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How to Make Galletas, Savory French Crepes

How to Make Galletas, Savory French Crepes

Every pancake lover must have heard of (and eaten) the classic sweet French crepes. But how many of us know of their savory buckwheat relatives?

Galletas, as they’re called originate, in Brittany and appear in many varieties – some thin and much alike classic crepes, others made with baker’s yeast and very fluffy. There are also galleta pancake recipes that call for fermentation.

When it comes to basic ingredients, there are varieties that include eggs, while others exclude them; there are galletas made with buckwheat flour only, others require mixing it with another type of flour in a 50/50 ratio.

There are different methods of cooking as well – in some regions, these pancakes are cooked on round griddles called ‘billigs’ (usually used in creperies), while in other regions steel crepe pans are used.

So, if you decide to make these pancakes at home, where do you start from? Which recipe should you choose? Can you use your standard non-stick pancake pan for cooking?

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Making Galleta Pancakes Batter at Home – Tips and Tricks

I suggest choosing a recipe closest to the classic American pancake recipes we’re used to. This means avoiding batters that require fermenting or yeast addition. Such batters act differently when cooked and if you don’t have previous experiences with them, you can expect a culinary disaster to happen. Even if you succeed in making them properly, you may find their taste somewhat strange.

Here is a perfect buckwheat pancake recipe I use. It takes only 15 minutes (not counting the resting period) and yields about 12 pancakes:

Ingredients

Pancake Batter:

  • 3/4 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • a pat of unsalted butter, for the skillet

Filling:

  • 12 slices forest ham
  • 8 oz. grated cheese

 

The Flour

Go with the thinner variety, crepe-like galleta pancakes made with buckwheat flour. If you have concerns about buckwheat’s strong flavor, rest assured that when paired with savory ingredients like eggs, ham, and cheese, it produces very good combinations. However, if this is your first experience with buckwheat pancakes, I recommend combining buckwheat flour with another type of flour.

Buckwheat combines best with wheat flour. That being said, the next issue is to find the best proportion. Since buckwheat flour is gluten-free, it yields a batter that lacks flexibility and the pancakes produced with this batter are very brittle. The addition of wheat flour will provide the necessary amount of gluten to make the pancakes more elastic. Still, bear in mind that you are making buckwheat pancakes so, there should be a fair amount of this flour in the batter. The best proportion is to use at least twice as much buckwheat as wheat flour.

The Eggs

As mentioned before, there are galleta pancake recipes that call for eggs and those that omit them. Since eggs act as binders, I vote for their inclusion. Moreover, they reduce the risk of your crepes falling apart and help the batter coat the pan more uniformly.

Mixing the Batter

Combine the 3/4 cup water, milk, the buckwheat and wheat flour, eggs, oil, salt, and pepper in a blender and process until smooth.

The Resting Period

Should you leave the pancake batter rest before cooking or not? If so, how long should it rest – a couple of hours or overnight? Most importantly, why should you do it?

The resting period is supposed to relax the gluten in the batter and allow the flour to hydrate well. The batter will stabilize, i.e. it won’t change its consistency in the middle of cooking, forcing you to re-adjust some of the ingredients. Generally, the longer the batter sits, the more tender the crepes will get. However, if you are in a rush, there’s no need to leave the batter rest overnight; two hours should do the trick.

Cooking the Homemade Galleta Pancakes

Traditionally, buckwheat crepes are made on biligs but, of course, no one owns a billig pan. So, we need to find the best substitute. Carbon steel crepe pans are the next best thing but are they a worthwhile investment? I mean, they’re pans specialized for crepes and you can’t really use them for anything else.

Our good old nonstick skillets will have to do. It is true that pancakes made in nonstick skillets are less crispy and brown but they are more than decent in terms of both taste and appearance. The secret to making them as crispy and brown as those cooked on a carbon steel pan is to cook them over high heat.

Preheat the pan well and add a generous amount of butter to prevent your crepes from burning. Let the butter begin to brown, sizzle, and smoke (but don’t burn it!).

Pour about a ¼ cup of the pancake batter and swirl the pan until the bottom is covered in a thin, even layer. Return the pan over high heat and cook until brown (about 1-2 minutes).

If you’re going to fill the crepe (which you will), there’s no need to flip it. Once the crepe is fully cooked (brown on the bottom and matte on the top), add some of the previously prepared fillings in the center (grated cheese, a slice of ham; optionally you can add mushrooms, caramelized onions, and/or fried egg).

Fold the edges over the filling using a metal spatula, taking care not to scratch the pan. Fold the crepe in half, then in half again to form a triangle, and keep heating until the cheese is melted.

Serve and enjoy!

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Crispy and Tender Homemade Churros

Crispy and Tender Homemade Churros

This is what usually happens to me when I travel abroad with friends or family. We get there and we start exploring the city. However, our agenda is usually tight because we want to see as many places as possible so I quickly become hungry! If you need to know one thing about me, is that when I become hungry, I actually become hangry. I don’t know how others can go hours without snacks, but that’s not me! I love the street vendors and all that mouth-watering, inviting food.

Therefore, today’s article is dedicated to the scrumptious churros. Churro is basically fried-dough pastry. They originate from Spain and Portugal, but are winning people’s hearts and taste buds all around the globe. You can easily find them in the USA, France, Colombia… Churros are mostly sold by street vendors but can also be found in restaurants and cafés.

You can have them with coffee for breakfast or as a dessert anytime of the day – dipped in hot chocolate or any other flavor. I personally like them dipped in hot chocolate. Yum!

 

Useful tips you should know about churros

Portion of Churros

  • Always heat the oil to proper temperature (around 375 degrees F). You can use candy thermometer to be safe. You don’t want to have burnt churros on the outside but undercooked on the inside.
  • There is no exact amount of time for cooking churros, so be on the lookout. You are going for golden brown color. If the temperature is right, you will get churros crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
  • To get more defined edges, just like classic churros, use closed star piping tip.
  • When you add the egg, stir very quickly in order not to get scrambled egg in your batter.
  • After frying, drain the churros on paper towel before you add them to the cinnamon sugar mixture which you can prepare ahead. Don’t drain too long because you want the sugar to stick to them.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (250ml) water
  • ¼ cup (56g) unsalted butter
  • 1tbsp (13g) granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Oil for frying

 

For coating:

  • ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • ¾ tsp ground cinnamon

 

How to make churros

Known as a crowd pleaser, churros are so easy to make, you will want to make them from scratch. You only need few simple ingredients – flour, water, salt, and sugar. They are best served freshly made. I bet people who don’t like churros have tried day-old churros.

The first step is to heat about 2 inches of oil in a large pot. The temperature should be about 375 degrees F. While the oil is heating, prepare the batter for the churros.

Add the water, butter, sugar, and salt into a large saucepan and bring them to a boil over medium heat. When the ingredients are mixed together, reduce the heat and add the flour. Stir constantly with a spatula until the mixture is smooth.

When your mixture is smooth you can add the egg. You must stir quickly or use an electric mixer because the heat can scramble the egg. The egg will make the batter nice and smooth. Now, you are ready to fill the batter in a piping bag.

When you make churros, the best size for a piping bag is 16 inches. Fit a round star tip, around half an inch big, and start piping. You can pipe the churros on a baking paper sheet or directly in the hot oil. If you do the latter, make sure you use clean scissors to cut the churros.

The usual length of the churros is around 6 inches but you can decide whatever works for you. Fry them until golden brown. My tip would be to put only 5-6 in the oil so they don’t stick to each other. Usually it takes around 2 minutes on each side.

After frying, drain them on a paper towel and then coat them in a cinnamon sugar mixture. When you have them all coated, the options are endless. You can decide what kind of dipping sauce you want. You can make hot chocolate, dulce de leche, white chocolate, or whatever comes to mind. Just make sure you eat them warm and don’t forget to send me an invitation. Bon appétit!

Churro Recipe

How to Make the Perfect Hasselback Potatoes

How to Make the Perfect Hasselback Potatoes

I am a huge fan of potatoes, whether they are baked, roasted, fried or boiled. Ok, maybe boiled potatoes are not my first choice but still, I could eat potatoes every single day. If you love those crispy, garlicky, golden potatoes, and you don’t want them to be fried, I have the perfect recipe for you.

There are many different recipes when it comes to potatoes, but the one I will tell you about today is very delicious and easy to make. The stars of the show are hasselback potatoes.

I am sure you have already tried hasselback potatoes or at least you have heard about them. Word is that they got their name by a Swedish restaurant called Hasselbacken in Stockholm that introduced them first. Ever since, they have become one of the most commonly used side dishes all around the world.

 

Health Benefits of Hasselback Potatoes

 

Considered the best side dish, potatoes also have many other benefits. They have a lot of health benefits and are a great source of vitamins and minerals, especially the skin, so make sure you don’t peel it when possible.

Some of the health benefits are that potatoes can boost your immune system, improve the blood sugar level and reduce the risk of heart disease. However, the nutritional content can vary depending on the time of preparation. The best way to keep them healthy is not to fry them, for starters.

plain hasselback potatoes

Potatoes are extremely versatile. You can make them baked, boiled, fried or steamed. They are also incredibly filling which means you will eat less for your next meal. In addition, they are good for losing weight on the long run.

Even though hasselback potatoes look like a lot of work, they are actually quite simple. You can easily make them satisfyingly fluffy and crunchy. Here is how.

 

How to Prepare Hasselback Potatoes

 

First step is to choose the best type of potatoes for the recipe. Russet potatoes are widely used because of their soft inside which makes them perfect for mashed potatoes or crispy baked ones. However, my advice is to buy small potatoes (something similar to Jersey Royal) because you can leave the skin on and, trust me, it will taste completely differently.

Next comes the cutting part. It can be a bit tricky to cut ¾ of the potatoes without going all the way through. If you don’t have the special hasselback potato slicer, don’t worry – there are many kitchen tools you can use to do this. Place the potato between two chopsticks or two wooden spoons so you don’t cut more than necessary. The more slices you make, the better. Think about all the cuts filled with butter and cheesiness. Yummy!

Buttery hasselback potatoes

Depending on the type of potatoes you choose, the cooking time will be different. If you choose bigger potatoes, it is best to pre-cook them. For example, you can boil them for 10 minutes or you can put them in the microwave. Some people wrap them in foil but I strongly suggest you don’t do that if you want that crispy outside.

When you are ready to bake the potatoes, find the perfect pan to hold them in single layer. Make sure the oven is hot, somewhere around 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Check them frequently until you get the desired final result.

 

Ingredients

 

Hasselback potatoes can be made with plenty of different ingredients. You can go for a veggie version, use bacon or other type of salami.

Spices for Hasselback Potatoes

  • Butter: This is one of the ingredients which is a must for this recipe. You can put chunks of butter after you cut the potatoes, or you can melt the butter beforehand. If you decide to go with melting the butter, simply pour it on the potatoes before putting them in the oven.
  • Oil: Most commonly used is olive oil, but you can go for any other type of oil. Also, duck fat or goose fat can give you a unique taste.
  • Toppings and spices: There are many different combinations you can use to spice up your hasselback potatoes. You can use smoked paprika or chilly if you want to get the color and the heat at the same time. If you decide to go with a plain version like salt&pepper, add Greek yogurt or grated cheese at the end. If you feel like something fresh, chop some chives and top the potatoes after baking. You can also add garlic or thyme. It’s up to you. For extra crunch, you can finish the potatoes with breadcrumbs.

 

As one of the most famous recipes in the Nordic cuisine, hasselback potatoes have definitely found their way across the world. They are perfect for weekend dinners or busy weeknights and can be used as an accompaniment to steak, fish, or roast chicken. I promise this will be one of your favorite recipes ever! Dig in!

How to Make Japanese Soufflé Pancakes

How to Make Japanese Soufflé Pancakes

Forget about the saying “Flat as a pancake”. The Japanese have a pancake recipe that is incredibly light and fluffy and, most importantly, very easy to make – soufflé pancakes.

 

These hotcakes have been popularized by the Gram Café in Tokyo, a venue known for creating the famous raindrop cake and other Instagram-worthy delicacies.

It should be noted that these fluffy pancakes do take a bit more effort to make than the classic American flapjacks but they are certainly worth it!

So, what is the secret ingredient that makes them so incredibly tall and fluffy? The answer is – meringue.

There are two ways to make these pancakes – with and without the use of baking powder.

 

Making Soufflé Pancakes with Baking Powder

 

As you might know, baking powder is the ingredient that makes the batter rise and stabilizes its structure. That is why the recipe that involves baking powder is easier to make.

However, the use of baking powder produces pancakes that taste and look more like cakes and less like the original Japanese recipe. The original ones are so airy, that they literally wiggle. And that is actually one of their most interesting features. People actually make videos of these wiggly pancakes and post them on Instagram!

Making Soufflé Pancakes without Baking Powder

 

Soufflé recipes don’t call for any baking powder and that’s why the final product is much lighter. So will your soufflé flapjacks be if you discard baking powder.

In that case, the flapjacks will be somewhat eggier in taste, which is another characteristic that makes them closer to soufflés. However, once you add whipped cream and syrup on top, the egginess will be camouflaged. The original recipe is not so sweet, but feel free to add more sugar if you like.

 

Tips and Tricks to Making Perfect Soufflé Pancakes

 

Don’t start making this recipe if you hadn’t made meringues or soufflés before. It requires some experience to pull these pancakes off.

Flour. Make sure to sift the flour into the batter in order to avoid making the batter too heavy. Cake flour is the best option to use.

Eggs. Use cold egg whites to obtain a more stable meringue.

Water. Add just a bit of water to ‘steam’ the pancakes. This will help them rise better.

Make sure your electric mixer’s mixing bowl and whisk attachment are completely clean and dry. If there is any water or oil, the egg whites won’t turn into meringue.

Timing is crucial when flipping. If you flip them too soon, the pancakes will deflate.

To obtain more uniform, round shape and better height, use muffin rings to pour the batter in during cooking. Otherwise, the batter will spread. If you do decide to cook without rings, make the flapjacks smaller in diameter.

Consume the soufflé pancakes immediately after cooking. If they get cold, the texture will change and they won’t be so fluffy.

 

 

Japanese Soufflé Pancake Recipe

We offer the recipe that yields soufflé pancakes closest to the original, i.e. without the use of baking powder.

Ingredients:

  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 large eggs, egg whites and egg yolks separated
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

 

Instructions:

Mixing

In a medium bowl, combine the egg yolks, milk, butter, and vanilla. Sift in the flour, then whisk everything together until the batter is smooth.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar (Cream of tartar is the secret ingredient that stabilizes the egg whites and makes sure the soufflé doesn’t deflate).

Whip on the highest speed for about 2-3 minutes until stiff peaks form. To check if the meringue is good, turn the mixing bowl upside down. If the mixture doesn’t slide out, you’re good to go.

Scoop out one third of the meringue with a spatula and transfer to the egg yolk batter. Gently fold the meringue into the batter, starting from the bottom, until there are no white streaks. Make sure you don’t mix too hard because the meringue will lose its structure.

Add in another third of the meringue and fold in. Repeat with the last third.

 

Cooking

Place two muffin ring molds onto a large skillet. Spray their insides with cooking spray.

Heat the skillet at low heat. Once the oil and skillet are hot, fill each ring with batter. The rings should be halfway full because the batter will rise.

Add 1/2 tablespoon of water to each side of the skillet. Close the lid and cook for about 4 minutes.

 

Flipping

When the surface looks completely cooked, your flapjacks are ready to flip. If properly made, they will rise very high but will slightly collapse after you remove the lid.

Use a spatula to flip the hotcakes while still in the rings. If you see batter spilling out, they’re not ready to turn. Let them cook for one more minute and try again.

After you’ve flipped the hotcakes, cover and cook for another 3 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer the pancakes onto a plate and gently remove the ring molds.

Serve warm with syrup, whipped cream, powdered sugar, fruit, or whatever your heart desires!

Step by Step Guide for Making the Most Iconic Homemade Pizza

Step by Step Guide for Making the Most Iconic Homemade Pizza

Cooking every single day can be tiring. You have to plan ahead of time, you are busy, but there are hungry mouths at home that have to be fed. So, going for pizza from time to time can be a life-saver. 

If you ask me, when it comes to favorite things to eat, pizza is definitely in the top 5. Who doesn’t love a nice crust and some melted cheese all over? I know I do. Another thing I know for sure is that, no matter how full I am, I can always make room for a slice of homemade pizza.

As one of the most popular recipes in the world, pizza dates way back. Its history is filled with endless stories, legends and anecdotes. Greeks and Romans created vast variety of pizza prototypes, but it was Neapolitans who are responsible for the modern pizza we know today.

Can you guess which type of pizza was created first? It was a variant of Margherita. The tale says that Queen Margherita of Savoy asked chefs to come up with a dish for the people. It was pizzaiolo Raffaele Esposito who came up with the idea first. Way to go chef!

That classic Italian pizza recipe with green basil, white mozzarella and red tomato sauce even represents the colors of the Italian flag. If that is not Italian enough, I don’t know what is. Now let’s roll that dough, top it and put it in the oven. I can smell the pizza already.

 

Homemade Dough

The ideal homemade pizza dough would be a thin circle with a raised edge around 12 inches in diameter. But don’t worry, any other kite shaped or diamond shaped dough would taste just as tasty. Stretching the dough requires certain skills, so until you acquire those skills, just use a rolling pin.

Everyone should have a favorite dough recipe. I will share one with you which takes around 15 minutes to rise and it’s basically impossible to mess up.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 tbsp yeast
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 5 cups flour
  • 4 tbsp olive oil

 

Method of preparation

First mix the warm water and the yeast and let it rest for 5 minutes for the yeast to proof. Add half of the flour (2½ cups) into the proofed yeast and mix well. After that is done, add the additional flour and the salt, and knead until smooth. Cover the dough with a wrap or a towel and let it rest for up to 20 minutes.

Use the olive oil to coat the bottom of the baking sheet or the pizza pan. That being done, take the dough out of the bowl and add additional flour to remove the stickiness. The dough is now ready for stretching.

Split the dough into two equal halves, roll each very thin and place it on the baking sheet which was previously greased. Preheat the oven to 400 F and enjoy topping your dough. Each pizza should take 15-20 minutes. Most importantly, don’t forget to leave space near the edges for the crispy crust to form.

The Perfect Pizza Dough Recipe

 

Toppings

You’ve done the hard part. Now it’s time for the fun part – topping your pizza. I am sure millions of ideas and combos come to mind. What to use as a spread? What herbs should you use? What type of meat? And last but not least, what type of cheese? Cause pizza and stretching cheese are basically synonyms. Oh well, you know what I mean.

Sauce

First thing you put on a pizza dough is sauce. Tomato sauce is the most commonly used spread. There are tons of different types you can find at the store, but why not make it yourself? SImply put some canned tomatoes in a food processor, add some oil and salt, and voilà…your sauce is ready.

If you are going for a healthier option, you can use pesto. Pesto is made out of basil leaves, crushed garlic, grated parmesan cheese, nuts, salt, and olive oil. Spread it all over the dough with the back of a spoon and you are ready to continue with the other toppings.

 

Cheese

 

The star of the show is, without a doubt, the cheese. Make sure you choose the correct one. Think of the type of pie you are preparing, who is going to eat the pizza, what’s the occasion, what the people are drinking etc. The only thing to keep in mind is, make sure your cheese melts really well. Other than that, you can hardly go wrong.

The basic type is mozzarella. Used for as long as pizza is around, it can be put fresh and teared up on top of your pizza. Next, you can try gorgonzola cheese. It is very rich in flavor, so you can use way less, but get the same effect. Also, it goes great with fruit.

Ricotta is another great option since it’s low in fat but very creamy and delicious. Grated parmesan, gouda, and cheddar cheese are ideal for getting the melting effect, just to name a few. There are tons of alternatives. Just go with the flow.

 

Meat

Even though some people like their pizza without any protein on it, there are some great variations to choose from for those who want it all. Certain toppings, like sausages and meatballs, should be cooked beforehand. Others, like ham, pepperoni, or other cured meat, don’t require cooking ahead of time.

Try pastrami, bacon, prosciutto, Italian salami, or even grilled chicken. If you decide to go with the grilled chicken, make sure you use barbeque sauce on top. The two ingredients are a match made in food heaven. To give you some more ideas, I have to add seafood: smoked salmon, shrimps, anchovies, tuna… The list goes on and on. Sometimes too many options is not a good idea. I hope you managed to make up your mind.

 

Herbs, veggies, and fruit

Imagine you are having lunch. You also have salad because it’s just not the same without it. Same goes for pizza. It’s the perfect finishing touch. Fresh ingredients like these go under the cheese before baking or fresh on top after baking. There are certain combinations of protein and greens that go perfect together. Use them.

Fruit with any salty combination can be strange for someone who is not used to it. On my trip to the USA, I stayed with a Brazilian family. Once, we had sausages with pineapple for lunch. They just loved it together, but I didn’t. I just finished my lunch and helped myself with the pineapple as a dessert. But, if you are willing to try fruit on your pizza, my suggestions would be figs, apples, pears, or pineapples.

Veggies and herbs give a unique freshness to the pizza. You can go for onion rings, tomatoes, olives, mushrooms, peppers, garlic, and much more. Herbs can easily be added on top of the pizza after you take it out of the oven. Add thyme, rosemary, fresh basil, or rucola. If some of the fresh ingredients take more time to cook, precook them ahead of time. You want that pizza as quick as possible.

 

This is one of my all time favorite food topics and I really hope you will find it useful and inspiring. Feel free to share what type was a winner for you. I would love to hear all about it.

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