One of the foods that most people think of when they think of French cuisine is crepes. While at this point in time you can get crepes anywhere in France, Brittany, or Bretagne, in particular boasts crepes as a local favorite. More than that, some sources even site Bretagne as the place where crepes originated. In Bretagne, crepes are often made with buckwheat flour and are generally called Galettes.
For me, the really interesting part came in learning about the filling for Breton Galettes. I generally think of crepes as a delicious breakfast item filled with fruit, chocolate, or some other sweet food and dusted with powdered sugar. However, Breton Galettes have a list of potential fillings that goes way past the realm of the sweet. Savory ingredients reign in Galettes, such as ham, cheese, or egg. I chose to make ham and cheese Galettes, and they were amazing. My Galette came out a little thick, so I recommend in the recipe below adding a little more water than I did. I also ate the leftovers for breakfast with some jam, fresh strawberries, and powdered sugar - also delicious. Nothing like a recipe that can double as both dinner and breakfast!
Breton Galettes with Ham and Cheese
Adapted from The Global Gourmet
Makes about 12 Galettes
1 3/4 cups buckwheat flour (whole wheat flour works as well)
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups milk
2 cups water plus 1/2 cup extra to use as needed
1/2 cup butter
12 slices deli cut ham
1 1/2 cups grated cheese (Gruyere or Swiss work very well here)
- Combine the flours and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle of the flour and pour in half of the milk. Use a whisk to mix thoroughly. The mixture will be very thick at this point. Add the rest of the milk and whisk well.
- Cover the batter and let it sit for about 30 minutes. While the batter sits, clarify the butter. Put the butter in a saucepan and melt completely. Use a spoon to skim off the top layer that forms on the butter. Let the butter cool completely. When cool, there will be a milky sediment at the bottom of the pan. Pour the golden melted butter into a bowl, leaving this sediment in the pan.
- Going back to the batter, add 2 cups of the water, one cup at a time. After each addition, whisk well, making sure no lumps remain. Add up to an extra 1/2 cup water until the batter is a very thin consistency. (You can also try making one Galette, and add water later if it is too thick.)
- Whisk in half of the clarified butter to the batter.
- To cook the Galettes, a griddle works very well. However, a pan works as well if you don't have a griddle. Heat your griddle or pan to medium heat. Once hot, dip a paper towel in the remaining butter and wipe on the griddle or pan.
- Pour batter into the hot pan. You can make the Galettes whatever size you would like, but I recommend making them about 12 inches in diameter. The batter should set immediately in the pan. Let the Galette cook for about 1 minute until lightly browned. Flip, and cook about 1 minute on the other side as well. Remove to a plate.
- Repeat this process with the rest of the batter, buttering the pan between each Galette.
- When all Galettes are cooked, you can begin adding your fillings. Put one Galette back on the griddle or pan. Top with one slice of ham and sprinkle with 2 to 3 tablespoons of cheese. Let cook just until the cheese begins to melt. Fold the Galette in half once, and then in half again. Serve hot.
Ryan's rating of Breton Galettes with Ham and Cheese - 5.
Here's a reminder of Ryan's rating system:
1 - Awful. If you make this again I'll shove a fork in my eye.
2 - Meh. It's not my favorite, but I won't threaten self-harm if it shows up again.
3 - Good. I wouldn't feel forced to order a pizza behind your back.
4 - Great! I will fight you for the leftovers.
5 - Love it! Make it again tomorrow. Or immediately and I will bathe in it.