On weeknights when I get home from the office, I try to sneak quietly into the house and wait until Daisy realizes I am there. Then she comes charging toward me with a big smile on her face, arms open, screaming like a crazed Beatles fan.“Mamaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Daddy! Mama’s home!” This is why I am more than willing to sacrifice sleep and make pancakes for her in the morning.
It all begins with butter. You can never have too much butter. I learned this from Dad. Mom will ask him to do some grocery shopping and he always returns with at least 6 or 7 half-pounders, the good stuff. Then, he neatly arranges them in the big drawer of the fridge, like he’s packing delicate gold bricks into the big safe at the Federal Reserve. “Butter is very important,” he preaches. “It’s Vilik Mama’s legacy,” he explains.
Vilik Mama was my dad’s mom. A sweet gentle lady with wavy gray hair and sparkly blue eyes, she used to cook everything with a petite dab of butter. For years, I used to save money and buy the cheap pounders. What? Butter is butter, I thought. It all comes from cows, doesn’t it? Then came European butter. Maybe their cows are different. Maybe the farmers massage their legs or give them yummy fruit smoothies. Maybe the air and water are better overseas. Whatever the reason, the butter these cows give us tastes good and it makes anything, even ordinary eggs, taste good. It’s funny how with time you become more and more like your parents. I have taken to butter-banking just like Dad. French, American, Irish, Danish, Belgian. Come to my house – We’ve got them all. And the best thing to do with butter is to make French crêpes. My mentor? Dad, of course.
I’ll cook up any and all kinds of excuses for keeping a large inventory of butter. My husband thinks I’ve lost my marbles, but you never know who’s going to pop by the house for breakfast and the best thing to make at the last minute are French crêpes. They only sound complicated. Surprisingly simple, made from things you always have on hand: Milk, eggs, flour and butter. Every culture has their own version of these beautifully thin pancakes, but the French ones are my favourite. They are sure to make a big impression and deem yours the best house on the block.
Dreamy crêpes are very thin, buttery and lacy. Do not let them intimidate you – you can do this. The secret is a hot pan. The butter should sizzle and bubble right away. The batter can be prepared the night before. This will give the ingredients a chance to get to know each other better and give you more time in the morning. You can use a blender, if you want, but it is best to just mix everything gently by hand. Do not worry about the lumps – they will work themselves out eventually. I like to use two 8-inch nonstick pans so I get breakfast to the table faster. Also, mixing the batter by hand in a pitcher minimizes the mess with easy pouring and makes delicate pancakes.Omit the vanilla for savory fillings. Use two 8″ or one 12″ pan to save time.
(About a dozen 12-inch or 20 8-inch pancakes)
splash of vanilla
1 stick butter
Beat eggs, add milk, vanilla and salt.
Slowly incorporate flour.
Do not mix the batter too much.
Add a dab of butter to the pan and swirl
it around to coat the pan nicely.
Stream batter into the center of the pan to cover about 1/2 of the pan.
Swirl batter around in a circle to cover the bottom of the pan.
Set the pan back onto the flame and allow it to sit until the edges start to brown.
Use a silicon or wooden spatula to flip the pancake.
Cook another minute.
Fold the crêpe in half, then in half again, to form a triangle.
Transfer to a container with a lid.
Continue cooking until all of the batter is used up.
Serve with smoked salmon, cream cheese, dill, capers and lemon
or Nutella and fresh blueberries. Bon appétit!
My crêpes are available in a convenient mix, straight from my kitchen using nothing more than flour, dehydrated eggs and cream, vanilla and salt. Get yours now at Vanilla Mustache. Mix makes 10 8-inch crepes. Just add water and cook!