Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Crepes (French pancakes)

It is getting cold here and it's around the corner from Mardis Gras and shrove Tuesday, so nothing better than lovely crepes to warm up and feel better about it!

I tend to eat savoury crepes more than sweet ones, but the great thing about it is that the possibilities are infinite!

I love my crepes very very thin, and I have for that a large cast aluminium pan that is absolutely perfect for that. I haven't really got good pictures yet, as crepes are veeery difficult to take pictures off, they tend to disappear very quickly indeed! So I will have to make them for my camera and nobody else!

Crepes are easy in theory, but experience makes them perfect I'm afraid. i have tried to share some of mine in this article...

For 12 crepes

- 125g flour (1/8 of a kilo, really...)
- 25g butter (the president or a good french butter one gives the best results tastewise), melted
- 2 eggs
- 30dl milk (half a pint)
- water to adjust the consistency (must be very fluid but sticky) try one crepe, adjust.

It is advised to leave the dough to rest for 1 hour, but I tend not to as it's always a last minute decision to cook crepes.. And to be honest, it does not make a huge difference.

Pour the flour in a recipient, make a well, pour in the beaten eggs, mix well to avoid lumps, add the molten butter and then the milk little by little. adjust with water (quite a lot required actually... but you'll see that)

Use a very hot pan at first. you should not need to grease the pan after the first crepe. And in france, we always say that the first crepe is for the dog (I don't think cats like them!). You will need a flat and large spatula, to flip the crepe if you don't master the hand flipping yet. You will know when to flip the crepe when the rim of the crepe becomes cooked and a bit brittle, and stops sticking to the pan. Flip the crepes, and wait for the other side to be cooked, all this is a natter of minutes only...

Remember that if the dough is too thin and the crepes are breaking, adding an egg will bring some elasticity back.

Now the toppings: If you prepare the crepes before your guests arrive, you need to have a large plate ready with a foil cover. Slip the crepes on the plate and make sure you cover it with the foil straight after. And if you need to reheat them for the toppings, make sure they are undercooked.

I must apologise for the terrible unique photo, it's an old one taken with a 2Mp camera. As soon as I have some proper shots, I shall make a swap.....When I will post the photos, I'll make sure to take a picture of all the folding options too...

Shopping list for savoury toppings:
- Cooked Mushroom - Roquefort
- Ham - Bacon - Grated Emmental
- Fresh chive - walnuts - Philadelphia
- Cooked Chicken - cooked Zucchinis- Fresh ginger
- Fresh Tomato - Feta - lettuce
- Crème Fraiche or lighter: greek yoghurt
- ...
I tend to love mine with ham and gratted cheese preferably gruyere (place the ingredients on the flip side of the crepe, so that that are hot too), a few leaves of lettuce, a small dollop of greek yoghurt, and very important, fresh chives! Forget the salt as the cheese is plenty salty already.

Shopping list for sweet toppings:

- Sugar - Lemon/lime - Fresh ginger
- Chantilly - Nutella - melted chocolate - Warm pear in syrup
- Maple syrup - Apple compote - fruit coulis - Lemon grass
- Cocoa Powder - Thinly cut Crystallised ginger/citrus zest
- Jam (quince, raspberry, blueberry) - Fresh chillies
- Bananas - Raspberries, other berries...
- ...

A french classic is lemon juice and sugar, or just sugar...And for the drink, French cider of course!

Other random tips you can apply to your liking:
- you can beat the egg whites, it makes interesting light crepes
- 1 pinch of bicarbonate of soda added will help digestion
- instead of adding m y ca aromatised water:
Boil about 1l of water with the peel, or slices of lemon and oranges (preferably organic) and use cold. - add a bit of cointreau or orange blossom water
- you can replace 1/2 the milk by the same quantity of beer

Source: initially my mum, then my mad wanderings and experimentations... to end up with the ultimate crepe, inclusive of years of regular crepe experience!


Kevin said...

Nice crepe post! I like that there are so many fillings that you can enjoy in crepes. They never get boring.

Christelle said...

Thanks! I'm ashamed about the temporary photo, but I had to post in time for the February events really...
I gather plenty of ingredients for my guests, but I must say, I tend to stick to
For savoury: ham, cheese, crisp lettuce and fresh chive - greek yoghurt on top sometimes
- sweet (I don't have a sweet toot ;): a plain crepe, yes, no sugar, nothing!
But my guest's fav is nutella!

pigpigscorner said...

My favourite would be dark and white chocolate mix. yum yum!

Manger La Ville said...

I love buckwheat crepes, they are eaten in Normandy. I thin they make the perfect savory crepe. FOr sweet I like flour.

Parker said...

Love crepes so much. i am thinking about making some savoury ones for v-day.

Christelle said...

Manger la ville: yes I love the 'crepes au sarrazin' from Britany and Normandy, but it's difficult to find the flour here....

Parker: I bet they'll be shaped like heats ;)))