Mardi, trop de Gras

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Crêpes. The beginnning of quite a pile.

It’s Shrove Tuesday and while no one in this house religiously celebrates either Easter or its antecedent, Lent, we always enjoy an excuse to eat pancakes. In our house while growing up, “Pancake Day” meant a feast of crêpes, those really flat pancake-like creatures that can be rolled up with an assortment of treasures inside and sauces drizzled on top. As a child, I was thoroughly mystified, at first, when my classmates talked about finding buttons or coins baked into their pancakes. Where would you hide one in something so thin??

Contrary to the actual philosophy of Shrove Tuesday, in which one uses up the food eschewed during Lent (sugar, fat, flour and eggs being among those), I actually had to go out and BUY milk, eggs, butter and syrup.

Anyhow, here’s my Recipe for Crêpes. It’s pretty standard and probably the same as many that you’ll find:

Heat small to medium-sized frying pan (non-stick or extremely well-seasoned cast iron) over medium heat.

Dump the following into a bowl:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk (I used skim. You can use whatever kind you have around.)
  • 2 tbsp melted butter (and trust me, you want real butter, not margarine or oil)

Mix these up.

Dump in 1/2 tsp salt & 1 cup flour.

Mix well until mostly smooth. It should be about the consistency of tomato soup. Maybe slightly thicker. If it’s like applesauce or even normal pancake mix, it’s way too thick. Thin with a little more milk to get it right.

When the pan is good and hot, drop a tsp of either veggie oil or margarine in and spread it around. Use a ladle and scoop about 1/2 cup of mix into the pan. Tip the pan so that the mixture coats the whole bottom, but not the sides. Work pretty quick. If it doesn’t spread well, it’s not runny enough. This is when I usually turn the burner down a fricken.

Wait until the entire coating of mixture turns from light to dark (you’ll know what I mean when you see it. Then loosen the edges, work the spatula under and flip it. The second side does faster than the first. If you’re making a lot, it helps to have two pans on the go at a time.

The first crêpe is usually a bit of a dud. It’s the one that tells you if your batter is too thick or thin or if your pan is too sticky/cold/big. It’s the proto-pancake and is essential to the whole process. It also keeps the dogs (or kids) happy.

This recipe should make enough for two hungry people, but it depends what you put inside.

Fillings:

  • Today we started with a mixture of red onions, red peppers and cubes of ham, sautéed in olive oil. We rolled this inside the crêpes and drizzled maple syrup on top.
  • Then there was homemade applesauce (chop up eight apples, stick ’em in a pot. Add 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1 tbsp cinnamon. Bring to a medium boil, turn down heat and simmer for about 15 mins).
  • Finally we finished up with ice cream inside and chocolate sauce out.
  • In the past I have used lemon juice and sugar.
  • The applesauce worked very well with the ice cream.
  • Really, your imagination is the limit…

I quadrupled the batch and it was enough for seven very hungry people, with seven crêpes left over.

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