Crêpes Expectations

So it’s Mardi Gras – Fat Tuesday – which on the traditional churchy calendar marked the last hurrah before Lent. I don’t feel we need to be shriven, but any excuse to eat pancakes is ok by us.

I turn to Old Faithful, the recipe Mum always used when I was a kid – from the Commonsense Cookery Book, that hoary old tome ‘compiled by the NSW Public School Cookery Teachers’ Association.’ Mine is a 1968 reprint full of illustrated adverts for Aunt Mary’s Cream of Tartar baking powder and blocks of Frymasta vegetable oil. Fat Tuesday indeed.

‘Batter for pancakes,’ page 134, has my spidery handwriting on it, converting the ounces and pints. What this makes is not so much pancakes as crêpes in the French style, wonderfully thin, soft in the middle with the edges just starting to go crispy.

This time I used wholemeal flour – not a good plan, so don’t you make the same mistake. The white flour makes a smooth batter and you need that in a crepe.

I’d always used a regular frypan before, which works fine of course, but I recently scored a proper crepe pan at Vinnies and this was its first outing. This shallow little beauty is what allows you to flip like a pro, no spatula thing required. It feels good.

This is the recipe verbatim (with the metric conversion though)

INGREDIENTS

  • 125 grams white flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 egg
  • 280 mls milk

METHOD

  1. Sift the flour and salt.
  2. Break the egg and remove the speck.
  3. Make a well in the middle of the flour.
  4. Add the egg whole.
  5. Stir in the flour gradually from the sides.
  6. Add the milk a little at a time.
  7. When half the milk is used, all the flour must be moistened.
  8. Beat it well to remove all lumps and make it light.
  9. When quite smooth add the remainder of the milk gradually.
  10. Stand it aside for 1 hour.

NOTE. –This batter may also be used for Yorkshire pudding and sausages in batter.

When you are cooking them, drop a smear of butter in the pan and spread it about with a pastry brush. Common sense. Julie and I hovered around the stovetop watching them cook, seeing shapes in them like you do with clouds – a man sticking his tongue out, a shadow puppet hand, the coast of Wales.

Serve with a sprinkle of castor sugar and a generous squeeze of lemon juice. While you are on your third, I suggest you examine your conscience and plan your fourth. Happy Mardi Gras.

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