Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Chez Guillaume ...

Now, about those contradictions ... fairly typical in Divaland ... so naturally a lengthy list of diet tips will be followed by a post about crepes. Mais ouis, bien sur ... pass the butter!

Fresh on the heels of his wildly successful post on knife sharpening, Papa Diva has once again favored us with his wit and winsome ways. Crepes have long been a part of the Diva family Christmas celebrations and Papa's are spectacular. Read on as he shares his secrets with us ...

If you are afraid of traveling to France because of Euroshock, do not despair. You can have a taste of Paris right here at home. Nothing says Paris like a crepe.

We find crepes to be an extremely versatile menu item - ideal for breakfast, brunch, lunch or even a light dinner. The Diva Dad, he of knife sharpening and cabinetmaking fame, makes crepes for a Christmas morning brunch every year. Diva Dad is a serious Francophile - and Chez Guillaume is one of his alter egos.

We start with a pitcher of mimosas, about 1/2 Champagne and 1/2 real orange juice. Two kinds of crepes are served at Chez Guillaume. Savory crepes, served with fillings listed below are the first course.

Savory Crepes:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • two eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups of milk (it is best if the eggs and mile are at room temperature)
  • Butter for frying the crepes (no oil, remember we are being French here)

Mix the dry ingredients separately. Beat the eggs separately. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the eggs and a little of the milk. Mix with a wooden spoon. Gradually add the remaining milk. Mix until all the flour is incorporated into the batter.

To cook:

Use one ladle per crepe, pour into a hot, well buttered crepe pan and tilt the pan quickly to spread the batter thinly and evenly over the entire surface. When the surface is no longer glossy - approximately one minute - turn the crepe over. 30 seconds should be sufficient to lightly brown the second side. Repeat steps for the next crepe. Keep the crepe pan hot and well buttered as you cook the remaining crepes. This recipe will yield approximately 8 to 10 crepes.
Serve the savory crepes with any of these listed items, or even a combination that appeals to you or your fellow diners: ham, bacon, sausage, cheese, scrambled or fried eggs. Crepes with smoked salmon, sour cream and caviar make an elegant brunch as well.

We use a dedicated steel crepe pan (as seen in the photos) that was purchased from Williams-Sonoma. Its relatively thin and heats quickly. The Diva will tell you how to season a new crepe pan at a later date. A 10" skillet will work as well if you do not have a crepe pan.

A typical meal in a Parisian creperie will have a savory crepe, with some filling(s) as a first course, and a sweet crepe as a second course. It is also customary to serve the crepes with some hard cider ... though we do enjoy our mimosas!

Sweet Crepes:

(Approved by the carbo cops and transfat cops.) ~though this Diva says approved for holiday use only~ wink

For the "low death" - as in lower fat - crepes, prepare as follows:
  • 1 cup all-purpose white flour
  • 1/2 tsp. of salt
  • 1/2 tsp. of baking powder (optional)
  • one egg
  • 1 1/4 cups of milk
Mixing and cooking directions are the same as for the savory crepes above. Filling options are: jams, preserves, lemon curd, Nutella, bananas or any kind of fruit ... and the Diva would add butter and sugar to the list, as well as maple syrup. Again, this recipe will yield 8 to 10 crepes.

The baking powder is optional, using it will allow the crepes to rise, but just slightly.

Lastly, here is a recipe for what we like to call "high death" sweet crepes. This is supposed to be Joel Robouchon's crepe recipe. He is the chef that specifies one half pound of butter to every one pound of potatoes for mashed potatoes. Yikes! You can see why we've named them so.

High Death Crepes:
  • 1 cup of all-purpose white flour
  • 2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp. melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups of milk
Recipe is the same as above, though allow the melted butter to cool a bit, then beat with the eggs before combining with the flour.
A couple of things occurred to me as I was reading over the recipes - a.) the whole wheat crepes are entirely Beach friendly ... so long as one chooses an appropriate filling. Yay! The second is that the "high death" are not nearly as deadly as I'd remembered. I still prefer to leave the sugar out of the batter, but a couple of tablespoons of butter aren't such a bad thing after all.

You can't go wrong with any of the recipes, though my personal favorite is the whole wheat. Try one, try them all - they are magnificent!

I hope you've enjoyed today's visit to Chez Guillaume as much as I have. What a treat to have some "help around the blog" as it were. Thanks, Papa Diva for another great post!

Bon appetite!


Juliet said...

Looks great. Can't go wrong with crepes.. especially if you stay away from the super buttery ones.. :)

Deb said...

Crepes - yum, I haven't had them in years. I used to use them to make an Italian dish - manicotti of all things. Just a savory Italian version of your French food.

Happy flipping!


Anonymous said...

Brett used to ask me for crap on Sunday mornings for breakfast, but then he was 3, and that was 28 years ago, I wonder if he ever learned to pronounce crepes...

Things in the world to think about seriously No. #967

Crepes are always a popular breakfsat standby.


The Diva on a Diet said...

Right, Juliet ... and especially if they're whole wheat based. :)

Deb - funny you should mention their use in manicotti ... I remember doing just that in Home Ec. of all things. They were delicious too!

LOL, Argentum ... yes they are. Good rule!

Happy New Year to all!

Anonymous said...

Thank you thank you thank you for posting this. Just spent some time in Paris, and we are determined to whip up crepes on a weekly basis. Bring out the nutella because we're about to go to work!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Duo Dishes - you are most welcome indeed! You really can't go wrong with any of Papa Diva's crepe recipes, but I'm a big fan of the whole wheat. With a savory filling and a nice crisp salad, they make a terrific and easy week-night meal. Lucky you for having just returned to Paris. I hope it was a magical trip! :)