26 July 2009


Cooking in other peoples' homes is always exciting. You don't know how their stove handles. You don't know where they keep the sugar, or the vanilla. And most excitingly, you don't know how often they replace stuff.

I was recently visiting my in-laws for the 4th of July, and did some of the cooking there. For breakfast, one morning, I thought I would make pancakes. Quick, easy, yummy. I mixed up a simple pancake batter, and was surprised by the consistency of it. Generally, my pancake batters are like a thick soup with lumps in it. This was more of a runny soup with lumps in it. But I normally make buttermilk pancakes, so I chalked it up to that. I fired up the stove, and got a pan screaming hot, and poured a ladelful of batter into the pan. It still looked like runny soup with lumps. I tossed a couple of blueberries into the batter, but I wasn't hopeful. This wasn't going to end well. The pancake didn't rise. And didn't rise. And didn't rise. I flipped it. It was wafer thing, and the blueberries were holding it up on the other side. My first thought? The baking powder must have gotten a bit old. I picked it up and looked underneath:
Best Before Jan 2003
Oh. Well, crêpes don't require baking powder. Let's make crêpes instead.

Crepe batter in mixer

I lived in a French-language dorm when I was a college student. It was in the very small francophone region of Edmonton, Canada. Every Sunday morning, several of the Catholic francophone girls there would make breakfast, and they would often offer to serve breakfast to anyone who was up. This recipe for crêpes came from one of these girls. It was one of the first things I knew how to cook. In those days, she said do 1 recipe/person you're serving. Now that I'm not 19 anymore, that seems like craziness. We'll make 2 x of this recipe for 2 adults and a famished 3-year old, and still have plenty of leftovers.
1 ½ cups flour
2ish cups milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
Crepe batter

Beat egg. Add milk. Pour a small amount of this into the flour and mix into a paste (you don't want lumps in the final batter). Now mix in the rest of the milk/egg mixture. Add vanilla.

Get a pan medium-hot. Melt some butter in there. Pour in a ladleful of batter into the pan, it'll be pretty runny.

Pouring crepe

Cook for about a minute, until the liquid batter turns mostly solid. It'll look a little more cooked than this:

Cooking crepe

The center will still be a tiny bit liquidish, but the outside will be solid. Then flip with a spatula. Cook for another minute or so, then pick up the crêpe with the spatula, and start another one. Once you get comfortable with this, you can get a couple pans going simultaneously, and be ploughing through these pretty quickly.

Single crepe

Don't worry if the first one looks messed up - even the francophone girls who taught me how to make these gave the first crêpe "à Dieu".

Serve these with fruit, whipping cream, icing sugar for dusting and *real* maple syrup - these are francophone Canadian, after all - you wouldn't sully them with that crappy fake syrup, would you? We tend to put bowls of fruit in the middle of the table, and let people roll their own.


For pure decadence, eat these outside on a beautiful summer morning. Yum.

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