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Buckwheat Pancakes with Caramelised Apples and Salted Honey Butter

Buckwheat pancakes with caramelised apples and salted honey butter from Gail's Artisan Bakery Cookbook. A crêpe style recipe which is brilliant for breakfast.


Why buckwheat? Well, although these make a brilliant brunch, these aren’t your typical American pancakes. They’re French-style crêpes, and if you’ve ever been on holiday to Brittany, the flavour might ring a bell. Buckwheat flour is very popular in that part of France – and for good reason. It’s got a much stronger, more distinctive flavour than wheat flour, making these pancakes so much more than just a carrier for the caramelised apples and salty-sweet honey butter.

Buckwheat needs a night soaking in the fridge to give it time to come into its own. That means you’ll have to decide the night before that tomorrow morning, you’re making pancakes for breakfast. Other than that, these are a doddle to whip up.

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For the pancakes:
100g wholegrain organic buckwheat flour
¼ tsp fine sea salt
1 egg
300ml milk
50g butter, melted
Oil or clarified butter, for frying
For the caramelised apples:
3 medium Bramley or sour Granny Smith apples
30g butter
For the salted honey butter:
80g clear honey
40g butter, at room temperature
½ tsp flaked sea salt
4 generous tbsp crème fraîche, to serve


Make the pancake batter a day in advance. Sift together the flour and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk and the egg, then add this to the flour and whisk well until blended and free from lumps. Keep whisking and add the melted butter. Cover the batter with cling film and leave it to rest in the fridge overnight.

These caramelised apples are made without any added sugar – the sugar already present in the fruit is enough. Remove the apple cores and pips – no need to peel – and slice each apple into eight wedges. Heat the butter in a frying pan and, when foaming and hot, tip in the apple wedges and cook until golden brown, turning each wedge over only once. They will need around 5 minutes on each side to caramelise and take on a dark brown colour. Once cooked, set aside and cover with foil to keep warm.

Prepare the salted honey butter: in a small pan over a low heat, warm the honey for a couple of minutes, but don’t allow it to boil. Remove from the heat and whisk in the soft butter, one lump at a time, to create a glossy emulsion. Sprinkle in the salt and keep warm until you are ready to serve. If it gets too cool, it will start to solidify, but it can easily be reheated over the gentlest possible heat to liquefy it again.

To make the pancakes, decant the batter into a jug to make it easier to pour. Heat a heavy-based frying or sauté pan – or, if you can lay your hands on a special crêpe pan, this is the time to use it – over a medium heat with a little oil or clarified butter. Tilt the pan from side to side to coat the base evenly with oil or butter. If there’s any excess, pour it out. When it is good and hot, pour in just enough batter to coat the base of the pan – you want your pancakes to be paper-thin. Swirl the pan to allow the batter to spread over the base. Cook for 2 minutes on the first side until golden. The edges should be so thin that they become crisp and almost lacy. Flip the pancake with a spatula, and cook the second side for a minute or two more. Slide the finished pancake onto a warm plate and keep warm whilst continuing building up a pile of pancakes. Add only the smallest possible amount of oil or butter to the pan and reheat between each pancake.

To serve, take a pancake and fold it in half twice to form a triangle. Give everyone four pancakes, overlapping them the centre of each plate. Arrange six or so apple wedges on top, top with a dollop of crème fraîche, then finish with a drizzle of the warm honey sauce. Don’t stint on the sauce here.

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