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JULIA: What you see here is a French pancake, a light, delicate French crepe.
How to sauce them, how to serve them, how to make them, and how to flip them.
We're gonna do them today on The French Chef.
(theme song playing) Welcome to The French Chef.
I'm Julia Child.
Today we're going to do French pancakes.
In France they're called le crêpes salate, because we're going to do them for lunch and supper dishes.
Most people think of crêpes-- and I think they're usually pronounced in English as "crepes"-- as just a dessert dish, flaming like crêpes Suzette.
But in France they're used very often for lunch and supper dishes.
And you can fill them with all kinds of deliciously prepared leftovers so that they look like some elegant meal.
As a matter of fact, very often, when you go to a French restaurant and you see le crêpes farcies et roulées, or "stuffed and rolled," you think, "Oh, goodie!
And what they're doing, just like what we're doing, is using up their leftovers.
So it's very nice for the restaurant.
Now, the French pancake is a very thin thing.
It's just like an ordinary pancake batter, except it's much thinner.
And it's very delicate and nice.
And I'm gonna show you now how to make the batter.
The easiest way to make the batter is in the electric blender.
And you have-- you put in one cup of milk, and one cup of water.
You always use milk and water because that makes for a much thinner pancake.
And then we're gonna have two cups of measured flour.
You remember, when you measure your flour, you have a measuring cup flat on a piece of paper, and you sift directly into the cup and then sweep it off with a knife.
That's what we've done with this.
If you don't, you want to be sure and get your flour measurement correct, or you may end up with too thick a pancake.
And then it has four eggs.
And we have also a teaspoon full of salt.
Now, if you don't have a blender, you put your flour in a bowl and then mix the liquids gradually into it and beat it up well.
This is about half a teaspoon of salt that I'm putting in.
And then you strain it to be sure that you don't have any lumps in it.
And then we have four tablespoons of melted butter, which makes one-fourth cup.
It's really also very much like a popover batter.
Then just put on the cover.
(whirring) And then, usually, a little bit of the flour will have stuck to the edge of the blender.
This makes about two quarts of batter, and that's enough for, oh, probably 24 five-inch pancakes.
And then you push down the flour.
If you happen to have a blender that doesn't have as much room as this, just put in part of the water, and then you can stir the water in afterwards.
There's still a little bit of flour attached there.
That's all there is to it.
And then you have to let it rest for two hours, and the reason you want to let it rest is because the little flour granules absorb the liquid and soften, and that's what gives you the delicateness of the pancake.
And then that you'll just put in the refrigerator, and you can do it a day or two ahead.
It keeps perfectly well.
And now, to make the crepes.
I have, let's see, I have some ready-made batter right here.
And this one's got a little bit dried out 'cause I've been flipping it.
So I will discard that one.
Now, you want to-- I'm using a... one of these coated pans.
Got a few crumbs in it.
A no-stick pan, which I find extremely good for making these little pancakes, because, as the advertisement says, "If nothing sticks to them, then they don't."
But if you want to use... use a French pan, here's one-- they come in either iron or heavy copper.
See, this one is about an eighth of an inch thick, and it has a tin wash on it, and it has these very low edges.
And they're very nice, too, but I thought they were the only thing to use until I ran into this pan, and you'll see how nicely it works.
But you can use an ordinary iron skillet or an omelet pan, anything that won't stick.
If you're using an ordinary skillet, you can take a piece of bacon or bacon rind like that and just rub it into the pan every time, each time that you make a pancake.
And now... here's our ready-made batter.
I made this last night.
And after you make your batter, your first pancake is sort of a test, 'cause you don't know whether your batter is thick or thin enough.
And whether your pan is hot enough.
So you just pour it into the center and then tip all over with your hand.
Now you see, there's a little extra there.
So you pour it out.
And when you, you should... And then if you pour it out, you just cut off that little... that little lip that fell over.
Be sure you always use a wooden instrument with one of these pans.
And then you wait until the... (clears throat) You should see some little bubbles in there.
You usually do.
And then, anyway, you will see a little browning around the edges here and that will show that it's done on that side.
They only take about, oh, half a minute to cook, if that much.
(clears throat) And when you get used to the method of making them, you can keep two pans going at once perfectly well.
And then, when it's loosened from the pan like that, it's usually done.
So you can flip it over.
That could be done a little bit more.
Now, if you don't...
The flipping is very easy, it's just sort of, um... getting used to doing it.
It looks as though it were hard, but, and you'll probably spill one or two on the floor or into the stove, but as soon as you get the movement, it goes over very easily.
These are very light, so that the air catches them.
I'll flip that one over again.
But it's a matter of just practicing, and it's quite fun.
Now, if you-- you can also, if you don't want to flip them, or if you're doing a very large one, you can take two wooden instruments and just lift it up like that and just turn it over.
Or after you've loosened it with your wooden instrument, just turn it over with your fingers.
You should train yourself to use the tips of your fingers in very hot materials, because that will save you an awful lot of time.
Now, this one, you see, it's brown.
Fairly well there on the first side.
I think our second crepe will be better.
And this other side here is never more than sort of a spotty brown.
This looks like a baby Dalmatian, rather, but that's the way it always is.
And this side of the crepe here is the non-public side, 'cause they're always served either rolled or folded.
And it's this outside that is the public view, and this one is private, so you'll always keep that underneath.
And now we'll do one more.
And if you're doing a lot of crepes, you'll remember, sort of mark out on your measure exactly how much is the right amount to put in.
And in it goes, that way, and then quickly turn your pan all around.
And if you have a few little spots like that, that haven't quite filled in, you can fill them in.
It's just a matter of practicing, and then you get excited about making crepes, and you'll make a lot of them for a week, and then you won't make them again for a year.
And you'll forget the whole technique, but it comes back again.
Now, see, that's browned a bit there.
I'll turn this one over in my fingers.
Now, if you can see how that works.
You have to loosen it a little bit.
And then just turn it over that way.
Now, this side is done very nicely.
And also, if you want to make large crepes, you can use the large no-stick pan, about eight inches.
We have some of those, which you will see.
Now let's see how that bottom side is again.
That's just about as browned as the inside gets.
And now we're gonna do some of the fillings.
And this-- I don't think you can freeze this batter.
At least I've never tried, but it will keep for three or four days under refrigeration perfectly well.
And also, you can make the crepes way ahead of time.
These ones I made last night.
And you put them in the-- cover them up well with wax paper and put them in the refrigerator, and it's better not to roll them.
I did some, and I rolled them up in the wax paper and then it was rather hard to unroll them, so keep them flat.
And they don't have to be kept warm and they don't have to be reheated if you're going to do the kind of things that we are going to do today.
And now we're going... as I said, these are wonderful for using leftovers.
You can use leftover, say, Thanksgiving turkey or ham or chicken or anything that would go nicely in a sauce.
And if you happen to have a little leftover lobster, which I'm sure everybody has in the refrigerator.
I just didn't happen to have any this morning, so I went out and bought some.
But the lobster crepe is perfectly delicious, so we're gonna do that first and then I'm gonna do some more simple ones.
Now, this is boiled lobster, boiled lobster meat.
In other words, it's already been cooked, but what you always want to do if you're going to serve it in a sauce is to give it a little extra flavor.
You'd do the same thing if you were using turkey or shrimp or chicken.
I've got lots of melted butter here, which is very useful.
So we put in about two tablespoons of butter.
As you'll find in this kind of thing, the proportions aren't terribly necessary.
What you want is enough butter so that you can cook your lobster meat.
And that goes in.
And if you were doing a lobster thermidor you'd start out just this same way of cooking your lobster meat slowly in butter, and that brings out the pink color in it and also gives it a lovely flavor.
Then put on some pepper.
And a bit of salt.
And then we're going to use some minced scallions or shallots.
I'm using about two tablespoons there.
That's about a cup and a half of lobster meat.
And it ain't cheap, but it's awfully good.
This would be if you were going to have a nice, sort of fancy luncheon for somebody.
And then you let this sort of bubble slowly.
And then we're going to make a sauce for it.
And I think it's also a good idea to put in a little wine flavoring.
I shall use some dry, white vermouth.
You could use some dry Madeira wine, which would be nice.
I'm putting in about a third of a cup there.
And that gives it a nice flavor, too.
And then while that's slowly cooking, I'll do the preparations for our sauce.
Now, this we've used many times before.
This is corn starch.
But I just want to show you what a very quick and delicious sauce with cream you can make.
We're going to have about a cup and a half of sauce, so I'll use about three tablespoons of corn starch.
That should be it.
And then that has to be mixed up with a cold liquid.
So we'll put in some cream.
I'm using half-and-half cream here.
You want to get that well blended so there are no lumps in it.
You'll see this is exactly the same system that we've used for brown sauces.
I'm beating that up well.
And then put in a little bit more.
And now the lobster is cooked.
And as it cooks, the pink color comes out and that's gonna give a lovely pink color to our sauce.
And then we want to take the lobster out of the pan.
Now, I'm using this coated pan again, so I'm using a wooden spoon.
Be sure if you have people that you can't trust around the house, don't leave one of these pans out 'cause they'll just ruin it.
That's, I think, the only disadvantage in the pan is that you do have to be careful of it.
Now, I'm just taking the lobster meat out, and we have all this lovely juice in here, and that's gonna go to give the basic flavor for our sauce.
And then, now where is this?
Now, this should be off the heat and then you put in your corn starch mixture.
Now, I can't use my wire whip on that pan, so I'll have to use a wooden fork.
Beat it up.
And as it comes up to the simmer it will thicken.
This is certainly a very quick way of making a good sauce.
You can use the same sauce like this for mushrooms.
You remember the... and also chicken livers are extremely, extremely good done this way.
You remember our sautéed chicken livers.
You could use a brown sauce for them or you could use a white sauce like this.
Now, there, that's thickened up, so we now want to thin it out.
You could use very heavy cream if you weren't on any kind of a diet.
That's still a little bit too thick.
You see, the best thing is always to start out thick and then you can thin it as you like.
And I think that is even still a little bit thick.
The corn starch needs about two minutes to cook.
And then we shall very carefully taste it for seasoning.
Now we'll see how it is.
It's good, but it needs more salt and pepper.
See, we only had the salt and pepper in with the lobster, and that wasn't enough.
I'm gonna put in... it needed quite a bit.
I'm gonna put in about half a teaspoonful and then some more pepper.
And I think it needs a little more wine flavoring.
So, I'm gonna put in a little more vermouth and let that cook down for just a moment.
Whenever you're using wine, you want to be sure that you cook it down 'cause you want to evaporate all the alcohol taste.
I'm gonna taste that once more.
And be sure that you always do this 'cause it's a shame to go to all this work and just have a little lack of salt.
And that little bit of wine helped it, too.
Now... (clears throat) That comes off and then we put a little bit of our sauce into the lobster.
We want just enough to enrobe the lobster meat 'cause then we're gonna roll it in with our pancakes.
Now, you could do exactly this if you wanted to have lobster gratinéed in a little shell.
You could also add mushrooms to it.
Well, this is sort of a basic lobster mix, and it's just delicious and you can see how quickly it's done.
And now we're ready to roll it into our pancakes.
You take the nonpublic side of your crepe like that and then you just spoon a little bit of lobster meat down in the corner.
And then roll it up.
You see why you don't want too much sauce in the lobster 'cause you want it to hold together.
And then you place it in a buttered, ovenproof platter.
Now, you can do these just as individual servings.
If you were in a restaurant, that's the way you would have it.
It just doesn't need more than about a tablespoonful or two.
And two are enough if you're serving them as a hot hors d'oeuvre.
So there you are.
And if you were serving it for a main course, you probably would want to have three or four.
It just depends on people's appetites.
And then you put some sauce over.
And see, if you were doing turkey, you'd do it just exactly the same way.
Then we have a little bit of grated cheese on top.
This is rather coarsely grated Swiss cheese.
Then... a little bit of melted butter.
It's just wonderful having so much melted butter.
Just a little bit, about a half teaspoonful.
And then, this you can prepare way ahead of time, and you can refrigerate it.
You could even prepare it the day before, but be careful using shellfish meat, and... you have to have it very cold.
And don't do it more than a day ahead of time.
And then when you're... shortly before you're ready to serve, put it in a... a 375 oven for about 20 minutes until it's good and hot through and the top is browned lightly.
Or if you have a broiler that you can regulate, you could put it way underneath the broiler, so that by the time the top was brown, the bottom was also ready.
So that we can just set aside.
And then we're gonna do another type, which is a rather dramatic one, which I think you will enjoy.
And this one we're going to make a gâteau de crêpe, or a big cake of crepes.
And we're gonna put it on this big platter, and we're gonna use these great big pancakes.
These are just as thin as the other ones, but I made them in the large no-stick pan.
And so we're gonna make a sauce for them.
And this one is... we're going to make a béchamel sauce.
I don't think we've done a béchamel yet.
It's one of the mother sauces.
It's the same as a velouté, except it's made with milk.
So I'm gonna put in about two tablespoons of butter.
It really would be nice always to have melted butter.
I don't know where my flour is.
I guess I put it away somewhere.
Well... Had a big bowl of flour.
I must have put it under here somewhere.
Oh, well, I've got here a sack of flour.
I'll just use that.
I wanted to be a little bit fancy today, so I had it in a bowl.
I'm gonna make two table... two cups of sauce.
so I'm gonna use two tablespoons of flour.
And the important measurement in this is the flour.
And you add just enough butter so that you can make a paste which you can stir around.
And we've done this several times with the... our velouté, if you remember.
Our chicken fricassee had the same sauce.
And this, you cook your flour and butter slowly together until... until they foam and froth for about two minutes, and then you take it off heat, and then you pour in your milk.
And this is hot milk, and as usual in these sauces, it's much better not to pour in the whole amount at once.
So I'm gonna put in about a cup and a half or so.
'Cause it's always easy to thin the sauce out, but not so quick to thicken it up.
That needs a little more sauce in.
You see how terribly quickly this basic sauce is made.
Then it needs just boiling, just a moment like that, because you've already cooked your flour, so you're not gonna have a pasty sauce.
And then this... this sauce is... a béchamel is a starter, and so you always add some other flavor to it.
And this, I'm gonna turn this into a fancy-sounding sauce called a saucé Mornay.
And all it is, is a béchamel sauce with grated Swiss cheese in.
And I'm putting in about a quarter of a... about a third of a cup of grated cheese.
And I think that's still a little bit thick, so I'm gonna put in a little bit more milk.
You see why it's a good idea not to put in everything at once, 'cause you can very easily thin it out, and it doesn't need any more cooking.
There, that's a nice, thick sauce, and I can thin it out a little more later, if I'd like to.
And now to start out with... with our... gâteau.
We have our big plate here, and you always butter the plate before you start in doing anything.
And then you will center a big pancake there.
And then we're going to have... you can use any kind of a filling that you'd like.
We have here cooked chopped spinach.
You remember how we did that when we did our vegetable.
This is all cooked and perfectly flavored.
So we just add a little bit of our cheese, or saucé Mornay, to it.
Just about... again, as with the lobster, just enough, so that... so that the spinach is moistened.
And then be sure that you taste it very carefully for the seasoning.
And then we have here a mixture of cream cheese and diced mushrooms sautéed in butter and some herbs and a little bit of chopped green onion.
And this you can make whatever proportion you like to it.
And with this, too, you would stir in a little bit of your sauce.
Just to make a mixture that you can... that you can spread.
Cream cheese is awfully nice in cooking this way, and then you make a layer... of cheese, like that.
You can make these as thick as you like.
Then you make a layer of spinach.
And you can make just as many layers as you like, also.
You could make 24, if you wanted.
And then you put another pancake on top of that, and then you cover it with some of your sauce.
But we're still, I think, a little bit thick, so I'm thinning it out a little bit.
And then you pour your sauce over it.
And then this, again, you can get entirely made ahead of time.
And then this also would have a little bit of cheese, and a little bit of melted butter.
Here's our melted butter again.
And that, again, you can make ahead of time, and then you'd put that in a 350 oven for about, oh, half an hour until that were heated through and the top had browned lightly.
Now, I have another one of these gâteaus, which I've been keeping warm, which we will now serve.
You can see how nicely it turns out.
Now, those are really very quick, nice dishes, which...
Now, this one, you can use either as the first course for a luncheon or the main course for dinner.
And here are our lobster ones.
These have been... these... there are about 12 of these here, so this will make a very nice little hot hors d'oeuvre for... for an elegant luncheon.
And with either of these, you'd serve a chilled white wine, like a Graves.
And now I'll go over those proportions for this batter, 'cause that's the only thing you really need to know, which is: One-half teaspoon salt.
Two cups sifted flour.
Four tablespoons melted butter.
One cup cold water.
One cup cold milk.
And remember that you should let it rest for two hours.
And I think if you practice doing the flipping, you'll find that you'll do very well with crepes.
Now, next time, we're gonna do dessert crepes, crêpes Suzette.
That's all for today on The French Chef.
This is Julia Child.
Captioned by Media Access Group at WGBH access.wgbh.org ANNOUNCER: Julia Child is coauthor of the book Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
The French Chef is made possible by a grant from Safeway Stores.