Buckwheat Blueberry Pancakes

In Russia, they used to believe that the French did not eat buckwheat but fed it to the frogs.  A rumor circulated in the early 20th, during the “Dictatorship of Military Communism” (Karl Marx’ concept implemented by Lenin) that one day Konstantin Stanislavsky, the renown theater director, received a parcel from Paris delivered by a stranger. Those were dangerous times when there was virtually no communication with anyone outside of Russia. There was also virtually no food – the population was starving. Thus, when Stanislavsky opened the anonymous package and found a bag of buckwheat with no note of explanation, it was logically assumed that his grandmother, the French actress Marie Varlet, whom he had never met, suddenly got compassionate regarding her abandoned family’s plight and sent them some food. Buckwheat was cooked the traditional Russian way, as kasha, and instantly devoured.

Народный артист СССР Константин Станиславский

A few days later, a letter from Paris caught up with the parcel. In it, a notary notified the family that M-me Varlet had passed away, and, according to her will and testament, was cremated, the ashes to be buried next to her Russian husband in Moscow. Since there was no way to transport the ashes in their natural condition, the distinguished maitre mixed them into buckwheat, a grain not fit for human consumption, which should be delivered to the family shortly. Silent scene. Curtain.

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All of this is total hogwash, of course, since buckwheat was introduced to France from the East around 12th century, way before it made its way to Russia. It became popular in Brittany where they called it sarrasin or ble noir (black wheat), ground it into flour, like wheat, and made crepes. Yes, the first crepes were made of buckwheat and called galettes. Wheat crepes that we know today have not appeared until the beginning of the 20th century.  Incidentally, the word itself comes from Latin crispa, which doesn’t mean crisp – it means curled, so the first crepes were actually curled, or rolled.  Traditionally, the wheat flour crepes are sweet, and the buckwheat galettes are savory (Sources: http://www.moniquescrepes.com/a-brief-history-of-crepes/, http://www.excusemyfrench.co.nz/a-little-crepe-history/).

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I love using buckwheat flour. My grandmother used to make retchene latkes (buckwheat pancakes) for Chanukkah – those are coming up in a few months together with the rest of my Chanukkah recipes. Buckwheat is gluten free and has a plethora of nutrients. It also has a pleasant nutty taste, so who says it must necessarily be savory? I want to make it sweet, and I will, with lots of blueberries and raw organic honey. You can use agave to make it vegan. To enhance the nutty flavor, there is coconut milk. I used a real egg, but you can substitute to make it vegan. I also added just a little olive oil and a pinch of baking powder.

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Whisk the egg and oil, add coconut milk and honey, and whisk it all together to aerate it. When you see bubbles, add this mixture to buckwheat flour, and mix  gently but thoroughly. Don’t forget the baking powder.

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Now, just throw those beautiful plump and juicy blueberries in and mix them with the rest of it. No need to squash them – they’ll pop on their own once you start frying.

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Do you see all this liquid? That’s not grease, Beautiful People, as my frying pan was barely misted with oil, as usual. That’s delicious blueberry juice! So you get them nicely brown on both sides and remove them straight to a plate so as not to lose any of that precious juice.

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They’ll never be golden brown – they are, after all, sarrasins, or Saracens, dark by definition. They are rather purplish brown, even though I dusted them with powdered xylitol, and with chocolate syrup, they look even darker, yet become even more delicious!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries (if using frozen blueberries, reduced coconut milk)
  • 1/3 honey or agave
  • 1 egg or substitute
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

PROCEDURE

  • Mix buckwheat flour with baking powder, put aside.
  • Whisk egg with oil, add coconut milk and honey, whisk together until aerated well.
  • Add wet ingredients to dry, mix thoroughly. Gently mix blueberries in.
  • Preheat shallow frying pan, lightly mist with oil. Fry pancakes on both sides until brown. Blueberries will burst creating a caramel-like sauce.
  • Plate with sauce, dust with powdered sugar or xylitol. Serve with chocolate syrup, honey, or agave.

Enjoy!

 

 

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28 Comments Add yours

  1. Brilliant. Both the story and the recipe are going to be used. I might even change my Will and ask to be disposed of in a way similar to Marie Varlet (I don’t care about the truth, I like the story). I only ever cook savoury dishes with buckwheat (I think it’s simple, fast and delicious) but I’ll try this one-I have buckwheat flour, which intimidates me, to be honest.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you. I actually hesitated before writing up this story – perhaps some people find black humor distasteful. But then, even though I never want to offend anyone, I am what I am, I have never idolized Stanislavsky, and I thought the story was funny in a macabre way. And again, for 75 years, everything that happened in that country was macabre!
      P.S. I find it hard to believe that anything intimidates you. Put it in a mixing bowl and tell it to behave!

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Joëlle says:

      If you feel a little uncomfortable with using buckwheat flour, try using half wheat (or rice if you are gluten-free) and half buckwheat to start with. Buckwheat flour adds a nice flavor to gluten-free bread. Enjoy!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I love reading the stories that come with each recipe. I’m also a huge fan of buckwheat, but I’d like mine to stay unadulterated.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I like my husband to stay “unadulterated” – as to food, I am an avid experimenter.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. [ Smiles ] Buckwheat is quite healthy!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Even with grandma’s ashes mixed in…

      Liked by 2 people

  4. elliebleu says:

    I made buckwheat pancakes and they didn’t go over with my family. I love that you added blueberries to the batter. I bet it makes them naturally sweeter. With your recipe, I think I’ll give buckwheat another try.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Go for it! And don’t forget honey or agave – that’s what really makes the difference.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. elliebleu says:

        Perfect. Honey would be amazing with the blueberries.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. That is true:) In France they do not eat buckwheat, but adore galettes. Several months ago I found a buckwheat in a Polish supermarket and cooked it for my French friends, most of them liked it.
    By the way, they call pancakes “blini” 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know; everybody calls them “blini.” Pancake was an American linguistic twist.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. cookiesnchem says:

    Wow! Looking delicious!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on koolkosherkitchen and commented:

    It looks like I am not done with latkes yet here is another variety!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. These pancakes are also for trying, Dolly 😀
    In Denmark, where I come from, we used to make big pancakes, like a big pan, but skinny pancakes, filled them with the wishes, marmalade, syrup, sugar, fruit or ice cream and rolled them, so they could be enjoyed eating with fork and knife.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are describing crepes – we make them too. I love them! We call them “blintzes.”

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Okay, I didn’t know the correct name in English, but these are used from old times in Denmark.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. What are they called in Danish?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Pandekager, directly translated to English, pancakes.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Thank you, dear Irene! Food history and etymology is fascinating to me.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. You are so welcome, Dolly 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh.My.Gracious! No words! Well, at least they weren’t hungry anymore!
    Shudder
    Your latkes look so yummy!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Melinda! I know the story is not very appetizing, but then it’s only a story based on a rumor. However, in those times… You never know…

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Joëlle says:

    Loved the story! I also took the liberty of giving advice to “Lilyandardbeg”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, dear Joelle, you are so kind!

      Liked by 1 person

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