Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Paris, crêpes, and Mary

The family and I went to Paris to start out our summer vacation this year.  It was really fun to see Paris through the kids' eyes and to have an excuse to be a tourist.  The kids loved the Louvre and Eiffel Tower and even wanted to climb up the Arc de Triomph. They were unimpressed with the beauty of the avenues and prefered to sleep in taxis rather than admire the view.  They did not want to sit in a cafe all day (what?!) but loved the food markets, fresh crusty baguettes and eating Vietnamese pho noodles for the first time.  And as all good tourists do, we had several crêpes for snacks in between seeing sites. 
Which led us to understand that we really needed a râteau en bois to take home.  Yes, that's right.  A 
wooden crêpe batter spreader thingy. The ultimate Paris souvenir. You heard it here first folks!

Mary and I cooking together.
So, today we tried making crêpe with our rateau.  The recipe I use now is from my friend Mary, so I always think of her whenever I make crêpes.  Mary was an amazing cook and the last time I saw her, we made a huge pile of crêpes together for a party.  We made the crêpes in advance during the day.  To serve, we just reheated them in the oven, wrapped in foil.  We had a big bowl of whipped cream, another huge bowl of berries, and some chocolate sauce. Guests filled their own crêpe and we had a long line of very happy customers.  I am so privileged that my last memory of Mary was such a happy one, full of laughter and good food.  I think Mary would have approved of the râteau.  She probably would have been better at using it than me!
To be honest, it wasn't that much easier to use the râteau than to just swirl the batter in the pan. It takes a light touch on the rateau not to tear the delicate batter and it took a few tries before we managed to make a good looking crêpe.  The main thing that is better with the râteau is that you don't have to be in such a hurry, like you do when you swirl the batter.  In fact, you need to wait a few seconds after you have poured in the batter before you spread it with the râteau. So the process is a bit calmer.  Whether you decide to swirl or use a râteau, the crêpes will taste good all the same!

You can put almost anything on your crêpes.  My personal favorite is the simplest, just a sprinkle of sugar and lemon onto the hot crepe.

Mary's Cr
êpe Recipe
Makes  about 10 crêpes:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/3 cup water
3 eggs
3 tbsps butter, melted

1.       Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and process briefly.
2.       With the motor running, add the milk, water, and eggs,  through the feed tube.  Process until smooth.  Alternatively, you can beat the batter with a whisk by hand.
3. Pour the batter into a bowl and then add the melted butter slowly, whisking all the time.
3.       Heat a heavy 7-inch nonstick skillet (mine is a 9-inch) until quite hot.  Pour in 3 tbsps (I use a 1/4 cup) of the batter, then quickly tilt the pan so the batter spreads evenly, forming a crepe.  
4.  If using a râteau, pour in the batter in the center of the pan.  Wait a few seconds and then gently use the rateau to swirl the batter around to the edges of the pan.
5. Cook until lightly brown, 30 to 45 seconds; then turn and cook another 15 seconds.
6.       Repeat, using up all the batter.  As you finish the crêpe, stack them between sheets of waxed paper to prevent them from sticking or serve them at once, hot from the pan.  If making crêpes for later, wrap the stacked crêpes in plastic wrap.  They will keep in the refrigerator for 2 days.  To re-heat, simply wrap them in foil and heat them in the oven. 

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