Cast iron crêpes
First things first. We’re using cast iron crêpe pans and they need seasoning. Here’s how they do it at Le Cordon Bleu.
Fill the pan with rock salt. Use enough to cover the base.
Put the pan with the salt into the oven at 150 C for 30 minutes to dry out.
Take the pan from the oven and safely remove most of the salt, keeping it for next time.
While the pan is still blazing hot, grind the remaining salt into the metal using a good handful of paper towel as a pad. Really work it into all the scratches. The salt will disintegrate into powder and discolour. Discard this residue.
Now pour oil into the pan to give all surfaces a nice coating about 1mm thick. Then back into the oven for another 30 minutes.
When the pan comes out wipe away the excess oil. The pan is now seasoned.
Once the pan has been used, don’t wash it. Just wipe it clean and oil it.
I grew up enjoying pancakes with sugar and lemon juice on Pancake Day. Mum would sprinkle some currants in before folding. She couldn’t cook them fast enough for my father, brother and me.
This is the French version—Crêpes au Citron.
The first crêpe is always a tester to see if the pan is seasoned and to check whether the batter is properly seasoned. It came out pretty good and it tasted good too. Beginner’s luck? The second crêpe also came out pretty good. By the third I was enjoying myself and, as I’m prone to do, I started whistling only to be promptly told off by chef. Apparently whistling is a big no-no in kitchens. I’ll have to find a way to express happiness silently.
Smooth wrist rotation of the left hand is required to disburse the batter quickly and evenly around the pan as the right hand ladles in just the right amount of batter. I felt a bit clunky on this. I blame it on the broken wrist from snowboarding in Poland a couple of years ago. That, or I just have an almost useless left hand. Despite some trepidation over sticky pans it all worked out. 8 splendid crêpes. Understanding the heat and controlling it are key. Crêpes are thin and unforgiving.
The first side of a crêpe gets a good even heat and creates a nice even colour. The second side tends to get patches of brown, like a naan bread. A crêpe is folded to show off the nicer looking first side. I got this wrong when I presented to chef. I corrected it for the photograph. Shhwing!
Learning to segment a lemon with a single knife motion in and back out rather than making 2 separate cuts was groovy.
The lemon simple syrup was easy enough. I’ve made a few syrups for cocktails in my time. Even with the syrup this dish is a zingy number.