Thursday, December 3, 2009

Just Call Me the Crêpes Crusader

Since we are learning about quick breads, the class split into pairs which were each assigned a different quick bread. There were muffins, beignets, doughnuts, scones, biscuits and crêpes, which is what my partner Holly and I were assigned. We felt like we got the luck of the draw, because really, who doesn't like crêpes? They are actually pretty simple to make, the trickiest part is cooking them, but even that wasn't so bad after a few tries.

Holy Crêpe!
The key to cooking crêpes is to make sure your pan is oiled (but not heavily) and you keep the pan hot. When you drop the batter onto the pan, you should hear a sizzling sound. If you don't, crank up the heat a bit. Be sure to scoop just enough batter to THINLY coat the bottom of the pan. Crêpes are supposed to be very thin (see picture), kind of like a tortilla. Pick up the hot pan, tilt it towards you, then drop the batter on the side closest to you. Then QUICKLY start swiveling the pan around so that the batter swirls around the bottom in a thin, even coating. If you do this too slow the batter will clump in certain spots, which means the thick parts take longer to cook and the thin parts get overly browned. When you see the edges start to brown and loosen from the pan, flip it.

The Trick to Crêpe Flipping
If you want to impress people, try flipping the crêpe over in the air. The trick to doing this is to gently shake the crêpe loose first. If it is sticking to the pan, just push the edges loose with your finger. Once loosened, thrust the pan forward and slightly up in one quick motion. It's actually easier than you think and nobody in our class dropped a single crêpe on the floor. If you don't get it right, the crêpe usually just ends up either folded in the pan or hanging on the edge of the pan so don't worry about a big disaster. Just pick it up and flip it with your hand if it didn't work. It takes a little practice, but most of us got it by the third try.

Once you've flipped to the other side, don't leave it on the pan for very long at all. The second side shouldn't be browned like the first side, just heat it enough to cook it and keep it yellow in color. When it's done, drop it on a sheet pan with the brown side down, yellow side facing up. Traditionally, you fold it in half and then in half again so that you have a triangle a quarter of the size of the open crêpe. Now, you just need to top it with fruit, chocolate sauce, powdered sugar (that's what we used) or whatever tickles your fancy. Enjoy!

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