There are some things Fanny just gets so excited about in the kitchen - usually soufflés, mincemeat and harmless green vegetable food colouring. They appear to be the cornerstones of culinary heights, at least for the Cradocks. I am sure one day I will turn the pages of the partwork and see next up is a Green Mincemeat Soufflé, and more than likely I will barely bat an eyelid, I've become so used to the Cradock ways already. If Fanny were to add another to her list of 'very favourites' I'm sure it would be the pancake, erm, sorry, crêpes. We must always use the French terms when discussing cuisine. Am I learning nothing? I think I am as delighted as Fanny is to see that part 19 is all about 'fabulous pancakes'! Are there any other kind? Hang on though, are there enough variations to support a whole part?
Fanny teases us with thoughts of 'proper' pancakes to come, just to remind us probably that if we've been making them already, we simply haven't been doing it properly. To start us off though, it's one of her very favourites indeed, Crêpes Carnaval or the simply sensational star dish of the week, Carnival Pancakes. These are no ordinary pancakes, and are not made in any ordinary fashion. We will deal with the ordinary at a later date seemingly, first off is a flourish fiesta-style! Fanny says if you are taught how to make pancakes for the very first time in France you are told that they should be so thin that you could read your lovers letters through them. Fanny doesn't want to discuss French Letters here, smirk, and suggests instead that we lay our pancakes over the partwork and read her instructions. It's practically a love affair anyway, isn't it?
I must admit to being slightly scared when I first read the recipe. I'm no scientist, but Fanny recommended popping along to the chemist to buy some Ammonia Carbonate. I googled it to see what it was and what replacements I could use. I'm expecting the bomb squad to turn up any day. Some suggested baking powder, some bicarbonate of soda, some both, as decent alternatives. Various folks on Twitter suggested using Ammonia Bicarbonate bought online, but no-one was sure it was the same thing. Was my kitchen about to explode? Only one way to find out... This recipe starts by rubbing butter into flour until it resembles minute grains. Then a real favourite for Fanny, beating in eggs until the batter is smooth, thick and extremely difficult to work with. It's now time to add the chemicals.
I opt to play it safe and use a pinch of baking powder and bicarb. Chicken eh? Once worked into the dough it became a little bit like choux paste. We are still making pancakes right? Fanny divides hers into 'very mean' 1oz pieces and shapes them into little balls before rolling them out, without flour, and without lifting or turning them, as thin as possible. I can see Fanny's eyebrows through mine, so they must be ok! Maybe she actually meant as transparent as French Letters? They are then fried in smoking hot oil, I wasn't expecting that! They are lifted gently in with two wooden spoon handles. I use chop sticks. Fanny says to prod them around a bit while they are frolicking in the oil, without breaking them, flip them over and drain them on plenty of kitchen paper.
Fannys finished ones have flutes all round the edges, maybe that's what I was meant to do with all the prodding? Mine don't it is safe to say, but they are lovely golden brown and very bubbly and lively. No explosions, but a celebration nonetheless. Fanny says to stack them high until a 'great pyramid is formed' and slosh them with icing sugar. Her picture shows a tower. Maybe she'd never been to Egypt or seen a pyramid? Or perhaps she was distracted by Johnnies' merrymaking with the French Letters? Either way they taste great - the pancakes - a little like spring rolls without the filling. It's not quite Rio or even Notting Hill, but they are a jolly jamboree all on their own, so let the carnival begin!