I’m picky about pancakes – I’ll pretty much always go for fluffy, American-style ones over thin French ones. However Shrove Tuesday (9th of February this year) is pretty much the one day that I’ll opt for crepes. I think the main issue I have with crepes is that they take so effing long to cook as you can only fry one at a time. To stop me from getting too hangry this year I’ve prepped everything in advance. Come Tuesday, all I have to do is warm the crepes up and they’ll be ready to eat!
As I’ve been trying to stick to a refined sugar free diet during the weekdays I knew I’d need to whip up an epic filling to satisfy my nutella-loving heart. Having made this sweet potato chocolate ice cream before, I thought it would be the perfect place to start for a chocolatey, gooey spread without needing any sugar. I switched the cashews out for toasted hazelnuts and BOOM: chocolate-hazelnut spread! It’s SO. GOOD. Like not just ‘good for something healthy’, it’s on par with nutella in my opinion. It’s not sickly sweet – it’s creamy and almost mousse-like.
As it’s a vegan filling, I thought it would be fitting to pair it with a vegan crepe. I wanted a challenge so I decided to try making them gluten-free too. Buckwheat pancakes were the obvious start but I wanted to get a different flour in there. Gram flour, made from chickpeas, is an amazingly versatile gluten-free flour which packs a protein punch. It has a golden hue which, when added to the batter, helped give a crepes more of a ‘normal’ crepe colour (buckwheat flour makes the crepes kinda grey :/ ). As for the egg substitute, I just went with good old ground flaxseed and it worked like a dream!
After frying up about 20 of these dudes, I also figured out a good method to make sure every crepe is nice and thin – leave the pan off the heat for about 30 seconds in between crepes. When the pan is slightly cool it’s easier to swirl the batter all over the base of the pan.
If you’re like me and get stressed about cooking crepes to order, you can prep them a few days in advance. Just stack em and wrap them up in cling-film or foil. Then when you wanna eat, just take a crepe and whack it into a nice hot pan until it’s warmed through and serve it up with a dollop of the chocolate-hazelnut spread and any other goodies that take your fancy.
- 2 tbsp ground flaxseed (linseed)
- ½ tsp salt
- ⅔ cup (160 ml) non-dairy milk (I used oat milk)
- ½ cup (56 g) gram flour (chickpea flour) (see notes)
- ½ cup (70 g) buckwheat flour
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 cup (250 ml) water
- 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
- Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread (recipe follows)
- chopped hazelnuts
- In a medium bowl stir together flax, salt and milk and set aside for a few minutes to thicken.
- Add the flours and cinnamon to the bowl and stir together well until you get a thick batter. Gradually stir in the water and then the melted coconut oil until you have a thin, smooth batter. Leave to rest at room temp for at least 10 minutes OR covered for up to 3 days in the fridge.
- Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat with a bit of vegetable or coconut oil. Pour in about ¼ cup (60 ml/ 4 tbsp) of batter - tilt and swirl the pan so that that batter spreads out in a thin circle. Once the underside is set and slightly golden, flip the pancake and cook on the other side. Transfer to a plate.
- Let the pan cool off the heat for about 30 seconds then re-grease with a slick of oil and repeat the frying process until you've used up the batter.
- Serve the crepes warm (I warm them up individually in a hot, dry pan) with chocolate hazelnut spread and whatever other toppings you want!
- gram flour is usually really cheap if you look in the 'international food' section of most supermarkets in the UK (specifically the Indian foods section). Otherwise many Asian food stores in the UK will sell it very cheaply.
- 2 small sweet potatoes
- 50g (~1/3 cup) hazelnuts
- ½ cup (125 ml) cold water
- 4-6 pitted medjool dates or 3-4 tbsp date paste (see notes)
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- Make the sweet potato puree: Prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork. Wrap individually in tin foil and place into a cold oven. Turn the oven on to 180 C (350 F) and roast for 60-90 minutes until completely soft. Cut the roasted sweet potatoes in half and leave to cool slightly. Scoop out the flesh and measure out 200g (3/4 cup) of it. Discard the skins.
- Meanwhile place the hazelnuts onto a baking tray and roast in the same oven as the potatoes for 8-12 minutes until the skins start to peel away and the nuts smell toasty. Rub the hazelnuts in a clean kitchen towel to remove the skins. Place the nuts into a bowl and cover with boiling water - set them aside for at least 30 minutes.
- Drain the hazelnuts and place into a high speed blender along with the cold water and pitted dates/ date paste. Blend on high speed until as smooth as possible. Add the sweet potato puree, cocoa powder, vanilla and salt. Blend again until smooth.
- Keep the spread in a clean, airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.