Teff Crepes (high-protein, gluten free and so easy!)

High-Protein Teff Crepes

The last time I made gluten free crepes, the man I was dating at the time said “I love you” for the first time.  Like, he was in love with me.  It was a very special moment.

He said it not because we were eating the crepes.  Not because they reached out to his French Canadian homeland.  But because, in my excitement, I called him over to his stove to show him that they worked!  I had made gluten free crepes!  Seeing my giddiness he blurted it out, seemed shocked with himself, gave me a hug and returned to the couch.  Two minutes later, he came over and said it again while looking into my eyes.  Then I said it back.

It’s incredible how a recipe can bring back some crazy strong memories.  Though we’re no longer dating, I wish him the best, and cherish the moments like that, when he was so supportive and enthusiastic about who I am and what I love.

Now, I’m not suggesting that these crepes are going to always inspire such reactions.  But the satisfaction of mastering a simple but elegant dish is infectious, and the joy of sitting down to brunch with someone you love and some good friends with a healthful, tasty meal is universally delightful, no?

I played with the flours a few more times before coming up with this one, which I’m particularly thrilled with. It’s perfect for a savory breakfast or dinner crepe, and has the delightful chew of a traditional French crepe while keeping light and flexible.  You can make them ahead of time (as I did with the filling for my breakfast today), or fill as you go and serve to a large crowd.

Teff flour is not one many are familiar with, but a gluten free powerhouse I highly recommend keeping on hand in the kitchen.  The grain is incredibly fine, and higher in protein and fiber than many other flours.  Because an incredible amount of the grain can be grown in a small space, it’s been fundamental in staving off famine in the countries of its origin.  It has a very slightly bitter taste to it, so I use it in savory recipes or those that call for strong flavors like molasses, chocolate or cinnamon.  I wouldn’t recommend using it as a main flour, but more as an accent (1/4 of a cup or so per cup of flour in a recipe).

In the crepes, it worked phenomenally.  They cooked smoothly and evenly, were strong enough to wrap without being at all tough, and gave some incredibly earthy flavor to the lighter veggies I filled them with.  After mastering a few steps, this entire process is incredibly easy.

Savory brunch crepes

Gluten-Free Teff Crepes

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
  • 3 Tbsp butter or butter flavored Earth Balance, melted (or 3 Tbsp oil)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup Teff flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour

If making crepes for a sweet filling, add 1 tsp vanilla extract and 2 Tbsp sugar to the final step.

Method

In a blender, spin the eggs on low for about 30 seconds.  With the blending running continually, add milk, then stream in melted butter.  Stop the blender and add flour and salt.  Blend on high for about 1 minute so that the flours fully incorporate.  Pour into a 2-cup Pyrex liquid measuring cup or small pitcher.  If possible, let sit for 1-2 hours.  This helps the flour dissolve fully and brings all the ingredients to room temperature.

When ready to cook, have large skillet with an 8″ base, cooking spray, a small spatula for loosening the edges (I used a small icing spatula), a large turner and a large plate at the ready.

Place the skillet on medium/low heat.  When hot, spray lightly with cooking spray.  With one hand, hold the skillet completely off the heat.  While swirling the pan, pour about 3 Tbsp of batter on.  Continue swirling until it covers the base of the pan evenly (this takes some practice).  You want the crepe as thin as possible, but shouldn’t be able to see through to the base of the pan.

Cook until the edges just start to bubble and dry slightly.  Then use the small spatula to loosen the edges.  Until you get the hang of it, use the turner to flip the crepe.  I often just loosen the edges and then flip with my fingers.  Cook for about 30 seconds on the other side, until the crepe has lightened in color slightly but is by no means dry.  Remove to large plate.

Continue with remaining batter until you have 8 full cooked crepes.

Tips: Play with your heat levels. I find medium-low works best so that the batter doesn’t cook too quickly when I pour it on.  This way I can swirl until it’s evenly coated.  Also, don’t overcook the crepe: it will make the edges brittle and the body of the crepe too hard to fold.  Some use butter to grease the pan: I find it sometimes creates too much steam and liquid, so I prefer cooking spray.

Filling

I filled these with thinly sliced zucchini that had been sauteed in onions, garlic and lots of fresh rosemary, Brussels sprouts roasted with olive oil and Herbes de Provence, and raw, thinly sliced endives.  I then drizzled them with a very strong balsamic, sprinkled with fleur de sel and topped with some more endive, rosemary and a blot of goat yogurt.

I don’t often blog savory cooking recipes because I usually don’t cook with recipes, unless there’s a technique or specific dish I’m trying to make perfect.  But I will say that this combination worked splendidly because of the contrast in textures, flavors and temperatures.

Crepes are so versatile: fill em’ up!

Wishing you many first “I love you’s”, happy brunches with good friends, and a sweet, sweet life,

 

 

 

 

 

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24 Comments

  1. Kiri W. says:

    Interesting! As it happens, I’m going out for my first ever Ethipian meal tonight, and I believe injera is made from teff as well. I’ll have to nibble and consider the crepe version extra-carefully tonight :)

    • You’re right, it is! The majority of teff crops are grown in Ethiopia, and I was thinking the opposite when I wrote this post – that I want to learn how to make injera!

  2. Wow! Not only have you created a spectacular looking gluten free crepe but taught us all about teff flour. Such a great dish, thanks for sharing Jx. Have a good one =]

  3. Caffay Way says:

    I smiled when you told the story of how giddy you felt when those crepes worked the first time! I’,m the same way… and thanks for the lesson, never heard of teff flour before

  4. Paula says:

    Love the memory making these crepes brought back for you! These look wonderful. Crepes are something I have yet to try.

  5. Helen Onulak says:

    I’ve been missing crepes since I was diagnosed with Celiac. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on how teff tastes. Is there a specific brand of Teff that you prefer using? I ask, because I have noticed a huge difference in the way some of the other brands of different flours behave and taste.

    • I use Bob’s Red Mill because that’s what’s most easily available in my area. Buckwheat would work just as well in this recipe. Crepes are my new favorite thing again :)

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  7. Donna says:

    Bonjour! I just made savoury crêpes/galettes with sarrasin flour (buckwheat) last night for Mardi Gras..and happened upon your riff using Ethiopian Teff flour! Could I possibly sub out the tapioca flour for sarrasin…or would the Teff and Sarrasin be too overpowering together…or affect the consistency? I want to compliment you on your technique and finished product …very well explained and detailed..and you obviously have “la geste”/”tour de main” …nailed…Bravo et merci.

    • Tapioca is essentially a starch, so sarrasin wouldn’t chemically replace it. You’d need either arrowroot or cornstarch – it’s literally what will bind it together. You could try substituting the teff for buckwheat though! Let me know how it comes out – buckwheat and teff are similar, you just need a strong binder in there so they don’t fall apart.

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  10. Dominique says:

    Thanks for the inspiration, the crepes definitely look like the ones my French Canadian mother would make! I can’t wait to try this, i have been missing the crepes since being diagnosed with a severe wheat allergy. One question though: you use 1 cup of liquid and 2 eggs for half a cup of flour. Is this right? I never used teff before, maybe it needs more liquid, but my mom’s recipe with wheat flour use 1 cup of flour for the same amount of liquid. Can you confirm please?

    • I haven’t made these in a while now but this recipe worked for me continually. A cup of liquid for a cup of flour seems very high to me – these are thin and use just enough dry ingredients to hold them together. Let me know how they come out for you!

  11. So excited to TRY THESE!!! THANK YOU! I love teff and often make it for my morning cereal. it’s filling and nutritious. It reminds me of chocolate Malt o Meal. Also, wanted to say thank you for the story behind them. :)

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