Crêpes, a staple of French cuisine, have a long and fascinating history that spans centuries. The process of making crêpes involves a range of techniques, tools, and ingredients that are unique to different regions of France. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced chef, it's important to understand the various terms and concepts used in crêpe-making to achieve the perfect crêpe.
Chandeleur or Candlemas, celebrated on February 2nd, is an annual tradition where crêpes are made and enjoyed with friends and family. The perfect sweet crêpe batter is made using Froment (Soft wheat) flour T-45 or T55. Buckwheat galette, made with buckwheat flour, coarse salt, and water, is a popular crêpe option in Upper Brittany.
The crêpe maker, also known as the galettoire, is a large circular plate made of sheet metal or thick cast iron. In order to prevent the batter from sticking, it is necessary to regularly grease the plate using a mixture of lard and egg yolks known as lardiguel.
In the jargon of crêpes, the last pancake made with leftover batter is called the galichon or krazenn, and it is often smaller than the others.
The crêpe spatula, also known as the spanel or bat, is used to flip and remove the crêpes from the plate, while the wooden rake or rozell is used to spread the batter evenly.
To stack crêpes and keep them warm, a kras or rounded wooden frame covered with a tea towel is used.
The wiping pads for plates, known as Gnon or greaser, are used to clean and lubricate the plates, and come with a reversible, heat-resistant felt that absorbs oil.
By understanding the traditional techniques and tools used in crêpe-making, you can create the perfect crêpe with the desired texture, flavor, and appearance. With the right ingredients and equipment, you can master the art of crêpe-making and delight your friends and family with this delicious and versatile dish.
Sources & References:
- "Crêpes", Larousse Gastronomique, First American Edition (New York: Clarkson Potter, 2001), 273-274.
- Régis Marcon, "Crêpes and Galettes", Grand Livre de Cuisine: Alain Ducasse's Desserts and Pastries, First American Edition (New York: Sterling Epicure, 2012), 34-41.
- "Crêpes: A Classic French Recipe", Saveur, accessed April 21, 2023, https://www.saveur.com/classic-french-crepes-recipe/.
- "The Art of Making Crêpes", Serious Eats, accessed April 21, 2023, https://www.seriouseats.com/the-art-of-making-crepes-264611.