eat in my kitchen

To cook, to bake, to eat and to treat.

Tag: pancakes

New Year’s Eve dessert testing and a heavenly favourite: Crêpes Suzette

Crêpes Suzette

After three days of cooking, feasting and chilling I could easily continue this life: just sitting under our Christmas tree, listening to Christmas carols, baking more cookies once in a while and pulling a roast duck or wild boar stew out of my oven. I know some people are happy when the craziness is over but I’m not one of them. I indulge in this tradition and I never want to let go of it again. Luckily, the next event is right ahead and with it, a few choices to be made. Apart from the main course, which we haven’t really decided yet but it looks like it’s going to be seafood, there’s another important dish waiting to be put on the menu: our dessert.

One of my all time favourites is Tiramisu, I simply love it! It offers sponge soaked with coffee and brandy, creamy mascarpone and a hint of chocolate – it’s perfect. Lemon Meringue Pie is another promising candidate, packed with citrus juices on a buttery short crust base – delicious! Affogato would be the quickest and easiest solution, a spoonful of vanilla ice cream dropped into hot espresso. A Tarte Tatin, made with pear and star anise instead of apples, is quite a stunner. Although we already have a lemon dessert in this list, I can’t stop myself from adding another one, Maltese Ricotta Pie with Lemon Syrup and Pistachios, a recipe by my friend Essa. It’s so unbelievably scrumptious that I dreamt of it after I tried it the first time. I made it twice this summer while I was in Malta, it’s just too good. I could also make my bittersweet Chocolate Tart with Whipped Cardamom Cream – just leave the cherries out or add a few orange slices instead. Before I include all the cakes and desserts I ever shared on eat in my kitchen, I’ll stop for now and tell you what we will have: Crêpes Suzette! A bottle of Grand Marnier caught my attention and sparked the idea to stick to this sweet French classic to end this exciting year. I tested my recipe to avoid disappointment on this special night but it wasn’t even necessary: The thin crêpes were golden and soft, the syrupy sauce full of orange flavour enhanced by a tasty amount of butter. And it’s also quite spectacular as you can flambée it. We ate it straight out of the pan and wondered why we don’t make this sweet dish more often. (That will change from now on!)

Crêpes Suzette

 

Crêpes Suzette

Crêpes Suzette

For 4 people (makes 8-10 crêpes)

For the crêpes

plain flour, sifted, 130g / 1 cup
granulated sugar 25g / 2 tablespoons
salt 1/8 teaspoon
organic eggs 2
milk 240ml / 1 cup
butter, to bake the crêpes

For the orange sauce

organic orange, rinsed, 1
granulated sugar 60g / 1/3 cup
freshly squeezed orange juice 120ml / 1/2 cup
Grand Marnier 60ml  / 1/4 cup
butter 60g / 1/4 cup
vodka or brandy, to flambée the crêpes (optional)

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, whisk together the ingredients for the crêpes and mix until smooth. Let the batter sit for about 10 minutes.

In a large, heavy or non-stick pan, melt half a teaspoon of butter on medium-high heat. Pour in a ladle of the dough, holding the pan in your hand and turning it so that the dough spreads evenly and very thinly. The crêpes won’t need more than 30-60 seconds on each side once the heat is set right. When the crêpe is slightly golden on both sides, transfer to a plate, fold it in half twice so that it forms a triangle and set aside. Continue with the remaining batter until you have 8-10 crêpes. You should always melt 1/2 -1 teaspoon of butter in the pan before you bake the next crêpe.

Grate the orange and set the zest aside. To cut the orange into segments, cut off the white pith. Hold the orange in 1 hand and use a small, sharp knife to cut between the membranes and release the segments, set them aside.

For the orange sauce, melt the sugar in a large, deep, heavy pan over high heat. When the sugar is golden brown and caramelized, slowly add the orange juice, Grand Marnier, and 3/4 of the orange zest and turn down the heat to medium-low. Stir and let the caramel melt completely, this will take a couple minutes, then add the butter and let it melt. When the butter is melted, bring to the boil then take off the heat immediately. Add one crêpe after the other to the pan, turning it in the juices and stack them on one side of the pan. Once all the crêpes are in the pan, spread them evenly, garnish with the orange slices and sprinkle with the remaining orange zest.

Optional: Add a generous splash of vodka or brandy to a small saucepan, light it up in the pan and pour it slowly over the hot crêpes, serve immediately.

Crêpes Suzette

 

crepessuzette8

Buckwheat Dutch Baby with White Chocolate, Blueberries and Hazelnuts

buckwheatdutchbaby1

I ate my first Dutch Baby in Marta Greber’s kitchen, the cook and baker behind the beautiful blog What Should I Eat For Breakfast Today?We met last October for one of my meet in your kitchen features, I was curious about this woman who is known to be so passionate about the first meal of the day. When Marta told me that she’d like to make a Dutch Baby for me I had to ask her for further information, unfortunately I had no idea what to expect on my plate.

To clear the picture for everyone else who feels as clueless as I did then: a Dutch Baby is a pancake baked in the oven in a heavy cast iron skillet. It rises a bit like a soufflé with a buttery crust on the outside. It’s a very simple yet very delicious way to start the day! Marta mastered this dish to perfection, you can find her recipe here in the kitchen feature with her. I didn’t want to change her basic formula too much. There are variations on this dish with a thiner result but I particularly liked the richness she created. Her recipe uses more flour than the ones that end up with a paper thin bottom, her Dutch Baby is a proper breakfast and not an airy dessert. I wanted to keep that but there is always room to evolve a recipe, to change it in order to give it a new direction. My new direction is called buckwheat!

buckwheatdutchbaby2

Inspired by my hazelnut cake made with this tasty flour which found its way onto the blog only a few weeks before I met Marta, I have been wanting to combine these two creations for months: a hearty buckwheat Dutch Baby refined with cinnamon to underline its nutty flavour. The right cast iron skillet was missing in my kitchen which isn’t obligatory for this recipe but I’ve been longing for this heavy pan from Tennessee for years and I didn’t want to start this project without this exact kitchen tool (I know, I sound a bit like a child). Thanks to our family, to lovely Ana and Chris in Florida, my cooking equipment has a few new additions: not only one skillet but three plus a casserole dish, it felt like Christmas when the box arrived. My first Dutch Baby is dedicated to these two wonderful people on the other side of the Atlantic, thank you so much for this kitchen gift!

When I finally got started, it took three attempts to learn that you can’t expect the same results from buckwheat batter compared to the ones made with lighter wheat or white spelt, it’s just not as airy. Buckwheat is simply too heavy to let the pancake rise and bubble like a perfect soufflé, as long as you’re not after after a crêpe-thin Dutch Baby which I wasn’t. I wanted Marta’s thick German pancake texture combined with the buckwheat’s distinct taste. So, using only buckwheat was out of the question, it’s impossible. For my first batch I used more or less Marta’s recipe replacing half the flour with buckwheat. It created a pancake with a certain density that I wanted to lighten up a little. The second batch made with 1/3 less buckwheat flour tasted perfect but I still wanted a different texture and look. The third and final recipe is made with an additional egg and the same amount of the two different flours, and this time I was finally happy. Don’t expect a feather-light soufflé but a cosy, nutty, cinnamony warm breakfast treat, slightly cakey, with sweet and creamy white chocolate melted on top. The addition of chopped hazelnuts and fresh blueberries made this comforting morning treat complete!

So where does the name come from? It’s another one of these sweet fairy tales. The dish is derived from the German pancake, the word Dutch is a corruption of the word Deutsch, meaning German. A restaurant owner called Victor Manca is supposed to be the person who made the first Dutch Baby in the early 1900 in Seattle, Washington. At least he owned the trade mark. Legend has it that one of his daughters chose the name, referring to the German-American immigrants, the Pennsylvania-Dutch.

buckwheatdutchbaby3

Buckwheat Dutch Baby with White Chocolate, Blueberries and Hazelnuts

For a 25cm / 10″ cast iron skillet or heavy baking dish you need

butter 80g / 2 3/4 ounces, to bake the pancake
plain flour 60g / 2 ounces
buckwheat flour 60g / 2 ounces
sugar 2 tablespoons
salt 1/2 teaspoon
ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon
organic eggs 3
milk 125ml / 4 1/2 ounces
quality white chocolate, grated, 60g / 2 ounces, for the topping
blueberries 125g / 4 1/2 ounces, for the topping
hazelnuts, chopped, 20g / 3/4 ounce, for the topping

Set the oven to 230°C / 450°F (top/ bottom heat).

Place the skillet or baking dish with the butter in the oven. Let the butter melt and sizzle slightly (it should be hot but not brown). Combine the flour, buckwheat, sugar, salt and cinnamon in a bowl, add the milk and eggs and whisk for about a minute until combined. When the butter is melted, gently pour the dough into the middle of the pan and bake in the oven for about 10-12 minutes or until golden.

When the Dutch Baby is done, take the pan out of the oven and carefully pour out the excess butter. Sprinkle the surface with the chocolate immediately. Lay the blueberries and hazelnuts on top and enjoy warm!

buckwheatdutchbaby4

 

buckwheatdutchbaby6

 

Buckwheat Dutch Baby

Breakfast Crêpes with sweet Sour Cream

Crêpes

This is one of the best things you can do with a golden crêpes, fill it with sweet whipped sour cream! The cream is so simple that whenever I make it for my friends, no one manages to guess what’s in it. It’s definitely not much, just sour cream whipped with icing sugar but for whatever reason, it creates a unique taste between sweet and sour which is far more fine than you would imagine.

I learned about this recipe from my stepfather who lived in Paris for a few years. Uli adores this country, the food and lifestyle and he praises its cuisine almost as much as the one he grew up with, the traditional Swabian cooking. He’s a true gourmet, one of the most joyful and critical I know who loves his food and wine with such passion that he celebrates every meal. A dinner with him is a feast and even the smallest nibble for lunch turns into a special treat. It’s the way he talks about it, how he appreciates every bite, that it becomes more than just food, it’s a celebration of life. Uli brought a huge French influence into my family’s cooking, yesterday’s Coq au Vin, my Daube de Boef Provençale, the creamy Vichyssoise or my mother’s Tarte Tatin, I’m sure I would have cooked these recipes at one point in my life anyway, but his notes and comments to the recipes, his authentic knowledge and the stories about his life in France which he has told us since we were children turn these dishes into something very special (and delicious!). I still call him when my cooking turns French for some tips and advice.

I remember that we often used to make these crêpes as a spontaneous dessert after a long dinner when we all didn’t feel like finishing our gathering at table but rather listening to more stories while eating these wonderfully luscious crêpe rolls. Uli always used to remind us in the kitchen that we have to make them thinner, like in France! Today, I love to make them for a late breakfast on the weekend, with a Café au Lait at hand and some Jacques Brel in the background. Although he was Belgian he’s still one of my favourite singers when it comes to French chansons! He makes me feel like I’m in Paris!

Crêpes

 

Crêpes

 Crêpes with sweet Sour Cream 

For about 20 crêpes (for 4-6 people) you need

plain flour, sieved, 250g / 9 ounces
sugar 50g / 2 ounces
a pinch of salt
organic eggs 4
milk 1/2l / 2 cups
butter, to fry the crêpes

For the sweet cream
sour cream 400g / 14 ounces
icing sugar 6 tablespoons plus more to taste

Whisk the sour cream and icing sugar to a light and fluffy cream and sweeten to taste.

Mix the ingredients for the crêpes to a smooth dough (with an electric mixer) and let it sit for 15 minutes.

In a non-stick pan, heat a teaspoon of butter. Pour in a ladle of the dough, holding the pan in your hand and turning it so that the dough spreads evenly and very thinly. The temperature should be on medium-high as the crêpes won’t need more than 1 minute on each side once the heat is set right. I always use the first two crêpes to find the right setting. When the crêpe is golden on both sides, fold it twice and keep it warm in the oven at 80°C / 175°F. Always heat a teaspoon of butter before you add new dough to the pan. When the last batch is done serve with the sweet sour cream.

Crêpes

 

Crêpes

 

Crêpes

Baked Crespelle with Spinach, Béchamel and Parmesan

Spinach Crespelle

Spinach combined with a creamy sauce, be it Béchamel, ricotta or a blue cheese sauce is a delicious filling for any kind of pasta. This combination doesn’t need a lot of additional spices besides salt, pepper and nutmeg. It’s one of those things that’s best kept simple. I love it in cannelloni or lasagna but I’m extremely fond of it in crespelle, thin Italian pancakes, wrapped around a tasty filling. You could also use a sauce Bolognese but that wouldn’t give the crespelle much space. Keep it pure and you can enjoy the eggy wrap complemented with a mild filling.

When I’m in Italy I have this meal with tomato sauce poured on top, it looks like the Italian flag, green, white and red. The man of the house asked for the green and white version, just some parmesan grated on top of the rolled crespelle before they bake in the oven for 15 minutes. They turn golden, partially crisp but the spinach and Béchamel mixture keeps it moist and juicy inside. You could also replace the spinach with chard, I do that sometimes, it’s similar to my Chard and Ricotta Lasagna.

Spinach Crespelle

Baked Crespelle with Spinach, Béchamel and Parmesan

For 4 filled crespelle you need

spinach, rinsed, without stems, 350g / 12.5 ounces
fresh parmesan, grated, 80g / 3 ounces

Cook the spinach in salted water for 1-2 minutes (the thick leaved spinach needs 2 minutes), rinse with cold water for a couple seconds and drain. Chopped roughly, season it with salt, pepper and nutmeg and set aside.

 

For the Sauce Béchamel

milk 600ml
butter, melted, 30g / 1 ounce
plain flour 30g / 1 ounce
bay leaf 1
a pinch of nutmeg, grated
salt and pepper

Mix the milk with the nutmeg, salt and pepper. Whisk the flour into the hot butter. Bring the milk to the boil and whisk into the roux. Continue mixing until smooth. Add the bay leaf and cook for around 5 minutes on low heat until the texture is thick and smooth. Take the bay leaf out and season with salt and pepper.

 

For the crespelle

milk 160ml
organic eggs 2
plain flour 130g / 4.5 ounces
salt 1/4 teaspoon
butter for frying

Mix the ingredients well and let the dough rest for 5 minutes. Heat some butter in a large pan and fry 4 thin crespelle one at a time, golden on both sides.

 

The filled crespelle

Set the oven to 200°C.

Lay a crespelle flat on a plate, spread with 1/4 of the spinach and 3 tablespoons of the Béchamel on top, roll into a wrap. Continue with the rest and put them next to each other in a baking dish. Pour the rest of the sauce on top and sprinkle with parmesan (keep some cheese for the baked crespelle, I like to put some fresh cheese on when they come out of the oven). Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown. You can also switch on the grill for 1-2 minutes, that makes it partially crisp.

Spinach Crespelle

Fluffy Blueberry Pancakes with Maple Syrup and Cinnamon

Blueberry Pancakes

A couple weeks ago I wrote about French toast, my ultimate cosy weekend breakfast! I mentioned that there is one sweet treat I enjoy as much, fluffy morning pancakes! Even better, blueberry pancakes with maple syrup! The sweet berries taste divine with or without any kind of syrup but if I can choose maple is my favourite in this combination. Sometimes I replace the berries with thick slices of apple and sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top. That’s how my mother used to make them for me, or I add some chocolate spread or my blood orange marmalade, but when I saw the thick and juicy blueberries from Chile at the market my breakfast choice for this weekend was made!

When I make pancakes, I make lots of them because I can eat lots of them. I enjoy them straight out of the pan, warm and fluffy as well as in the afternoon with a cup of tea when they are already soft and cold. For my dough, I start off with 4 organic eggs, separated, the egg whites beaten till stiff with a pinch of salt. I combine 180g / 6.5 ounces of flour (I use spelt flour type 630 but you can use any other plain flour) with 2 scant teaspoons of baking powder and 1 teaspoon of sugar. I add 200 ml of milk, the egg yolks and mix everything well before I gently fold in the egg whites.

I fry the pancakes in batches, 3 at a time always adding a teaspoon of butter before I pour a ladle of my thick dough into the pan. I sprinkle the soft dough with the blueberries, pushing them in a bit so that they won’t burn when I turn the pancakes. When they are golden brown on each side, I pile them up on a plate, pour the maple syrup on top and sprinkle with cinnamon. Sometimes I even let some butter melt on their golden tops, it’s the weekend after all!

Blueberry Pancakes

 

Blueberry Pancakes

 

Blueberry Pancakes

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