Saturday, April 16, 2011

Chocolate-almond crepes

Breakfast: Chocolate-almond crepes and the good tea – thanks for the care package from the UK!

Lunch: Leftover brown rice salad

Dinner: Soba noodles stirfry

Ah, the lowly crepe. Ever since I first made these a few years ago I’ve been on a mission to come up with the most awesome fillings and make them ‘the thing’ I do best; being a one-woman crepe factory when you’ve got a houseful of partied-out friends definitely makes you popular for an hour! They’re such a treat but can be very light if done properly, and you’ll know if I like you because you’ll have had them already.

What’s the difference between a pancake and a crepe? Well, it’s all about consistency; a thicker batter will give those American-style pancakes that I’m not a huge fan of, and a thinner batter will give the gorgeous French-style crepes. I’ve still never worked out how they make the batter stay in those little cubes in the street carts in Thailand, then just melt them down and make the most amazing crepes. Perhaps I’d rather not know.

I got some almond butter yesterday and was stoked to use it in these. Almond butter is like peanut butter, but made from almonds (duh). When buying nut butter I always get the 100% nut varieties, because quite frankly, they’re just better! I try to never throw food away, and the melted chocolate here is made of some choc chips I had leftover from doing some photos for work a few weeks ago.

You’ll need:
            300ml milk
            1 large egg
            1 tbsp melted butter
            100g plain flour
            the good almond butter
            100g chocolate / chocolate chips

For the melted chocolate:
            Put a small pan containing a couple of cenitmetres of water on a medium heat
Chop the chocolate/choc chips and put them in a glass or ceramic bowl over the pan of water. The bowl you use should be bigger than the diameter of the pan, so it sits above the water by a couple of inches
As the water simmers, the steam will rise and heat the bottom of the bowl, melting the chocolate slowly
Keep stirring until the chocolate is melted perfectly, then remove it from the heat
If the chocolate starts to burn or go too gloopy, reduce the heat

For the crepes:
            Beat the egg in a jug
            Whisk the flour and milk in, a bit at a time
Add the melted butter and whisk thoroughly. It will be the right consistency when it’s thickening, but still runs off your whisk smoothly. Add more milk if it’s too thick
Put the frying pan onto a medium heat for a few minutes
            Turn up the heat under the frying pan and add a blob of butter to it
            As the butter melts, swirl it around so the whole bottom of the pan is covered
Lift the frying pan away from the heat, and pour some batter into the pan. Swirl it around the pan so the whole bottom is covered in a thin layer of batter, then put back onto the heat
Keep the frying pan moving a little; when the crepe moves freely inside the pan, and bubbles are trying to form, its time to flip
Give it about the same amount of time to cook on this side. If both sides look a very light brown, it's done
Serve up and add the next bit of batter; you should do this as soon as possible, and keep the pan hot!

While the next crepe is cooking, smooth a layer of the melted chocolate onto one half of the crepe, and a layer of almond butter onto the other.
(You’ll probably have to flip the cooking crepe now)
Fold it in half, drizzle some honey or melted chocolate over the top, with a powdering of cinnamon, and give to your eager friend!
Serve up the next one and add more batter to the pan.
Keep going in this fashion until all the batter is gone; you should get 5 or 6 crepes from this recipe, and a kitchenful of happy buddies
As with the spring rolls, you’ll find your rhythm in this after a couple of tries. If your first crepe is too thick, use less batter for the next crepe.

Remember when making these that the first one will always look crap, so chef gets to eat that one. Once the pan has been prepped by that one, they’ll be perfect.

Anyone who ever stays at my house has free rein to request these; it’s actually illegal for me to say no.

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