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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Notes from the kitchen: crepes redux

I didn't do much cooking this summer. (Summer? What summer?) Anyhow, maybe it's the Julia thing, but I've made a few things worth noting. I started to describe them in one long post, but it began to look a little daunting, so I've decided to break it up. Blog readers are said to have short attention spans.

This morning, crepes. I've written about those before, but A NYT article opened my eyes to an entirely new technique. Before: scrounge around for the recipe, then put the stuff in the blender. Then wait the requisite half hour for the flour to "rest". Now: no recipe, no blender, no resting. Just whisk an egg or two (one egg is fine for one person) in a small bowl, then whisk in flour to make a smooth paste - about 1/2 cup is about right per egg. Half can be whole wheat for a nice nutty version. But no need to measure. Now the flavorings: a pinch of salt, and, for a sweet versioin, a teaspoon or so of sugar and a little vanilla. Now thin it out with milk til it's a perfectly smooth thin batter. I didn't even have any milk so I used a little cream to get it started, then finished with water (!!!).

Now, to cook:. Get your crepe pan (I used my official French iron one) hot, and add a knob of butter. Swirl it around for a second, then dump the blob INTO THE BATTER, and stir it in. You have now buttered your pan AND added melted butter to the batter in one fell swoop. Make crepes as usual, using the additional hint (apparently from Jacques Pepin) of putting the blob of batter in the pan at 4 o'clock rather than in the middle. A commenter also brought up Julia's 2-pan technique: when you are ready to turn the first one, turn it over into a second DIFFERENT pan on an adjacent burner (I used my omelet pan), so that you can immediately start another one in the crepe pan. Fast fast fast!

I've been making crepes for nearly 50 years, but this is the best technique yet.

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