Diana's Desserts - www.dianasdesserts.com

Crêpes de Vonnas - Potato Pancakes

Servings: 8
Chef's Remarks:
Throughout France, from Lyon to Vonnas, from Mont Saint Michel to Paris, the renowned women cooks of the past all had an innate gift. From birth they seemed to have a natural feel for cooking, handed down from their mothers, who in turn had acquired it from their mothers. The happiness they imparted with their warm and generous cuisine made them queens - queens of hearts who passed down to their descendants the ancestral skill and knowledge that inspired the great chefs of today.

Resembling very light doughnuts or fritters, these potato pancakes of la mère Blanc are cooked in clarified butter and make a wonderful accompaniment to meat or poultry. But they can also be sprinkled with white or brown sugar for a delicious and comforting dessert.

18 oz./500g white-fleshed potatoes
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
3 whole eggs
4 egg whites
2 tbsp./30ml crème fraîche
28 tbsp. (3 1/2 sticks/14 oz./400g) clarified butter* (see how to clarify butter below)
2 tsp./10g salt
3 tbsp./50ml milk

Making the Pancakes:

1. Peel the potatoes.
2. Cook in boiling salted water. Drain the potatoes and, using a food mill, purée them with the milk. Let cool.
3. Sift the flour. Mix it into the cooled potato and add the whole eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Then add in the unbeaten egg whites. Combine well.
4. Blend in the crème fraîche one spoonful at a time without overmixing the batter. It should have the consistency of hot pastry cream.

Cooking the Pancakes:

1. Heat 4 tbsp. of clarified butter* (see How to Clarify Butter below) in a large skillet over high heat.
2. Pour small tablespoonfuls of batter into the very hot butter: the circles will form by themselves. Depending on the size of the skillet, you can cook from 4 to 6 pancakes at a time. Each batch of pancakes that you will cook requires 4 tbsp. of clarified butter to be added to the skillet.
3. Let brown and then turn to cook the other side.
4. Drain the pancakes on paper towels as they are cooked, then transfer them to a hot serving platter. Keep warm until ready to serve.

How to Clarify Butter

1. Cut the butter into small pieces;
2. Place the butter in the top of a double boiler and let it melt over low heat without stirring: the whey will separate and sink to the bottom while the impurities will float to the surface.
3. Remove the pan containing the butter from the double boiler while the butter is liquid.
4. Carefully skim the whitish scum from the surface.
5. Pour off the clarified butter and discard the milky liquid remaining in the bottom of the pan.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: The World Gourmet
Date: February 25, 2005