Writing about Toronto feel miles out of date by now, but I just can’t let it go. It was too good a trip and I really want to share it with you.
It might seem strange that I’m telling you about the homemade food I ate in Toronto. After all, to me it is the land of a million restaurants.
But between the restaurant suppers and the many cafe treats, there were a few meals at home tucked in there. Unfortunately I didn’t make any of them. My gracious hostesses, Emily and Eva, were only too happy to spoil me.
When Emily and I lived together back in university, all four of us roommates had certain dishes that we often made for each other, or for potlucks. Rachael could whip up a delicious green salad with feta cheese, green onions, almonds and an amazing dressing. Jessie used to make this yummy, earthy mixture of mushrooms, pinto beans and brown rice. My favourite contribution was the Moosewood cornbread recipe. And Emily would treat us to pancakes for weekend breakfast.
If you knew us four at all, you would realize that these foods are all hugely characteristic of our personalities, and how we’re defined in this group. I’ve only just come to this conclusion now, as I write this three years later, but I think it’s pretty bang-on.
And I swear, the next time the four of us are all together (unfortunately, it happens rarely), I want to request that we all make those four foods and have a wonderful, nostalgic, albeit rather carby, meal.
The pancakes Emily used to make were little ones called “Three-in-a-pan”. I think the recipe came from a Unicef kids’ cookbook. Eaten hot and sprinkled with icing sugar, maple syrup and raisins, they were a divine way to start the day.
But in Toronto a few weeks ago, Em didn’t make Three-in-a-pan. She made Hungarian crepes, or Palacsinta, instead. Well, she said they’re Hungarian, and the recipe is from a Hungarian cookbook. But to me they tasted like other crepes I’ve eaten before that I always thought were French. I’m not complaining – they were delicious. Especially since they’re filled with jam, and have maple syrup on top to boot.
I’ve never made crepes before, but I’ve been meaning to for years. I think I have this strange notion that they require a lot of special technique to make sure they come out thin and perfectly crisped. That maybe I need to go out and buy a crepe pan just to make sure I get it right. Plain old pancakes seem a lot easier.
But Em mixed these up in a cinch, and delivered them to me and Eva rolled up and, again, sprinkled liberally with icing sugar. Along with the jam and the maple syrup. There’s nothing like a jolt of sugar to start the morning.
It’s just like old times.
Thanks to Emily for this recipe!
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cup milk
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
Beat eggs and sugar until frothy, add salt and milk, beat in flour slowly, until very smooth, then add melted butter to have a very thin batter.
Use a non-stick crepe pan or a regular non-stick frying pan. Heat to sizzling point, then reduce heat for your first crepe. Pour 1/4 cup of the batter in pan and swish around until the entire bottom of the pan is covered. When lightly brown use a flat crepe spatula to turn over and brown ever-so-lightly. Remove onto a flat warm dish.
Fill with whatever filling you want - traditional Hungarian filling is apricot jam (we like raspberry and strawberry). And always dust with icing sugar!
Yields about 12 - 16 thin crepes.