Celebrate fall with these delicious chestnut flour crepes, which you can make sweet or savory. (Yes, they’re gluten-free!) Add beautyberry whipped cream for a one-of a kind sweet topping, or go with toppings of your own choosing.
It’s quite possible there are more crepe recipes on the internet than there are cat videos. Arguably, this just means the internet is working up to its potential.
However, we like to grow, forage, and use unusual ingredients. This means we often find ourselves having to create our own recipes completely from scratch because the internet has no templates or roadmaps. Sometimes, we have culinary hits and sometimes we have misses. And sometimes we have to experiment and iterate to get near misses to become hits.
Case in point: this chestnut flour crepe with beautyberry whipped cream recipe. As far as we know, we’re the first human beings in history to ever combine these ingredients into crepe and cream. Thus, the internet is rendered useless for our journey; trial and error ensued.
However, the final result turned out so well that we’re here to help other intrepid food-lovers make their own version, error-free. Hopefully, we made the recipe easy enough to follow that you can continue watching cat videos while you’re prepping and cooking.
Importance of ingredients
Here are some important details about the two primary ingredients used in this recipe:
1. Chestnut flour
We grow chestnut trees, organically. (See: How and why to grow chestnuts in your home orchard or homestead.)
Chestnuts are a large, sweetly-flavored nut high in complex carbohydrates and (relatively) low in fat and protein. This is a very different nutrient profile than many common nuts, which tend to be high in fat and protein and low in carbohydrates.
That’s why chestnuts are often referred to as “bread of the woods.” Acorns and acorn flour also compete for the same title. Both chestnuts and acorns are gluten-free, making them a great source of carbohydrate for those folks dealing with gluten sensitivities.
If you have fresh chestnuts to work with like we do, we recommend making them into chestnut flour for this recipe, which you can do if you have a blender. Nothing fancy or complicated required. See our article, DIY: How to make chestnut flour.
If you don’t have your own chestnuts, you can buy organic chestnut flour on the internet. Yay useful internet!
2. American beautyberries
American beautyberries look almost indistinguishable from Asian beautyberries at first glance. However, one thing we’ve discovered this year is that American beautyberries are much more intensely flavored than their Asian lookalikes, which makes them better in the kitchen.
Rather than taking up space here telling you how to tell American vs Asian beautyberry plants/fruit apart, we’ll simply suggest reading our article: How to use American beautyberries as food and mosquito repellent.
If you decide to make our beautyberry whipped cream to go along with the chestnut crepes, we’d highly recommend using American beautyberries or it’s possible very little beautyberry flavor will show up.
Don’t have any beautyberries? No worries. Use the crepe topping of your choice. You can even go in a savory direction if you’d prefer.
Chestnut crepe & beautyberry whipped cream recipe tips
This is actually a fairly simple recipe, but there are some critical details you need to get right if you want everything to come out just right. Here are recipe tips to help:
1. Prep the ingredients the day before you cook them.
This is slow food, but it’s worth the planning and patience. You’ll need at least two hours between prepping the batter and infusing the cream with beautyberry flavor and refrigerating them before you actually cook the crepes and make the whipped cream.
However, we recommend doing prep the night before, putting the ingredients in the fridge, and then quickly making them the following morning rather than going the faster route. This will also help give any hard, larger pieces of chestnut in the flour ample time to soften and be blended into silky smooth perfection before cooking…
2. Chestnut flour crepe batter is not like its wheat flour equivalent.
These aren’t your momma’s wheat flour crepes! Chestnut flour does not prep, cook, or function like wheat flour.
For one, it doesn’t have gluten so it doesn’t naturally stick together (hence eggs). Secondly, it seems to absorb far more liquid than wheat flour, as we’ve discovered by cooking with it.
You’ll start by putting most of the crepe ingredients into a blender — except for 1/4 cup of milk and a second egg. Then you put the ingredients in the fridge (still in the blender, to make next steps easier).
With wheat flour crepes, you take the batter out of the fridge and start cooking immediately. Not so with chestnut flour.
The chestnut flour absorbs all of the initial wet ingredients and takes on the texture of thick, wet concrete. When you remove it from the fridge, you’ll want to add 1/4 cup additional milk and an egg and re-blend it right before cooking.
Could you just put all the ingredients together before refrigerating? Yes, but the final texture won’t be as good or easy to spread in the pan because the chestnut flour will have more time to thicken it. Trust us on this one.
In addition to incorporating the additional wet ingredients, re-blending the batter also pulverizes any pieces of lumpy chestnut meat that didn’t get ground fine enough when making it into flour. This gives you a silky smooth finished chestnut crepe, which is exactly what you want.
3. Infusing the cream with beautyberry flavor.
American beautyberries are a wonderful flavoring, but they’re not a fruit you want to eat raw by the handful. They also taste much better when cooked.
Additionally, beautyberries are not a high-water content fruit. Under that beautifully colored purple skin, they’re basically pith and seed. This means they don’t add much — if any — water content to whatever you’re adding them to or cooking them with.
How do you infuse beautyberries into cream to make beautyberry whipped cream?
To quickly release the flavor of the beautyberries into the cream, you’ll want to crush them or throw them into a blender with the cream.
Then put the cream and beautyberries into a small saucepan on your stovetop with the lid on. Lid on because you’re not trying to reduce moisture content, just infuse the flavor of the berries into the cream.
You can go slow and low heat (example: medium low heat for 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes). Or you can go fast and higher heat (example: medium for 10 minutes).
If you go higher heat, keep in mind that you’ll need to really keep an eye on things because cream will boil up and out of a pot pretty quickly, making a stinky mess of your stovetop. Yes, we know this from experience. Also learned from experience: if the fat breaks because you cooked the cream too hot, it will still form a nice whipped cream later.
Once your cream is infused with beautyberry flavor, remove it from the heat, let it cool to room temp, strain out the beautyberries, then store the cream in your fridge. Keep it refrigerated until it’s cold again and whip it with the other ingredients (cream of tartar, maple syrup/sugar) right before you make your crepes.
What ratio of beautyberries-to-cream should you use?
Thus far, we’ve tried a 1:2 and 1:1 ratio of beautyberries to cream. We liked the 1:1 ratio best. You could potentially ramp up the beautyberry flavor even higher if you want.
4. Crepe pan size, heat, cooking technique, and more…
Crepes are simple (once you get experience), but not easy to make. Your first time trying, you’re probably going to make some ugly crepes. No worries, they still taste good and you’ll learn from your mistakes. A few crepe-making tips:
a. Pan type and size + crepe batter quantity
We love our smooth-surfaced antique cast iron pans which are well-seasoned so as to be no-stick. We will not be persuaded to make crepes in any other pan. Ever.
For this recipe, we used a Wagner #6, which measures 7″ across the bottom. We used a 1/3 cup measuring spoon to ladle out our crepe batter. This pan size and measuring cup size ended up making the perfect sized crepe for our chestnut crepe recipe, yielding 5 crepes.
If you don’t have antique cast iron pans, we’d suggest using the best ~7″ no-stick pan you have — one with a nice curve going up from the bottom to the sides to make it easy to slide a spatula under the crepes and slide the crepes out of the pan.
If you use a smaller pan, use less than 1/3 cup of crepe batter for each crepe. Larger than 7″ pan – use more than 1/3 cup batter. This detail is quite important because you want a nice thin crepe that doesn’t get torched black on the bottom before cooking through.
b. Prep your crepe making station ahead of time.
You want everything you need to cook, remove, and store your crepes within arms-length of your pan before you start cooking. Here’s what you’ll need:
c. Heat and butter.
Each stovetop surface and pan cooks a little different. With our cast iron pan and electric range, we’ve found that a temperature slightly below medium is ideal (3.5 – 4). You’ll want to get your pan nice and hot before putting butter and the first scoop of crepe batter in.
Between each crepe, you’ll want to add more butter to the pan, probably about 1 teaspoon worth.
5. Swirl batter and don’t flip crepes.
Crepes are not pancakes. There’s no leavening agents added and they’re meant to be nice and thin when done, not thick and fluffy.
Getting the perfect thickness on your crepes isn’t just a matter of pan size and heat. You have to pick up and swirl the pan as soon as the crepe batter touches the surface. You want the batter to form a circle, evenly filling the bottom of the pan.
Also, unlike pancakes, you don’t flip crepes. As soon as the last signs of wet batter disappear from the surface of the crepe, you remove it from the pan immediately.
The bottom of a finished crepe is lightly browned, but the top is not – even though it’s cooked through thanks to the thinness of the crepe.
6. Store crepes covered until eating to trap heat and moisture.
Leaving a finished crepe uncovered is a sacrilege punishable by 3 days without breakfast in some cultures. Or at least it is in our home.
Instead of leaving a cooked crepe on an uncovered plate, immediately transfer it into a covered dish. We use two plates – one turned upside down and placed over the other.
This keeps the moisture trapped inside and gives the crepe a perfect spongy texture that won’t crack or break when you fold it. The only exception to this rule is if you plan to serve the crepe immediately upon removal from the pan. Then you won’t be punished.
Ok, now you have the essential details to get this recipe perfect, so let’s get cooking!
Recipe: Chestnut flour crepes with beautyberry whipped cream
Chestnut flour crepes with beautyberry whipped cream
A delicious, gluten-free crepe recipe made with chestnut flour. Can be made sweet or savory. Go sweet with the addition of our beautyberry whipped cream!
Chestnut flour crepes
- 1/2 cup organic chestnut flour
- 1/2 cup whole milk, organic grass-fed (for BEFORE refrigeration)
- 1/4 cup whole milk, organic grass-fed (for AFTER refrigeration)
- 1 egg (for BEFORE refrigeration)
- 1 egg (for AFTER refrigeration)
- 1/4 tsp salt (we prefer pink Himalayan)
- 1 tbsp butter, grass-fed (room temp or melted) (plus more for cooking)
- 1 tsp *maple syrup or sugar (*optional - use only if you want a sweeter crepe)
Beautyberry whipped cream sweetened with maple syrup
- 1 cup organic heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup American beautyberries (preferably not Asian beautyberries) (plus a few extra for garnish)
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar (very important for good lift and hold)
Making chestnut flour crepes
Put wet ingredients in blender, except for 1/4 cup milk and 1 egg that are added later after refrigeration. Then add dry ingredients on top, and blend for one minute.
Place blender in fridge for a minimum of two hours, but preferably overnight/12 hours.
Remove blender from fridge, add 1/4 cup milk and egg, and blend again for one minute.
Prep cooking area as detailed in article. Use ~7" pan and a 1/3 cup measuring cup for batter ladle. Heat pan to medium low heat, 3.5-4 on our stove, and allow it to get hot. Lightly butter pan. Add scoop of crepe batter and immediately lift and swirl pan to get batter to evenly coat surface of pan.
Cook each crepe just until all wet spots on batter have disappeared (about 1 minute or less) then immediately transfer crepe to a dish that you can cover. We use a plate with another plate placed upside down on top. This holds in moisture and heat to ensure ideal crepe texture. Stack crepes on top of each other until done. When serving: Fold and place toppings on top or stuff toppings inside rolled crepes, depending on your preference.
Making beautyberry whipped cream
Option 1: Mash beautyberries in unheated saucepan to break open skins then add cream. Option 2: Put berries and cream in blender then transfer to saucepan.
Heat cream and beautyberries in covered saucepan over medium low heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing burns to the bottom of the pan or the cream boils over. If the fat breaks due to excess heat, don't worry - it will still whip fine! Taste a small amount between 20-30 minutes and either remove or keep cooking depending on how much beautyberry flavor has infused the cream. Remove from heat and strain out beautyberries/seeds/skin.
Place infused cream in fridge until cold. Before you make crepes, remove the infused cream and place in electric mixing bowl. Add cream of tartar and maple syrup. Using electric mixer, beat until light and fluffy. You'll know it's ready when you can lift up the beater blades and the whipped cream forms peaks.
Refrigerate if not serving immediately. Add scoop of beautyberry whipped cream to each crepe and garnish with fresh beautyberries.
Now you (and we) have another delicious chestnut & beautyberry recipe to add to our repertoire!
This chestnut crepe is quite versatile by itself, so you can use it for savory recipes as well (just don’t add maple syrup or sugar). You can also use the beautyberry whipped cream on other dishes as well – pie toppings, etc.
Other nutty articles you’ll love:
- How and why to grow organic chestnuts in your home orchard or homestead
- Recipe: 20 minute pan-roasted chestnuts on a stovetop
- Recipe: chestnut porridge, a simple & delicious sugar-free breakfast
- How to make chestnut flour
- How to make acorn flour
- Recipe: Hickory nut ambrosia