You are currently browsing the daily archive for March 4, 2016.

In the UK, Laetare Sunday is Mothering Sunday. In 2016, it falls on March 6.

These two posts give the history behind this association between Laetare Sunday, the Church and mothers:

Laetare Sunday, Mother’s Day and the Golden Rose

Laetare Sunday is Mothering Sunday

My posts this week focussed on food: beef, pork, microwaved potatoes as well as gravy and sauce in the hope that some of my British readers will consider cooking for their mothers this Sunday. If they can manage it without too much stress, their mothers would no doubt appreciate that much more than being taken out for lunch or dinner, no matter how elaborate or filling.

What follows are my tips for foolproof crêpes, which make a delightful and convenient dessert. They can be made in advance and reheated before serving.

Foolproof crêpe recipe

I use Delia Smith’s crêpe recipe, which requires no ‘resting’ of the batter. It calls for:

110g (4 oz) of sifted flour

2 eggs

7 oz (207 ml) of milk mixed with 3 oz (89 ml) of water

Pinch of salt

2 tbsp (30g) melted butter (omit the pinch of salt if using salted butter)

This will make six crêpes.

As this recipe does not call for sugar, the crêpes can be used for savoury fillings.

Cooking tips

I use a copper crêpe pan but cheaper alternatives are available. In addition to the crêpe pan, you will need a dinner plate, a soup ladle (large enough to provide a small cup of soup), a long thin metal spatula and several sheets of aluminium foil.

Make sure the pan is hot (medium heat) before pouring in the crêpe batter. Because my pan is so heavy, I begin heating it before I start the batter.

Once you have mixed the first three or four ingredients well, melt the butter in the crêpe pan, tilt the pan so the butter covers the bottom and sides, then pour all of the butter into the batter. Stir well.

Use a soup ladle (large enough to provide a small cup of soup) to spoon the batter into the pan. Fill the ladle almost to the top, leaving 1/2″ (1 cm) empty.

Put the ladle close to the centre of the pan and pour the batter into it. Quickly tilt the pan so the batter reaches the edge and is evenly distributed.

The first crêpe takes the longest, twice as long as the last one. Be patient, increase the heat slightly from medium to medium-high and wait. My first one takes five to six minutes, but that is normally when my kitchen is cold.

Crêpes are ready to be turned over for cooking on the other side when you can slide the spatula under it and the crêpe holds its shape. If the crêpe moves or starts to bunch up, it is not ready to be turned over and will tear.

Once the crêpe is turned over, it should only need a minute or two of cooking time.

Cooked crêpes look golden brown in the middle of one side and often have a mottled appearance on the other. When serving, show the more attractive side.

When the crêpe is cooked, lift the pan and slide the crêpe onto your dinner plate. Cover tightly with a sheet of aluminium foil and ladle the next bit of batter into the pan.

You should not need to add any butter to the pan when cooking the rest of the crêpes. If you do, add just a tiny bit and rotate the pan so it distributes evenly, then add your batter and repeat the rest of these steps, remembering to place a sheet of aluminium foil on top of each crêpe.

Be prepared to turn the heat down if your crêpes are in danger of burning. I start on medium-high and turn the heat back down to medium by the time I make the fourth.

When all your crêpes are made, cover the uppermost tightly with aluminium foil. If you are making these in advance, let them cool thoroughly before refrigerating. Take them out of the refrigerator and let them get up to room temperature before reheating in a 150°C (325°F) oven for 10 – 15 minutes or, having removed the foil, microwave them for one to two minutes. You can fold them up before placing in the microwave to make room for several on a plate.

The first crêpe

Many British cooks, including the professionals, say the first crêpe is never any good.

I disagree. I have only ever thrown out a first crêpe once. Had I been more patient, I could have served that one, too.

Part of the reason for the first crêpe theory is because people leave too much melted butter in the pan. You need just enough to cover the surface and sides, no more than that.

Serving suggestions

Most Britons prefer their crêpes topped simply with sugar and lemon juice.

I prefer my Amaretto sauce and whipped cream.

You can also use a variety of fruit coulis, other sweet sauces, ice cream or sherbet.

A popular trend in France now is to make a layer ‘cake’ of the crêpes, putting Nutella between each layer. The cake is then cut into wedges for serving.

And, of course, let’s not forget the classic Crêpes Suzette for which there is a Jacques Pépin recipe (see steps 3 – 5).

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