Saturday, 18 January 2014

Flippin' 'Eck it's Crêpes Fanny-ettes

Fanny shares this idea for Crêpes Soufflés au Citron, or Lemon Souffléd Pancakes, in this citrus-packed part-work, but she really just wants to tease for now, and suggests saving the idea for Shrove Tuesday. So much so that she doesn't share a recipe for one of the vital ingredients - the pancakes themselves. In a future part she will however delight us with them and also show us how to make and store batches of melting pancakes so that we can all draw on them when required, allowing us to enjoy the pudding when we like. Luckily for me I have had a glimpse of the future already, having made the pancakes at Christmas for a baked mincemeat wonder, so I can proudly share this puffed up pudding now.

Fanny always uses self-raising flour, for everything, and of course pancakes are no exception. The other ingredients are eggs, a little oil and milk. I use Borderfields rapeseed oil to give the pancakes an oomph to their taste and colour. Fanny says that this recipe will only be delectable and a joy to behold if the pancakes are made very thin with very thin batter. Her reminder is that you cannot make a thin pancake from a thick one, so there you go. I make a batch of very thin pancakes according to the Christmas booklet instructions, following Fannys technique of adding the batter to the pan at an angle and then swirling it around the pan. If you add the batter to the centre, you will have thick pancakes, be warned.

The soufflé filling for the pancakes is also used to 'mask' the outside of the pancake before it's baked, something I've never seen or heard of before. In Fannys picture they look a bit like Baked Alaskas, and Peter demonstrates how to apply the soufflé successfully in a pic-strip. I need to make it first. I melt some butter gently, add some flour, beating to a paste before adding lemon juice and zest. This really changes the colour of the paste. Fanny tells me to chuck in some caster sugar and a mix of white wine with water gradually, beating all the time, before removing from the heat and adding two egg yolks. 

I also need to whisk up five egg whites to very stiff peaks, and carefully combine the two mixtures. It's quite a lot to coordinate, no wonder she suggests making the pancakes in advance. This is my soufflé mix, and I am ready to assemble. A big blob of the mixture goes on one half each pancake, before they are folded over and then completely covered in the remaining soufflé mix. Fanny puts a stern warning that this tasty pudding will ONLY be successful if the filled pancake is completely masked. She says that someone she knew left the top uncovered - it was probably poor Peter - and ended up with something like packet crisps made by Mr You-Know-Who. I don't, but I don't fancy lemon crisps either, so I make sure they are well masked!

They bake in a hot oven now for only eight minutes. I wasn't too sure what to expect really, would they puff up greatly like a soufflé in a dish, or indeed harden up like a Baked Alaska? Fanny has smothered hers in sifted icing sugar in the part-work picture, so it's hard to tell. However after the allotted time, they come out looking fantastic, only lightly puffed and golden brown. I give them a light dusting of icing sugar and tuck in. Fanny was right, they ARE melting and yummy, a strong punch of lemon and lots of texture - the soufflé inside the pancakes has gone creamy and jammy. The outside is well, like a soufflé. Definitely one to try again for Shrove Tuesday, just need to make another batch of pancakes now to make sure I am ready!