(And How to Eat Them the Healthful Way!)
To me, there is hardly any food as beautiful or romantic as the crepe.
Defined as a thin, light, delicate pancake, the crepe originated in northwest France and has since become one of France’s most famous culinary traditions.
But France does not have a monopoly on this ‘skinny’ pancake; crepes are a staple in many different cultures in the world.
They even have a place in a whole food, plant-based diet!
We will get to that in a minute, but first let’s find out more about crepes and Crepe Day.
What Is a Crepe Exactly?
A crepe is essentially a thinner version of a pancake.
Typically made with eggs, flour, milk (or water) and butter, they are cooked on the stove, ideally using a special, flat crepe pan.
While a ‘normal’ pancake tends to be a rather heavy breakfast food, crepes are lighter and more versatile.
Sweet crepes are often served with jam or fruit and can be enjoyed at breakfast or as a snack or dessert.
Savory crepes can be stuffed with a variety of fillings (like vegetables) and are usually eaten as a meal along with a salad.
In fact, it is the diversity of fillings that makes the crepe unique and distinguishes it from the traditional pancake.
The History of Crepe Day
Crepe Day occurs on February 2nd, which is also the date of an important holiday in the Catholic Church: the feast of Candlemas.
This religious event is widely celebrated throughout France with everyone making crepes, which are considered a symbol of prosperity.
According to folklore, you are supposed to toss the crepe in the air using your right hand while holding a piece of gold in your left. A successful flip is a sign that you will have good fortune.
While crepes and France are inextricably linked, this ‘thin pancake’ is popular in many countries around the globe.
For example, Swedish, or Nordic, pancakes are very much like French crepes. They are made with similar ingredients and typically enjoyed with fruit and cream for breakfast or dessert.
In Japan, sweet and savory crepes are sold by street vendors and are quite popular.
In Argentina and Uruguay, crepes are known as “panqueques” and are traditionally served alongside dulce de leche; and in my home country Brazil they are usually savory and may be also called “panquecas”.
Making Crepes the Healthful Way
Regardless of the culture, crepes are customarily made by mixing together some combination of eggs, flour, milk, and butter, spreading the mixture thin over a hot pan, cooking, flipping and then adding a sweet or savory filling to the cooked crepe.
But the good news is that we can make crepes using whole food, plant-based ingredients.
To start with, they can be made with whole wheat pastry flour or buckwheat flour, which is naturally gluten-free and great for those with food sensitivities.
Additionally, crepes can be prepared with dairy-free, plant-based milk or even water.
You can also replace the eggs with a variety of alternative ingredients as we explained in our article What Do We Do About Eggs?
And of course, the filling (for which crepes are famous!) can simply be fresh berries or an assortment of vegetables.
How to Celebrate Crepe Day
When February 2nd rolls around, here are a few ideas for how to celebrate:
- Host a Crepe Dinner Party: Start out the celebration with savory crepes and end with sweet ones for dessert.
- Experiment with Flavors: It is the fillings and toppings that truly make the crepe special. Explore different combinations of plant-based ingredients to add variety to your meal.
- Try a New Recipe: If you are looking for ideas, how about making our Breakfast Crepes With Berry Bliss Sauce? This versatile, plant-based recipe is sure to become your new favorite!
Have a Happy Crepe Day!