Reading Jane Austen and Cooking Crepes

From 20 May, 2012

The only thing I love more than a classy night out, is an extra classy night in. Recently, I have taken the notion that being able to make a crepe, an authentic, beautiful, perfect crepe, would just about complete my culinary existence.

Up in Portland, my friends and I are quite spoiled when it comes to crepes. Suzette’s Creperie is among several darling little crepe establishments. (The Crepist is one that quite intrigues me, though having a name less romantic than “Suzette’s”). Set in an old carriage house, Suzette’s is the essence of Friday night nostalgia featuring classic movies such as Some Like it Hot and Casablanca. Decadent crepe creations rush back into my mind as I write this, and my desire to make my own crepes deepens. Suzette’s features a delicious chocolate indulgence made with nutella and strawberries that cannot be rivaled. Shamefully, my chocolate obsession has kept me from branching outside of this particular crepe, but once you find a good thing, you don’t let it go! Perhaps one day I’ll try another one.

But yesterday was the day I made my first crepe. Like an adoring parent, I loved and praised even the ugly ones as “unique, and special.” My very own, darling crepes. Here’s the recipe I drew from:

Giada De Laurentiis’ Crepes:

Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 10 cubes

Directions

In a blender, combine the eggs, milk, flour, sugar and salt. Blend until the mixture forms a smooth batter.

Heat a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Melt 1 cube of butter in the pan. Add 1/4 cup of batter and quickly tilt the pan to form an even coating of batter on the bottom of the pan. Cook for 1 minute, until set and slightly browned. Using a heat-resistant spatula, carefully loosen the sides and gently flip the crepe over. Cook for 1 minute. Repeat with the remaining batter and butter, stacking the crepes on top of each other on a plate as they are ready. You should have 8 or 9 crepes total.

A few production photos.

Now a note on “gently flipping the crepe over.” DO NOT BE FOOLED! This is a bit of a pain in the ass. First of all, I may have burned off a finger print or two, and secondly, one does not know heartbreak until he/she has seen a torn or crumbled crepe gently weeping in the center of a nonstick skillet.

But, after one or two rounds of sadness, a beautiful crepe is to be had. After my first perfect flip, I literally air guitar-ed in celebration, it was a magical moment for me.

I made several alterations to the recipe. To the batter, I added a healthy dose of cinnamon (because I adore the captivating aroma), and I made a filling of mangoes, cinnamon, and strawberry balsamic vinegar. Yes, sounds a bit strange, but trust me on this one, it was delicious. Top it with a dollop of cool whip, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and voila!

To continue my classy evening, my mother and I went for a long walk around the neighborhood with the idea of watching the sun set from atop a ridge on the far end of the community. Many hills and bug bites later, and with not so subtle encouragement stemming from my popcorn fixated mind, we turned back and settled ourselves down to continue our Jane Austen masterpiece theater film tour. Last night was part one of Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey the night before. I’ll tell you what, I simply cannot get enough of Mr. Tillney! So much so that I’ve picked up Northanger Abbey to read. I think I’ll go read some now. Happy crepe-ing!

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