In our house we are blessedly free of food allergies or restrictions—but that wasn’t always the case. My daughter was born two months early, and when we finally brought her home from the hospital at a mere 4 pounds, she often spent hours screaming fitfully, her tiny fists balled up beside her scrunched up face. She seemed to be in such anguish, and I felt totally helpless as there seemed to be no consoling her. Because she was breastfed exclusively, I decided to try an elimination diet to see if that resolved any of the issues. Bingo! The poor little thing couldn’t tolerate dairy—not milk, yogurt, cheese or any bit of casein hidden in a sandwich loaf could I eat for the better part of a year.
The adjustment to my cooking was challenging at first, but even nine years ago there were plenty of milk substitutes in the markets (mainly health food stores) that enabled me to modify all of my favorite recipes. Though I probably missed cheese the most, I was perfectly satisfied on my new diet, and hugely gratified that the small changes I had made helped my daughter feel so much better.
Because of my experience (however brief), I have the greatest empathy for our friends and family who have dietary restrictions due to allergies or intolerance and I love being able to provide meals that everyone is able to eat, regardless of their situation. For kids on restricted diets, it is especially difficult to watch their friends eating all the goodies, and to have to bring a separate snack bag full of “safe” foods. But with such convenient products that are now widely available, it’s easy to make treats that my kids and all of their friends can enjoy together.
Light and fluffy crepes are always a favorite with my family, especially when served with a warm berry compote. It’s Spring, so strawberry and rhubarb seemed like the perfect thing to top these easy-to-make, gluten-free and casein-free treats that are equally suited to breakfast or dessert. Though there is a slight learning curve to crepe making, once you get the hang of it, you’ll see that it really isn’t any more challenging than making your favorite pancake recipe. The most important thing is to make sure your non-stick pan is hot enough and that the (vegan) butter sizzles (but not smokes) when dropped into it.
GFCF Light and Fluffy Crepes
Not only are these crepes easy to prepare, but you can make them ahead, as well. Simply place a sheet of wax paper between each unfilled crepe and place in a zip-top bag. Crepes can then be refrigerated for up to 3 days (or wrap the layered crepes tightly in foil, then a zip-top bag and freeze for up to 3 months). To use frozen crepes, thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat cold crepes in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until they are heated through.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
Yield: 8-10 crepes
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/4 almond milk (or your favorite non-dairy milk)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free, Dairy Free AP Baking Flour
- Dash of salt
- 1 tablespoons vegan butter, melted
- More vegan butter for greasing the pan
- Beat eggs in a bowl, then add almond milk, sugar and extracts and whisk to combine.
- Gradually whisk in the baking flour and whisk until smooth. Add the salt and butter and whisk until fully incorporated. The mixture will be about the consistency of heavy cream.
- Heat an 8-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat. Rub the end of the stick of vegan butter around the bottom and sides of the pan just to coat.
- When the butter is sizzling (but not smoking or browning) drizzle in a scant quarter cup of batter. Swirl the pan so the bottom is evenly coated.
- 5. Cook the crepe for about 1-2 minutes, until the bottom is just beginning to brown and the top of the crepe has solidified. Carefully insert a rubber spatula under one side of the crepe and slide it to the middle. The crepe should lift from the pan and be easy to flip over. The trick is waiting until the crepe is cooked enough on the bottom side. When it is golden brown underneath, it will release itself from the pan and be easier to flip over.
- 6. Cook the crepe for about 40 seconds on the second side, then remove from the pan and place on a plate, lined with a paper towel.
- 7. Repeat the process, first buttering the pan between each crepe, to use the rest of the batter. Layer the crepes with waxed paper, so they don’t stick to one another. Crepes can be kept warm in a 250 degree oven, or refrigerated for later use. Reheat crepes in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes, if they have been refrigerated.
- 8. Serve crepes warm, sprinkled with a bit of powdered sugar or topped with strawberry and rhubarb compote (below).
Strawberry and Rhubarb Compote
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 12 minutes, plus cooling time
Yield: about 2 cups
- 2 cups of rhubarb, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 pound of strawberries, hulled and quartered
- 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh mint leaves
- Place rhubarb and sugar in a medium size pot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat and continue to simmer for about 7 minutes, until the rhubarb is tender.
- Gently stir in the strawberry quarters and pour into a bowl to cool the mixture slightly. Stir in the mint leaves, and drizzle over warm crepes (or refrigerate for later use).
Alison Needham is a free-lance recipe developer, food photographer, and blogger. As glamorous as all that sounds, she can usually be found in her jammies at lunch time with flour in her hair, and she readily admits that her favorite title is simply, Mom. Find more of her fresh and seasonal recipes at her blog, A Girl, A Market, A Meal.