We live in the city, and only now and then we get hold of fresh, all-natural dairy products from the farm, so it has become a tradition to "baptize" them (more like ourselves) with a good portion of ad hoc pancakes.
Romanian pancakes are actually a form of French crêpes, they are meant to be thin and rolled around delicious homemade jams and sweets, or sometimes fresh cottage cheese with nuts or raisins. This time, I tried a thicker pancake, to fit the bio dairy products making the pancake dough fluffy and moist.
You can try this recipe with your favorite milk and butter, but it wouldn't be bad if you were able to try and taste them with fresh organic dairy and eggs. Something has been waiting on the shelves for this traditional moment: my freshly made golden mirabelles jam. I picked them out myself, from our own tree. You can find the recipe here (for red mirabelles), with the exception of experimenting with my wok (yes! for the jam) for the golden ones, in an attempt to provide a surrounding heat for the caramelization process (which can also be achieved by finishing the jam in the oven). It came out beautifully, preserving the tangy taste yet acquiring a caramel "effect".
So here it goes: I had at my disposal completely natural, untreated cow milk ( it came fresh after milking, and we boiled it here) and a magnificent foam of a butter from the same milk, farm chicken eggs and some golden sweetness in a jar.
I was looking for the perfect missing ingredient to make them dance together, the one that compliments all. My reverie took my eyes wandering towards the light and they stumbled on my fresh herbs window curtain...
...and there he was, my savior, my beauty: my Indian basil I had grown from seeds. He will compliment and wed the fresh buttery pancakes with this particular jam. He will bring out the freshness in milky way + eggs, and also make the tarty sweet stand out.
Time to get to work. Ingredients for 4 servings (8 pancakes):
800 ml fresh milk
a small bunch of fresh basil leaves
a pinch of salt
Make a nest for the eggs in the flour and sprinkle them with a pinch of salt. Mix the batter and gradually add the milk. I use a whisker for the entire process. In the end, you should have a batter that is quite liquid, like a thicker milk or similar to liquid cream. Having enough liquid in the pancakes is important for their final fluffiness, and the best way to test a good pancake batter is to actually make one crepe, if it is too tough, you add more milk, or if you feel it is running, you add a little bit more flour by rapidly whisking it in the batter. But remember the best way to cook a pancake is to keep the batter liquid (it will come out melting in your mouth) and to flip it (in order to avoid breaking this delicate baby), which is exactly what I did for this recipe, since I wanted them as delicate as possible.
In the end, add the basil leaves, after mincing them by hand.
Use a bain-marie pot or simply heat water in a pot and put a large plate on top, with a lid. Once the water boils, you can turn off the heat; this is where you will put the pancakes when ready, to keep them warm and moist.
Heat your favorite crêpe pan (a non-sticky one) and add a teaspoon of butter, and when it begins to change color, use a ladle to pour the pancake batter, distribute evenly and when the margins begin to stick out, it's time to flip the pancake, baby! Be daring, and you might catch it back in the pan!
One of the delights of eating pancakes is the rush of rolling them, fingers burning, so that they melt their hotness in your mouth. Here they are, a family tradition that I hope you will enjoy!
Cover photo: Thao Uyen
A melting pot experience, in more than one way. Welcome to our Epicurean adventure!