Welcome to Baking the Books, where I bake things inspired by my favorite novels! Since I do a lot of reading and a lot of baking, it was only a matter of time before the two things overlapped. It's just part of my evil plot to get books involved in every single aspect of my life.
Last time on Baking the Books: Butterbeer Cupcakes
Review and Giveaway: Lola and the Boy Next Door
This week, I'm going French! I love, love, love Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (my review), a heartfelt and funny novel about an American girl going to boarding school in Gay Paree. One of the wonderful things she discovers there is that the French are rather good at this "dessert" thing. Just a little bit. She encounters pastries and macarons and... crêpes!
Now, part of me wanted to make macarons (which are NOT the things we Americans call "macaroons", all coconutty, clumpy goodness, but rather feather light meringue cookies with filling and mmmm), but those are a bit hard to pull off. So CREPES! In the book, there's a particularly important scene that takes place at a crêperie. Etienne St. Clair, aka perfect specimen of man, is down in the dumps, and Anna cheers him up by being a bit silly with her Nutella and banana crêpe.
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons melted butter
Butter or Pam (non-stick spray) for coating the pan
WHATEVER FILLING YOU LIKE! I always go for Nutella and bananas or cinnamon-sugar, but you can put any kind of jam or curd or sauce you like!
Put all the ingredients in a blender and pulse for ten seconds, or until totally smooth. We don't want floury lumps in our crêpes. Stick the batter in the fridge for about an hour (if you're REALLY in a rush, you can skip this/cut down the time, but this makes your crêpes stronger and less likely to tear, so be patient, grasshoppers). The batter will keep for a day or two.
Heat a non-stick pan, preferably a small one. Add butter to coat, or use butter- or regular-flavored Pam, like I do. Now, the only part of crêping (ew, that's a gross verb, sorry) that's at all difficult is this: the swirl. You pour a small amount into the pan...
...and immediately swirl it, like so, so that the batter spreads out on the pan and forms a thin, flat pancake:
|MORE GIF WIZARDRY|
It's not as difficult as it looks, I swear. Cook for about thirty seconds...
|See how the edges are starting to come up? That's a good sign of done-ness|
...and flip (I use my fingers, but not everyone needs to be that hardcore. A spatula does fine).
Cook for another twenty-ish seconds, or until that side is done too. Remove crêpe from pan and place either on a cutting board or a plate to cool (cutting board keeps them flat). Continue making crêpes until all the batter is gone.
Now's the fun part: FILLINGS! I like to slather mine in Nutella and sliced bananas, or sprinkle it with a cinnamon-sugar mix (I never measure mine, but I think it works out to about 1 teaspoon cinnamon for each cup of sugar?). But you can also use marmalade, jam, lemon curd, rasperry sauce, melted chocolate, nuts, ANYTHING YOU WANT. You can even turn the crêpes savory by adding some herbs or spinach or substituting buckwheat flower, then filling it with ham and cheese or eggs or smoked salmon. Crêpes are magique. They can be anything and everything.
And now I shall show you how to fold a crêpe.
It is, admittedly, not the most complex skill I have. But voila! Dust it with powdered sugar if you're feeling totally sinful, or even a dollop of whipped cream, or butterscotch sauce, like I did, that was left over from last week's Butterbeer cupcakes. The best part about making crêpes? Easy clean up! Well, no. Obviously the best part is eating them. So go ahead and eat them. Bon appetit!
If you have any ideas or suggestions about what I should make next, let me know in the comments!