Sunday, April 27, 2008

Staying Thin with Beer

It's a secret most Bretons in France have kept for generations. They consume beer and they stay thin. The crêpes, I mean.

That would be the day, wouldn't it, to drink as much beer as you'd like and not get a beer belly. Especially this time of year, it's hockey season and the Montreal Canadiens have made it to the playoffs. So, most guys AND gals in Montreal are cheerfully rooting for the Habs this year rallying every week either at the Bell Center for a live game or gathering at local sports bars to watch the game on the big plasma TVs, with a jug of beer. Quite intense. Having said that, I hope I'm not jinxing their chances of winning the cup this year. Go Habs Go!

So, moving along with the recipe which, by the way, is really good. It started when I tasted these amazing crêpes made by a friend of mine who is originally from the Republic of Cameroon but whose cooking influences are mainly French. Her crêpes were spongy and buttery. She mentioned that a touch of beer in the batter can make wonders to your crêpes. My eyebrow raised. Beer? First thought that popped in my mind was, what would that taste like? She told me the beer wouldn't alter the taste, but make the crêpes fluffier. Curious, I was looking for more information on the internet and cookbooks. To me, this was newly discovered information, but apparently it was a very well known tradition with the more established cooks and the French for years. Another friend of mine who is of French and Italian descent (we're a mix of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds here in Montreal) replied with enthusiasm "Of course! Beer makes crêpes fluffier and lighter", or "plus légère" as she explained more precisely.

It made sense, the yeast in the beer causes the batter to expand and form pockets or bubbles. When the batter is cooked it "sets" and the pockets remain, giving the crêpes a soft and spongy texture. Plus, the beer creates a thinner batter.

On weekends, I like to prepare the crêpe batter the night before, let it rest overnight and make a fresh batch in the morning.

See how thin and spongy they are...mmmh
Preparation : 5 minutes (let sit 1 hour or overnight), Cooking time: 30-40 minutes (depending on how quickly you get a handle on it)

Recipe "au pif":
2 cups all purpose flour (500g)
pinch of salt
6 eggs
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp Cointreau or Rum
2 cups (roughly 1 can of beer)
2 cups milk (1%)
1 tbsp brown sugar (optional)
1/4 melted butter and oil (half and half) for cooking
Put in flour in a big mixing bowl.

Make a small well in the center and add in the oil, Cointreau/Rum, eggs and sugar (optional).

Whisk until you reach a thick paste. Gradually add in the milk and the beer and whisk until you reach a light, velvety and silky texture.

Let it sit for an hour or overnight in fridge, covered.

Whisk again to blend all ingredients into a soft and silky batter.

Heat large skillet and grease it with about 1 tsp of butter-oil mix (I like using a silicone brush to grease the pan).

Ladle the batter and pour in hot skillet, starting with the center of the skillet and swivel the pan around until the pan is evenly covered with a thin layer of batter. Cook for 30 seconds. Flip over crêpe with spatula to cook other side for 30 seconds. Slide the crêpe out of the pan onto a serving plate. Repeat until you run out of batter.
Edges are even crispy...
Makes approx. 20 crêpes.

I usually cut the recipe in half to make about 10 crêpes for breakfast in the morning for 2-3 hungry people. Takes no more than 15 minutes to cook. Enjoy with more Cointreau, sugar, whipped cream, fresh berries, or just plain!


Opinonsmatter said...

I like to entertain guests and I have to admit that I'm starting to look on these blog sites for recipe ideas. Your commentary and the way you blend in the recipes is truly entertaining. I'm going to try these today. Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

i luv crepes.

QlinArt said...

I love crepes too and make these almost every weekend. Thanks for your comments, and they're excellent guest pleasers as well. My family loves them.

SteamyKitchen said...

You and I both have crispy crepes on our minds! Lovely photos

Medena said...

I love this recipe, just saved it; will definitely try! Would love my crepes to be more crispy, and rum, oh, love rum!
Great blog!