Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sacre Bleu, It's Crepe Time! - S1E9

Picture this: You are strolling along the Champs-Elysee hand in hand with your love when you are struck suddenly by a smell... no it's an aroma, much classier than a smell. It is sweet, but not too sweet; doughy but not yeasty; buttery but not like a bad diner. You follow your nose, not able to concentrate until you find the source of this intoxicating aroma. You look left and see a bunch of tourists taking photos, right and see a swanky eatery whose prix-fix menu is more than your weekly salary, and finally you look straight ahead and the crowd parts to expose a street vendor peddling his delicious wares. You are mesmerized, you walk zombie like up to the man and ask in your broken high-school French: "Qu'est-ce que c'est? (What is that?)".  "Why a crepe my dear!" the kind man reply's, "would you like one?"  You ponder the list of possible filling he presents you with: butter/lemon/sugar, banana, nutella, whipped cream, preserves, ham & brie, the options continue...  You decide on a simple, decidedly French filling of butter/lemon/sugar, as they say "when in Rome."  As you continue your stroll, ignoring the hoards of people, the endless loop of cars and even the magnificent Arc De Triomphe, you realize the magic that can be brought forth with a bit of flour, sugar, butter, eggs and water.

Today ladies and gentlemen, we will attempt to bring this little bit of heavenly French cuisine stateside.  Please note that these crepes were not created by professionals and are smaller and thicker than their French counterparts.  If you'd like to bring a true little bit of France to your party, please contact a professional (I can gladly offer recommendations).
Crepes (serves 2 as a meal or 4 as a snack)

2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 cup flour (I only had whole wheat, but I recommend you use all purpose)
3 tablespoons melted butter
Butter, for coating the pan

Savory Variation:
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs

Sweet Variation:
2 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp of your favorite liqueur (can be omitted)

Let's get crackin':
Begin by setting aside all your ingredients for a Très français mise-en-place.
Since you want smooth, not lumpy crepes, I recommend sifting your flour.  I find this cheap plastic lever sifter by Kaiser Bakeware to do the trick quite nicely.
Once you have assembled your brigade, dump everything in to your handy blender and let it spin for 10 seconds.
Now, the key to nice smooth crepes is the rest, this allows all the air bubbles introduced by blending to dissipate.  So chill your blended mixture for at least 1 hour, up to 48 hours, in the fridge.
Once your batter has rested, it's time to get to cooking.  Heat a small non-stick skillet on medium heat.  Once hot, add butter to coat the pan and drop in 1/8 cup (1 oz) of the batter directly in the center of your pan.  Working quickly, take the pan by the handle and lift and swirl it until the batter for a thin coating over the entire surface.  Continue cooking for 30 seconds then flip carefully.  Cook an additional 30 seconds on side 2.
Continue making crepes until you run out of batter (about 20 crepes).  If you aren't serving crepes right away, stash them in a very low oven for up to 30 minutes.  Or, stack them (separating each layer with wax paper) and freeze for up to a month.
To enjoy your crepes, fill them with a filling of your choice.  Since we are sugar crazy, Naris and I went with a banana/Nutella and strawberry/Nutella combo choice, but your options are truly endless.

The Verdict:

Jesse:  I love crepes, they are delicious, versatile and plentiful.  Although it's hard to achieve the paper thin results of a professional at home, you can still create some fancy eats from the comfort of your own kitchen. And for ingredients costing less than $1.50!!

Home cooking: 7, Restaurants: 2

Naris:  I liked this, but again Jesse bought whole wheat flour and I didn't like it's grittiness or the way it didn't spread right in the pan.  Next time, we're getting regular flour!

Home cooking: 8, Restaurants: 1

Until we cook again,

Cost Breakdown:

Unfortunately, my purse was stolen the week we made this and it had the receipts for this meal's ingredients, but I will try to remember most of it off the top of my head so here is the estimate.
-Flour - $3.99/5 lb, apx. ~$0.25
-Eggs - ~$0.63
-Milk - ~$0.50
-Butter - $0.10
TOTAL: $1.48

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