Crèpes and pannequets (pancakes)

During the Second Empire, crèpes (as they were spelt at the time) were an integral part of home cuisine. They were traditionally sprinkled with a simple layer of sugar, as the batter would often be flavoured with eau-de-vie or brandy. However, they experienced stiff competition during the period from a similar food from across the Channel. Pannequets (the French translation of pancakes) were becoming more and more popular: the batter was richer, made as it was with more eggs, and the addition of orange-blossom flavouring made them preferable to their drier cousins. Pannequets could also be eaten with a dusting of sugar, but not with jam or conserve, as this would mask the taste. Although cases of such serious gastronomic faux-pas did occur, it is not an experiment that we could possible encourage or condone.


- 250g of flour
- 4 eggs
- 500ml of milk
- pinch of salt
- 25 g of soft butter
- essence of orange-blossom

Period Recipe

Crèpes: Make a batter using flour, milk, egg yolks and a little eau-de-vie (the quantities are not noted); melt some butter in a frying pan and once hot, add a spoonful of the batter, making sure to evenly spread the mixture to thinly coat the bottom of the pan. Turn the crèpe over once it has cooked on one side and once done, remove it and lightly dust with sugar. Pannequets: in a bowl, place two tablespoons of flour with three egg yolks, two whole eggs, a little salt and a few drops of essence of orange-blossom; mix and dilute with a little milk (the mixture should be clear); take a small, round and shallow frying pan and heat it; wrap half a knob of butter in a couple of layers of paper to make a small parcel and wipe your pan with it; add a small ladleful of batter; tip the pan to spread the pannequet; it should be thin and even all over: once cooked remove your pannequet, sprinkle with sugar and repeat the steps until you have used all your mixture. (Recipes taken from Dictionnaire general de la cuisine française, Paris, Plon frères, 1853, p. 190, p. 355-356)

Bon appetit

1) Mix the ingredients into a runny batter.
2) Grease a crêpe pan/shallow frying pan and fry your pancakes!

Type of Recipe