On a gloomy February 2nd, it is the promise of celebration. It is 'la Chandeleur.' I grew up with this tradition, which reminds me making crêpes with my mother and grandmother. A beautiful moment shared with the family.
When I think of Chandeleur, I think of a golden circle filled with sugar or chocolate. Eating them from breakfast till dinner, enjoying this delicious French pancake.
It also has a meaning which is historical and religious. It is the celebration of 40 days after Christmas.
Eating crêpes on February 2nd also has its origins in pagan festivals. At the time, Candlemas referred to the fertility of the earth. The peasants had thus made it a habit to cook pancakes with excess flour from last year. With their round shape and golden color, pancakes symbolized the light, sun, and therefore the return of sunny days. Superstitious, they even imagined a game to bring prosperity: to blow the first pancake with the right hand with a gold coin in the left hand.
Woman Baking Pancakes, Adriaan de Lelie, c. 1790 – c. 1810
This tradition is beautiful and magical.
250g all purpose flour
450ml lukewarm milk
2 tbsp beer (you can also replace it with Orange blossom water or Rhum)
10g baking powder
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp sugar
1 pinch of salt
50g of melted powder
Sunflower oil for the pan
- Melt the butter in the microwave and heat the milk which has to be lightly lukewarm (to avoid lumps in the batter)
- Mix the sifted flour, the cornstarch, the sugar and the salt in a mixing bowl.
- Add the eggs, the melted butter, and then gradually add the milk while whisking to avoid creating lumps in the batter
- Add the beer (or Orange blossom water or Rhum) and let the batter stand for 30 minutes before cooking.
- Grease your pan with the sunflower oil and pour the batter into the pan using ladle.
- Cook on each side until golden brown.
- Put the crêpes aside on a plate as you go along, and put a piece of foil over them to keep them warm and soft. You should be able to make between 15 and 20 crepes with a 20 cm pan (8 inch pan).