07 February 2008

Pancake Tuesday

Outside of New Orleans, I don't think many Americans do much to celebrate Fat Tuesday (although I wouldn't really know much about it, not being Catholic, but this is my impression) but this year my friend K* invited us to a pancake party. Her family keeps up a lot of Polish traditions and eating pancakes on Fat Tuesday is a tradition there (and apparently in Britain as well) and since it was Super Tuesday as well, she decided to have a party. The pancakes we had aren't the fluffy kind you eat for breakfast, but rather a variety of crepe.

Crepes are not exactly party food, the problem being that you are tied to the stove as you cook them one by one, but if you have a bigger kitchen, and someone can can keep you company and refill your wineglass as you cook, then it's not so bad. The batter takes about 2 minutes to make, and each crepe about another minute in the pan than off it goes onto someone's plate for a topping of Nutella, berries, golden syrup, butter, sugar, honey, whipped cream, jam or any combination of the above.

French purists might blanch at the recipe below, as it calls for gasp! an egg and milk, which are not all that traditional. It's actually Zach's recipe, one that he developed when he was studying in Hungary and didn't have much time or money to spend on food. Give it a try- crepes make a nice change from pancakes for breakfast or even dinner. You could put a bit of shredded cheese and ham in to make them savory, or even crack an egg onto the finished crepe and let it cook in the pan (I have never had much luck with this last one, but you might).

Oh- I should note- Zach says the first crepe out of the pan is always a mess... I have heard some people says it's the one for the dog, to keep him happy while you are eating dinner later.

Hungarian Style Crepes

1 C. Flour
1 C. Milk
1 egg
a little butter for cooking
tasty toppings

- Mix ingredients well in large mixing bowl. The batter should be rather runny- thick enough to coat a spoon but nearly as thin as water. You may need to add a few tablespoons of water, depending on your flour and how dry the air is.

- Heat a 10-12 in. non-stick skillet over medium high heat. When the skillet is hot, put a little butter on a paper towel and wipe it over the entire bottom of the skillet.

- Using a 1/2 C. measure, scoop up some batter with your right hand. Lift the skillet (obviously by grasping the handle, using a pot holder if needed) with your left hand. Pour the batter into the pan while moving it in a tilt-a-whirl motion to get the batter all around the pan.

- Place the pan back on the stove and cook until the crepe looks a bit bubbly and the bottom in brown. Use a spatula to loosen the edges and then flip the crepe over. Cook for an additional 30 seconds.

- Slide the crepe onto a plate, add some toppings and eat.

Note: If you can seem to get the batter to cover the whole pan you have two option: either use a bit more batter or, if the crepe seems a bit thick, add a bit more water to the batter to thin it out.