As if eating frangipane flavoured puff pastry cakes throughout January wasn’t enough, people in Normandy will be eating pancakes (crêpes) this evening. Today is a religious festival known as La Chandeleur (Candlemas) that is celebrated on the 2nd February – exactly 40 days after Christmas.

French pancakes tend to be fairly thin and are cooked in a special pan known as a crêpière with a very shallow lip. American pancakes are smaller and fluffy and UK pancakes use a thicker batter. For authentic French crêpes, use the following recipe:

4 eggs
2 cups flour
2 ¼ cups of milk
2 tablespoons of melted butter
pinch of salt

If you are only making dessert crêpes, then you can add any of the following: 2 tablespoons of sugar, vanilla extract, alcohol such as brandy, rum, grand marnier. In Normandy, Calvados (the local apple brandy) is added to both the batter and used as a topping.

Cook on both sides, adding a little melted butter to the pan as necessary. To perfect your flipping technique, watch the video to see how it’s done.

Of course, a festival that is Christian and has Pagan roots has a number of superstitions and sayings associated with it. They range from putting a pancake on the top of the wardrobe to holding a gold coin. You can read more about the superstitions here The weather also plays an important part in the day according to folklore and determines the weather for the next 40 days. Fortunately, it’s been a sunny but cold day in Normandy today.

Whatever the weather, you can enjoy your crêpes with the topping of your choice – jam, chocolate spread or orange/lemon with sugar. The Normandy option is served with apples cooked with sugar and Calvados to create a caramel and apple brandy topping. Happy flipping!

confiture de lait

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