Recipe: Aumonieres Normandes and crepes


1 litre milk

450g plain flour (type 45 or 55)

100g sugar (optional)

10g salt

6 whole eggs

200g butter

500g apples

10g cinnamon


Don’t say pancakes. Pancakes are what you eat with maple syrup for breakfast. These are crepes – light, lacy and French.

So. Peel, core and large-dice your apples, fry them until lightly coloured in half the butter and sugar and all the cinnamon. Try not to eat too much of your apple filling, otherwise you’ll have no filling. Duh.

For the crepes, there are two schools of thought on how to mix your batter; there’s the Delia way, where you make wells and diligently add eggs and then the milk little by little, always ensuring that the mixture is smooth and lump-free; or there’s the expedient method, where you put everything in the bowl and beat the hell out of it with a giraffe – a stick or hand-blender, as civilians call them. (Cooks call them giraffes in France because they have long necks).

I go for the second option because no matter how carefully you do the first method, you still get lumps. So reach for the hand blender anyway. Note, the butter should be melted first before adding it to the mixture. The official recipe calls for this to be beurre noisette, hazelnut-coloured butter heated in a pan on the stove. I think this adds an unwanted, erm, nutty flavour so just melt the butter in the microwave without hazelnutting it.

And then, again contrary to Delia, leave the mixture to sit for half an hour or more. This allows the grains of flour to be better absorbed and the gluten to do its thing. Really, it’s science.

Now, cooking. You may come from the school whose first pancake is always stuck to the pan and thrown away. You are too impatient. Put the pan on to heat and leave it. A long time. Like, five minutes, at the correct temperature to cook your pancakes, rather than burn them. The reason your pancakes stick is because you don’t let your pan heat up enough. This is the reason many things stick in your kitchen, in fact.

I brush on a little sunflower oil or butter or a mixture, using a rolled- and folded-up paper towel dipped into a small bowl of oil, wait a second, then add most of a 5cl ladle of batter, swirling it around the pan and quickly pouring off any extra if necessary. Don’t make your crepes too thick, that’s just not cool.

Let it cook for a couple of minutes and then use your spatula to lift one edge to see if it’s browned nicely, then turn it over. Usually this is about a minute or two after all the batter has set. Cook it for a minute more, until the second side is browned enough, and then remove it from the heat.

I run two pans at once, because I’m organised, it looks cool and it saves time. Then when I have my stack of a couple of dozen crepes I reheat them in the microwave and serve them.

For today’s recipe, you should put your crepe on a plate, add a couple of spoonfuls of the apple mix and fold the edges in to make a triangle or four-cornered hat shape, then reheat and add chantilly cream.


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