Monday, February 20, 2012

Buckwheat galette with an egg


This galette is one of addictions I got while living in Fontainebleau. At first I had certain trouble eating French there with my vegetarian preferences. So very fast I switched from bistrots (common casual dining French restaurants, which were mainly meat dominated) to creperies. These were a true paradise with their menus filled with both sweet white crepes and savory buckwheat galettes. The galette with an egg was apparently the most sexy and always managed to beat everything else.

Galette is a buckwheat flour pancake, which is normally served with savory fillings. Though galettes originated from Brittany, they are now served in creperies throughout France. In Fontainebleau there are lots of creperies, we counted three just on Rue de France, which was closest to us. They always had a long list of available fillings, but the most popular one seemed to be galette complet (with emmental cheese, ham and egg) and other close variations (different kinds of cheese and egg, just cheese, just egg).

There is something lovely about this whole genre of creperies. There are small, welcoming and quiet compared to most bistrots. It is common to drink cider along with crepes or galettes, so that's what you start from when you sit down at a tiny table with a menu. It comes in a champagne-like bottle and you drink it from a ceramic cup (like a shallow tea cup). It helps you make up your mind. You sit back and chat with your companions. Then the food arrives and blows your mind away. At the end of the dinner and of the cider bottle I was always happy and peaceful. Moscow Creperie de Paris also used to have this lovely atmosphere, but I haven't visited it for a while.

Till now I didn't bake galettes at home but as Maslenitsa is now approaching they came to mind. For some reasons the recipe which seems the most commonly used didn't work for me. This might have to do with different quality of buckwheat flour. However I started from Chocolate & Zucchini recipe and after some trial and error tweaking though I arrived at the one which works really well both taste-wise and process-wise.

Making the galette with an egg turned out to be so much fun that I still can't get enough of it. You cook the galette from one side, then flip it and break an egg on top of it. Then you watch the white slowly setting on top of the galette, while trying to keep the yolk in the middle. When the white is done, you transfer the galette to a plate and fold the sides in, covering the yolk just slightly. Then you serve it. Immediately.

Buckwheat galette with an egg 

12 galettes

6 eggs
200 g buckwheat flour
50 g all purpose flour
1 tea spoon of salt
500 ml of milk
500 ml of water
vegetable oil and butter for frying

12 eggs and salt to taste (for the filling)

It is easiest to make pancake batter in a blender or food processor. Break the eggs into the blender bowl. Add both kinds of flour and salt. Pour in half of the milk. Blitz till the batter is even. Add the rest of the milk and water and mix again.

If you are mixing the batter by hand, combine both kinds of flour and salt in a bowl. Add the eggs and half of the milk and stir with a spatula to get even texture. Gradually add the rest of the milk and water, whisking constantly.

The batter should be smooth and thin. Cover it and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

To make the galettes choose either a pancake pan or a skillet 18 - 24 cm in diameter depending on you preferred galette size (I prefer the skillet to be light, non-stick pans work very well). The spatula for flipping should preferably be long.

You can cook the galettes either in vegetable oil or in the mix of vegetable oil and butter. Cooking in butter only is a little challenging as it easily burns. Set the pan over medium-high heat. When hot add 1 table spoon of oil and turn so that the oil covers the pan. Whisk the batter again before using. When the oil is hot ladle in the batter and turn the pan so that the batter covers it nicely.

Cook for 1-2 minutes till the galette sets well and browns underneath. Put the spatula under the galette and flip it. Reduce the heat to low and break an egg on top of the galette, placing the yolk in the middle. Sprinkle with salt to taste and cook till the white sets completely.

Transfer to the serving plate and fold the sides of the galette in. The most classical was is to fold four sides in to give the galette a square shape. However it is also quite common to fold just from two sides. Repeat with the rest of the batter and eggs.

To keep the galettes warm while cooking the others place them in a low oven (around 150C). However it is preferable to make the galette with an egg as close to the serving as possible as the yolk tends to set very fast while you keep it in the oven or if you are reheating the galette.

Serve warm, possibly with leafy salad and enjoy.


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Le Pain Quotidien Moscow bakery

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