Sunday, January 29, 2012

Grandma D's Thin Pancakes (Danish Crepes)

Growing up, my Grandma watched us while my parents worked.  For lunch she'd often make "thin pancakes" or Danish Crepes as you probably know them as.  This was a special treat, that all of us loved.  I don't think she actually cared for them that much, but it was an easy thing to whip up with only a few ingredients to feed three hungry kids.

1 cup flour
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
small amount of oil

Non-stick frying pan
basting brush
hand mixer
bowl with pour spout
clean kitchen towel

Grandma would always mix the ingredients in a large measuring cup, so I've done the same. She would use a hand mixer to make sure she didn't have any lumps.  I don't have a hand mixer, so I used a fork...and had lumps in my batter.   After you mix it, you want to let it sit for about 20 minutes, this makes it more manageable when you're cooking, but if you don't have time, that's fine too. 

Warm up your non-stick pan on medium heat.  When I say non-stick, I mean it.  If these pancakes stick at all, you are screwed.  Fortunately, I have brand new Paula Dean pans that my mom got me for Christmas :). 

Use a pastry or basting brush (a non melting one is preferred) to dip in your oil.   I used coconut oil, but you can use whatever you like.  Grandma used vegetable oil, I'm pretty certain.  This should just lightly coat the pan.  If you use too much, you're going to end up deep frying .... which might be delicious... but not what we're going for here. 

You will want to lift the pan and pour the batter in at an angle, then swirl the pan so the batter spreads out into a large circle.  It should be as thin as you can get it, while filling the whole pan.  I still haven't mastered the pouring into pan method, and sometimes get misshapen crepes.  (Thank you Leah Hrubes for the spoon holder featured to the right of the pan, I use it every day).  Once the pancake starts curling at the edges, the pancake is ready to be flipped.  I used a spatula at first, but then got a little cocky and started flipping it in the pan without.  Then I messed one up and reverted back to the spatula.  Do whatever you are comfortable with.  Transfer the warm pancake to a plate and cover with a clean towel.  When I was little my sister and I use to fight over who got to flip the towel for Grandma.  I believe it was very common to hear a whimper/whine "I want to flip the towel!" in that house for quite a few years.  Continue coating the pan with oil between pancakes, just a bit, to ensure it won't stick, you don't really want to be browning, just cooking. 

Please pardon my dirty stove.  This pancake is ready to flip.  See how the edges are curling?  This one was a bit thicker in the middle than it should have been, and notice my flour lumps.  Ah well, it tasted delicious.

Now, we will need to top our pancakes.  Grandma D's classic topping was cool whip and homemade jam.  My favorite was strawberry or strawberry rhubarb.  Since I didn't do any canning last summer, and didn't mooch any jam, I don't have any.  Fortunately I did pick some black  raspberries (for free), which I froze.  I tossed them in my warm pan with a bit of water and some sugar to create a jam like topping, once I added them to my crepe I added some cool whip. 

Then you want to roll them up, and cut them in half.  I like to eat them with my hands.
If you don't have cool whip and homemade jam either, these can also be served with (my little bro's favorite) syrup  and butter.  You can use them as a vehicle for scrambled eggs, or any sort of savory item as well, just omit the vanilla. 

My sister likes to put peaches and syrup in hers, and said she will make a batch up for the week to have a handy breakfast, or take some to work... or on a road trip, or make them when she's on a tight budget and needs cheap food.

 While I have never done it, you can freeze them to use at a future date.  Just be sure to put wax paper in-between pancakes or you won't be able to separate them.  I probably would do this, but they don't seem to last that long :).

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