When is a crepe no longer a crepe? When it becomes a blintz!
If you've been reading my blog, you might remember the Battle of the Blintz part 1 and 2. If you aren't familiar, a blintz is a crepe filled with a cheese mixture that is then pan-fried and/or baked and served with jam and sour cream. One of the key differences between a crepe prepared Dorie style vs prepared for a blintz, is that you don't flip them. When you roll blintzes, you want the outside a pale yellow, allowing the color to be added when you pan fry or bake them. Here is a video of my son preparing a crepe for a big batch of blintzes.
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Longing to return to my Saturday writing about French Fridays with Dorie, this week's recipe, Butter and Rum crepes drew me right in. We love our weekend pancakes and making a crepe seemed like the perfect adjunct to that tradition and something we are quite accustomed to from our blintz battles.
For our blintz binges, we have relied on Tyler Florence's crepe recipe with great success. My friend, who we battle with, uses an old recipe originating from a Russian grandma. Comparing the three of them is an education in recipe creation and proportions. Dorie's, as her title suggests, is heaviest on the butter and incorporates orange liqueur, rum, and lemon and orange zest. The Tyler Florence recipe and the Grandma recipe both use water in the mix and a greater proportion of flour. Tyler adds lemon zest to the blintz filling - an easy add that really creates zing. Dorie's use of both lemon and orange zest mixed into the sugar in the batter is a Dorie technique I love and results in a crepe that is satisfying right out of the pan.
So how did Dorie's butter-heavy batter turn out?
Once chilled, it feels a bit thicker than the Tyler Florence version. And it cooks up a bit differently. I usually melt butter and spread it on the crepe pan right before pouring in the batter. After doing that for the first crepe, I realized that Dorie's batter is buttery enough that a non-stick pan doesn't need the extra lubrication. In addition, her crepes seem more delicate and required what felt like 30 seconds to one minute extra time to cook. They would probably not work for blintzes as they seemed to have tiny holes in them and would likely burst while being baked or pan-fried. But for eating alone, filling with nutella, or making Dorie's citrus sauce? Perfection. I loved the zest in the batter. I used vanilla in place of the rum and instead of grand marnier, I used a Mexican orange liqueur called 43 - a secret ingredient in my strawberry jam.
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In Dorie's long and instructive headnote, she talks about crepes on the streets of Paris - here is a shot of one in process from our 2012 trip to the City of Light.
By the way French Friday members - our family had the most lovely dinner with one of your very own on that trip - Mardi of the blog Eat Live Travel Write.
As always, I learned much from Dorie's recipe and playing along with this wonderful group. To read more renditions of this recipe, check out the French Fridays with Dorie web site and buy Dorie Greenspan’s award-winning cookbook Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours. You will cherish the purchase and learn from each recipe and story that she shares.