Wednesday, September 28, 2011

French crepes

When my husband and I were in France in 2007, we found a hole in the wall vendor selling crepes in Montparnasse. I think she was there as part of the Night of Music Festival, where people come out on the streets all over Paris to listen to music, sing, dance, and eat a lot of food. This particular creperie was part of a pub. A girl with Suzi Quatro hair was stationed inside a little booth with a big black flat griddle, a jug of crepe batter, a wooden trowel and a bunch of fillings. We stepped up to the window and ordered: “un crepe avec jambon, fromage et champignons”. And she set to work. When the job was done, the girl used a giant spatula to fold the crepe into quarters, slip it into a little paper cone and hand it over. And let me tell you, that crepe was goooooood!

I have finally perfected my own crepe recipe. Lately I’ve become a little obsessed with crepes. When you try this recipe, you’ll understand why.

1 cup plain flour
1 large egg
375ml full cream milk.

1. Put the flour in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Crack the egg into the well, then pour the milk into the well.
2. Use a balloon whisk to gradually combine all the ingredients, then keep whisking until the batter resembles the thickness of pouring cream. Cover the bowl with glad wrap and leave the batter to stand for one hour.
3. Heat a 22cm fry pan on the top of a stove. Use a quarter cup measure to scoop the perfect portion of batter out of the bowl and pour it into the pan. Tilt the pan in a circle motion to spread the batter thinly. Cook for one minute, then flip over and cook for a further 30 seconds on the other side. Repeat until all the batter is cooked. You should get about 12 crepes. And because you rested the batter, the first one should be as good as the last.

Extra notes: there was a comment by an anonymous reader that this recipe doesn't work. We've tested this over and over to be sure it does. And we've eaten the results quite happily every time! It's worth saying the French put two eggs in their crepes. I find two eggs can sometimes make the batter a bit like an omelette. However if you were going to use the crepes for Chinese-style mango pancakes, this would be a good effect! When turning the crepes, I have to say this does take practice. I've been working on my technique since I was about 12 years old. Do be patient with yourself if flipping crepes is something new for you. To be honest, I've been picking mine up by the edge with my fingers and flipping them. This is made possible by the fact that I'm using a brand new teflon pan. Nothing sticks to it! If it were an old pan matters would be different. One more thing about pans - as a kid I made crepes in the Sunbeam skillet. Ours was well seasoned and did not take much butter to encourage the crepe not to stick. They still make these skillets. I find them really nice to cook with!

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