It is Pancake Tuesday tomorrow, and even though pancakes are not exactly crêpes, I prefer the latter. See, I come from Russia, and crêpes would be more in our tradition than pancakes. There is also an equivalent for pancakes, of course, but around this time of the year we celebrate Maslennitsa – a week-long fest to bid farewell to winter and welcome spring, and the key feature of Maslennitsa are crêpes. Buttery crêpes, as the word Maslennitsa comes from “maslo”, which means butter.
I am not offering you the traditional Russian buttery crêpes today though. What I do offer is a vegan alternative, which is very easy to make, but I have to warn you – it may seem a little unconventional. If you want to add some butter to it in a form of olive oil spread or any other dairy-free spread, go ahead. I’ll even tell you how we do it for Maslennitsa in Russia. Beware though, it adds calories from fat…
The Unconventional Ingredient
Before I dive into the recipe, I want to talk about this mystery ingredient. There are many issues associated with vegan/dairy and egg-free crêpe making. The major problem is to make the batter consistency good enough to form elastic crêpes that do not break. The second major problem is to make the crêpes thin enough so that they actually resemble crêpes and not pancakes.
I don’t know what genius came up with the idea to use sparkling mineral water in the batter, but they were a genius indeed! Surprising as it may seem, the sparkling water makes the batter of a consistency, making it possible to have thin crêpes that do not break. Well, reality is you probably will break the first one or two crêpes before you get the hang of it, but generally, they don’t break.
So yes, my friends – sparkling mineral water. And just three other ingredients: flour, olive or any other vegetable oil, and sugar or substitute to your taste. I don’t recommend adding salt, unless you absolutely need it for the taste, because mineral water already has sodium in it.
You can go with additional ingredients, such as vanilla extract or maybe some spices if you are making savoury crêpes.
Alright, let’s take off!
Easy 4-Ingredient Crêpes
[Dairy + Egg Free, Vegan]
- 2 cups white flour
- 2 cups sparkling mineral water
- 2 tbsp olive/vegetable oil
- 1 tsp sugar (more or less, to taste)
Optional ingredients: vanilla essence, cinnamon, other spices.
Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Add sugar and any other dry ingredients (spices, if using). I do recommend sifting the flour because it makes the flour airy and helps break down any clumps.
Add 2 cups of sparkling mineral water to the bowl. Whisk together until smooth.
Add 2 tbsp olive oil or the oil of your choice. Mix together to spread the oil through the batter, but be careful to not overdo it.
Let the batter sit for 5 to 10 minutes, while heating up your pan. Then give the batter a final stir and get frying!
So how do we make traditional crêpes for Maslennitsa?
Well, first of all, traditional crêpes are made with eggs and milk. And then each cooked crêpe is buttered on top and stacked upon another buttered crêpe.
If you want to try and recreate the “traditional” Maslennitsa crêpes, you can spread your favourite butter substitute on top of a crêpe and stack another over it.
When served, each person takes a crêpe of the top and folds it into a wedge to eat. Sometimes sugar is also sprinkled on top before folding.
My version of eating these crêpes is to put fresh berries inside and roll it. Yum ?