2 weeks ago, I was in the heart of Paris. Yes right in the heart of the French capital. Crowded; sophisticated; yet elegant Paris.
On arrival to Montmartre, I was really getting very excited to try French food. A line of street cafes in Montmartre were full of people in chocolate euphoria, sinning on crêpes, leaving chocolate prints all over their mouths, cheeks, and…arses.
My first genuine French crêpe was in Versailles Markets. Consumed in as little as One, two, three seconds.
Few days later, I am back to North Sydney General Market. After having a heavenly Shakshouka for breakfast and Falafel for lunch; signing off the day with a chocolate crêpe was the least I could do to energise my dead legs and craving heart. The French stall was selling sweet and savoury crêpes for as little as $8.00, depending on how difficult you are.
Crêpes were often mistaken as pancakes and finally are on the rise in Sydney, Thanks to Four Frogs crêperie in Mosman, where crêpes starts at $6.00.
Crêpes were first perfected in France’s Brittany region. In the early days of the crêpe, white flour was an expensive product, reserved only for royalty. As farmers became wealthier, they began to enjoy sweet white flour crêpes as an after-dinner treat or with coffee for breakfast.
In 1895, Henri Charpentier, a young man from the South of France, went to Monaco to work for the Café de Paris with his uncle, chef Escoffier. One evening, the Prince of Wales requested a crêpe for dessert. Henri prepared a crêpe with an orange sauce flambé. He named it “Suzette” in honor of the beautiful young lady who accompanied the Prince. The Crêpe Suzette became the most celebrated French dessert ever since.
The Catholic holiday of Candlemas, on 2 February, is a feast to commemorate the purification of the Virgin Mary and the presentation of baby Jesus. In France, this holiday is called la Chandeleur, or jour des crêpes.
Not only do the French eat a lot of crêpes on Chandeleur, but they also do a bit of fortune telling while making them. It is traditional to hold a coin in your writing hand and a crêpe pan in the other, and flip the crêpe into the air. If you manage to catch the crêpe in the pan, your family will be prosperous for the rest of the year.
Just in case you have financial issues…
To make crêpes at home:
Sift 1 cup of plain flour into a bowl. Whisk 2 cups of milk and 3 eggs together in a jug. Add milk mixture to flour. Whisk until well combined.
Spray a medium, non-stick frying pan with oil or butter on medium heat. Pour 2 1/2 tablespoons batter into pan. Swirl to cover base. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until light golden. Flip to the other side and cook for 1 minute. Transfer to a plate.
If you like it sweet, you can fill it with:
– Caster sugar, and add a little squeeze of orange or lemon juice on top or
– Nutella and banana (+ whip cream) if you are going through a midlife crisis.
If you like it savoury, you can fill it with:
– Ham and cheese (boring)
– Feta and spinaches
Voilà ! Bon Appétit