A crêpe is a French pancake that is characterized by how thin and melt-in-your-mouth it is. Pancakes are found in every culture on the planet but usually they ae thick. Crêpes distinguish themselves by being very thin.
The origins of crêpe can be traced back to Brittany in France where they were originally made from buckwheat flour that was endemic to the region. The first recorded history of crêpes dates back to the year 472 when they were offered to French Catholic pilgrims visiting Rome for Candlemas by Pope Gelasio I. The biggest difference between a crêpe and a pancake is the crêpe s do not have a leavening agent like yeast, hence they are non-puffy and very thin.
It does take some elementary skill to pour a crêpe. The magic is in getting the batter to the right consistency. The trick is quickness, pour the thin batter and twist the pan to evenly spread the batter across the pan. It takes practice, maybe 2-3 misshapen crêpes to get it right but once you master the technique it is simple.
These crêpe s are spectacular. They serve as a sweet for either breakfast or I would even serve them for dinner. The soft pancakes are lightly sweetened, but the filling of pistachio nuts scented with orange blossom water and a light drizzle of honey makes them decadent. The original recipe calls for sugar syrup, but I prefer the nuances of honey for this dish.
The Lebanese Cookbook is a massive volume, with 500 recipes, by an authority on Lebanese cooking. This book is the definitive guide on Lebanese Cuisine by James Beard award-winning author Salma Hage. That brings together hundreds of diverse dishes, from light, tempting mezze and salads, to hearty main courses, grilled meats, sumptuous sweets, and refreshing drinks. Salma Hage is from Mazarat Tiffah in the mountains of the Kadisha Valley in north Lebanon. She has over 50 years of experience in family cooking – learning to cook from her mother, mother-in-law, and sisters-in-law while helping to raise her nine brothers and two sisters. This massive volume is a collection of her work and a lovely book to have on your shelf.
For more recipes from this cookbook, click here.
For the crepes:
1 1/2 cups milk
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons superfine sugar
Butter, to grease the pan
For the syrup:
1 1/3 cups superfine sugar
1 cup water
For the filling:
1 cup shelled pistachios
2 tablespoons superfine sugar
2 tablespoons orange blossom water
Mix all the ingredients for the crepes and whip well with a whisk so that the batter is very smooth. Allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
To make the syrup,
Mix the water and sugar in a small pot and bring to a boil. Boil without stirring till the liquid is thick and sticky, about 15-20 minutes. Remove and cool.
To make the pistachio filling, add the pistachio nuts to a small blender and blitz for 2-3 seconds till it is crumbly with large chunks. Do not blitz to a fine powder. Mix the pistachios with the sugar and orange blossom water in a bowl. Set aside.
Heat a non-stick frying pan with a small dab of butter to make the crepes. Add a small ladle of the batter and quickly twist the pan around to make a thin crepe allow to cook for 1 minute till browned and flip. Cook for another 45 seconds. Remove and make another crepe till the batter is over.
To the cremes, add 2 teaspoons of the pistachio mix to the inner surface in a line. Roll into small circles and nestle next to each other. When completed, drizzle all of them with sugar syrup or honey. Serve immediately while still warm with yoghurt on the side.