So Mardi Gras is upon us this week. You guys call it Fat Tuesday and it’s the day before Ash Wednesday. If I remember my catechism from way way back I think it’s the last day before Lent starts and therefore you can fatten up a bit and have a feast before the famine! (do feel free to correct me!).
In France Mardi Gras is also called Chandeleur. It’s a mini carnival day and I remember getting to dress up on the day at school and parading around the neighborhood! Those were the days!
Best crêpes and galettes in France are to be found in Brittany. They are the uncontested Kings of the Crêpe. Around the Montparnasse district in Paris, you will find many Crêperies as the trains from Brittany go from the Montparnasse train station.
I remember being in our small kitchen up on the 11th floor of a tower block in Paris and my mum making the crepes for my brother and I. She used to do the tradition she had learnt from her granny for the very first crepe of the night. Hold a coin in your hand and flip the crepe up in the air with your other hand. If you catch it in the pan then your family will have no further money troubles for the next year. Maybe I should try doing that myself 🙂
I’m going to give you 3 batter recipes: 1 for crêpes, 1 for galettes and 1 for pancakes.
What’s the difference you ask?
The ingredients are pretty similar, but crêpe batter is thinner, more liquid. Pancakes once cooked are quite thick and very “cakey” in their consistency. The crêpe is lighter and I think tastier. My little French heart is firmly on the side of crêpes over pancakes but I thought I’d try and cater for all!
Traditionally you use crêpes for sweet toppings and galettes is for savoury ones. Galettes are made with buckwheat flour. A wee bit coarser but utterly delicious too.
I’m using beer here if you like it a bit lighter, otherwise just use milk instead of beer. You can add a spoonful of rum to the milk!
250 g of plain flour, 3 eggs, 1 table spoon of vanilla sugar (plain sugar is fine), 500 ml of lager, 20 g of unsalted butter and a pinch of salt.
Melt the butter (don’t let it brown) and reserve in a bowl. Put your flour in a large bowl and slowly add some of the beer. Add the beaten eggs, sugar and salt. Mix until you have an even consistency. Add the rest of the beer and beat it for a few minutes. Finally add the melted butter and let the batter rest at room temperature for at least a good hour before making your pancakes.
I recommend using a non stick pan on medium heat for the pancakes. Dab a bit of kitchen paper in oil and rub it on the pan between every 2nd crêpe.
Because I’ve never made pancakes I’m simply going to link you to a decent looking pancakes recipe!
So here it is http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/3374/perfect-pancakes
330 g of buckwheat flour, 75 cl of water, 2 tea spoon of salt, 1 egg, some unsalted butter
In a bowl place your flour and make a well in the middle. Add the salt. Add the water bit by bit and keep mixing. You should have a batter thick but fluid. Add the egg and mix well. Cover the batter and keep it in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
I recommend using a non stick pan on medium heat for the pancakes. Dab a bit of kitchen paper in oil and rub it on the pan between every 2nd galette.
I asked around for people’s favourite toppings and I will just lay them down and not judge (I’m totalling judging!)
- Pesto, ham and cheese
- caramelised onions, swiss cheese and spinach
- cheese and tobasco sauce
- spinach cheese, lots of black pepper and creme fraiche
- Spinach, blue cheese and mushrooms
- taco chilli and cheese
- garlic fries (I’m still not sure they weren’t joking!)
- bacon and maple syrup
- goats cheese, spinach and roasted peppers
- feta and tomatoes
- creme fraiche, smoke salmon, cracked black pepper and chives (my favourite)
- andouille (it’s a french sausage)
- But no seriously
- Nutella and bananas
- Nutella, bananas and coconut flakes
- Nutella and coconut flakes
- Nutella and raspberries
- Sugar (my favourite)
- Lemon and sugar
- Creme de marron
Also we need a special mention for this “meal on a pancake” from Romania. It looks amazing. Thank you @brandalisms it looks amazing!
Et voila! I look forward to reading all about your Mardi Gras!