Thursday, February 02, 2006

Crêpes de la Rochelle

Today's the Chandeleur, a festive day in France where crepes reign! Of course my AOL front page had crepes on its front page with a whole bunch of recipes for different kinds of crepes. Since we all know you can eat crepes throughout an entire meal, I felt compelled to check out the new recipes.

Since crêpes are most assoicated with the region of Brittany, due north from La Rochelle, it is not so surpirsing that the title of this crêpe caught my eye: Crêpes de La Rochelle. Living near this city, it's kind of my little Mecca. Great place to visit, to dine and to enjoy sailing, but who goes there for crêpes? I checked out the recipe. Crêpes de La Rochelle

After reading through it, I realized that it's how my mother-in-law makes her sweet crepes, always with zest of orange and freshly squeezed oranges. The cognac is optional.
for those of you who don't read and cook in French:

300 g flour or 1 cup
3 eggs
50 g or 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 liter or 2 cups milk
1/4 liter or 1 cup water
50 g or 1/2 cup sugar
2 oranges
1 dl of cognac or brandy (1 shot)
pinch of salt

**Wash oranges and scrub peels; pat dry and grate peels; cut in two and juice both
oranges. Set aside.
**In large mixing bowl, pour in flour, make a hole in
center and add eggs, sugars, salt and begin mixing using a whisk, creating a
sticky batter. Gradually pour in milk while continuing to whisk, then follow up
with the water. Crepe batter should be very thin and liquid. Stir in butter,
orange juice and zest.

[ here I add my own directions because the recipe assumes that you know how to cook crepes. That would be an inborn French trait. If your a foreigner like me, and don't know the difference between pancakes and crepes, then read about the difference here a.k.a. my first culinary flop!]

**Heat a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat. Pour in a bit of vegetable oil and spread out evenly with paper towel; pour in a [soup] ladelful of batter into skillet evenly over entire surface. You may need to swirl skillet to even out batter.

**Important: it is very important to do this as quickly as possible because the batter is so thin, it cooks VERY quickly!
**Cook for approx. 30 seconds, or until the center is solid and the edges start to crisp.
Using a flat, non-stick spatula, slide around outter edges of crepe and as much of bottom as possible. Carefully using your fingers, pick up top edge of the crepe and flip over finishing with top edge upside-down at at bottom of skillet. Cook for another 30 seconds or so.
**Repeat process starting with the oil until you've finished all the batter.
**Remove from skillet and lay flat on warm plate. Cover with a clean dish towel or paper towel and place in warm oven or microwave.

These can be reheated later in the microwave, oven or skillet or over later. If serving later, I suggest that you fold the crepe over twice and layer in a fan-like fashion on large, oven proof plate/ shallow dish.

I must put in my own two-cent's worth here and change the recipe!
Tip: I would suggest reserving 1/2 and orange, and when you are ready to serve the crepes, heat oven at 350°F or 200°C, warm crepes for approxiately 10 minutes; meanwhile juice orange; remove crepes from oven and pour juice over to of crepes; sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoons sugar and serve immediately.


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