It has been a great weekend so far, and it is just starting to rain…again! Z and I hit up Haymarket this morning and came back with a fridge full of produce — for $14! I told myself that the weather this weekend would be a great opportunity to get a lot of work and errands done, but so far it has just made me want to curl up with a good book and a cup of tea 🙂
On Shrove Tuesday (also known as pancake day) I felt guilty for not making crepes. Before moving to America I never knew what pancakes (aka flapjacks) were like, to me “pancakes” were large, thin, and eggy crepes. My Mom always made them for Shrove Tuesday, if not for the religious aspect then as a special weeknight treat. My craving for crepes grew so much that I suggested to Z that, since I was in charge of our next pancake day, we should make crepes!
“Yeah!” he said.
“With lemon and sugar…mmmm!” I replied.
He stared at me blankly.
“You mean with ricotta and honey?”.
Apparently Z and I both grew up in European countries where crepes were our pancakes, but we ate them in two completely different ways. While my British version is light and simple, with sugar and lemon juice sprinkled in every layer, he had nalesniki, the Polish version filled with ricotta, honey, and raisins. Not wanting to pick one way over the other, we decided to try both, dubbing them our Motherland crepes.
I still had some pancake mix leftover, but wasn’t sure if I could turn a mixture that made fluffy flapjacks into the extra thin crepes that were necessary. I found this article on ehow.com that explained exactly how to do it!
Crepe Batter using Pancake Mix adapted from ehow.com
1 cup pancake mix (we used up the rest of our Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pancake Mix)
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup water
Combine all ingredients into a thin batter. Heat a medium non-stick frying pan and add a little cooking spray. Put 1/4 – 1/3 a cup of batter in the pan and swirl until it covers the surface. Once bubbles appear on the top, flip carefully and cook until the other side is browned.
These will cook much faster than traditional pancakes, so pay close attention!
I then set up a British station and a Polish station for our crepes, and enjoyed one of each!
British Crepes with Lemon and Sugar
1 batch of crepes
1 lemon, cut in slices
On the crepe, sprinkle some sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice and fold in half, creating a semi-circle. Do the same thing on that half, and fold again into a triangle. Sprinkle some more of both ingredients on top, and indulge!
Polish Nalesniki (Crepes with Ricotta, Honey, and Raisins)
1 batch of crepes
1 cup of ricotta cheese (we used fat free)
1/4 cup honey (we used agave nectar)
1/4 cup raisins
2 tablespoons of milk
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Try not to eat all of it before it goes into the crepe.
Lay a crepe flat on the plate and put a layer of the ricotta filling down the middle. Roll up the crepe and enjoy!
Both of these crepe versions were amazing! The British version is much lighter, and I can see myself eating at least 5 or 6 of them like I did when I was little. You get a really great texture from the eggy consistency of the crepe, and sweet lemon is one of my favorite flavors! This is also great with orange as well, I’m just partial to lemon 🙂 Z liked them too…they are very summery and would be great with some fresh berries!
The Polish version is much more hearty, and delicious! The filling is super-sweet, and the way it is presented is a lot like eating a blintz. These crepes were more satisfying; I would probably only be able to eat 2 of these stuffed ones before being stuffed 🙂 The ricotta is so rich and creamy, and the raisins are nice little surprises in some bites! I think these would be great for a snowy morning with a nice cup of coffee.
In all, our crepe pancake day was a success! And I am glad we got to share a little bit of our home countries with each other.
Do you have favorite meals that represent your nationality?