In France, we take Candlemas (‘la Chandeleur’) very seriously. None of us actually know what it celebrates (introduction of baby Jesus at the Temple apparently), but we know what it means: a couple of days of gorging on crêpes and buckwheat galettes. To be fair we do eat crêpes throughout the year, because it is very quick to make and children love them. But Candlemas it is a good reason to make extra special crêpes, so this year we made a crêpe-cake with our own praliné.
3 cups of flour (not self-raising)
1 tablespoon of orange blossom water (optional but gives a nice taste)
3 cups of milk
Mix the flour and sugar in a bowl. Make a well in the centre, add the eggs and orange blossom water. Mix gently using a whisk. Once you have a smooth batter, slowly adding the milk and keep mixing to prevent lumps. The batter for crêpes should be very runny, much more so than pancake batter.
To cook, use a non-stick pan (we use Tefal) and oil with butter. Put on medium fire. When hot, take the pan away from the fire, add about a ladleful of batter and tilt the pan so that the batter covers the pan evenly. Once the edges start coming off the pan, flip the crêpe and leave cook for another minute or so.
Repeat until all the batter has been used.
For a vegan recipe, you can easily use almond or oat milk, and replace the eggs with two ripe bananas. You can also use gluten-free flour.
To serve, I mixed a bit of melted butter with my homemade praliné paste( see below), spread over the crêpes and arrranged in a pile. It was fun cutting through the crêpes as if it were a real cake!
Praliné is one of the many wonders of French pâtisserie, and it is VERY addictive. Do not try that if you are on a diet! It is fairly easy to make but you will need a powerful food processor.
You will need:
200gr of hazelnuts ( I actually used half hazelnuts and half almonds)
200gr sugar ( usually white sugar but I prefer demerara)
Toast the nuts in a skillet for a few minutes on medium fire, then add the sugar.
Allow the sugar to dissolve gently. After a while the sugar will crystallise around the nuts, and then it will liquify again. At this stage, take off the fire and pour onto a silicone or baking sheet. Leave to cool and break into chunks.
Now to the fun part: you need to blitz the chunks until you get a smooth paste. It will take time: you will get a powder first, but as the oil is released from the nuts, it will gradually turn into a paste. Make sure to follow your processor’s instructions carefully ( otherwise it might blow up like mine did).