gradually to achieve the required consistency of somewhere between that of single and double cream. Mix on slowest setting or by hand for 5 minutes.
Figs can go in the oven before the second mixing of the batter. Preheat oven to 200 degree C and smear butter on base of baking dish. Trim stems from the figs and cut figs in half. Place figs cut side up on baking dish and sprinkle with half the sugar and a little lemon juice. Place in oven for 15 minutes. Baste with juices before sprinkling over the remaining sugar and baking for a further 5 minutes.
To make the galettes, heat a frying pan or round flat griddle until hot. Smear with a little butter. Pour just enough batter to cover base of pan thinly. Allow to cook then top with goats cheese according to how the galette will be folded. You are not meant to flip galettes but I cheated and flipped mine (which was a feat in itself) to get them to cook. Sprinkle cheese with some fresh thyme and ground black pepper. Allow cheese to melt before folding galette and serving with baked figs and honey.