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Fizzy water refines Hungarian-style crepes

Crepes, in a recent podcast, caused my respectful disagreement with a fellow food writer.

Simply put, crepes made from buckwheat flour need no sugar and are the perfect vehicle for all manner of savory ingredients, often prepared in France with ham, cheese and egg. Find a recipe for “galettes completes” in this blog’s archives. And try your hand at the more commonplace crepe made with all-purpose flour and filled with sautéed mushrooms, featured in the previous post.

Sugar, I’ll concede, does play a significant role in other crepe varieties, including the Hungarian iteration of this street snack. Thinner and lighter on the pancake scale than just about any other, “palacsinta” get a lift from carbonated water stirred into the batter just before cooking. And while palacsinta can be filled with just about anything, including jam augmented with chopped walnuts in the Hungarian fashion, the sweetened ricotta cheese mixture is hard to beat.


3 eggs

1 teaspoon superfine sugar (see note)

Pinch of salt

1 cup milk

Generous 1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup carbonated water

Butter, for greasing pan

In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, salt and milk. Stir in the flour to form a smooth batter. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Just before cooking, stir in the carbonated water. Put a skillet or crepe pan over medium heat and add just enough of the butter to coat it when it melts. Swirl butter to coat. When hot, pour half a ladleful of batter into skillet. Tilt pan so batter coats surface evenly. When golden, flip pancake to cook opposite side.

Fill with sweetened cheese filling (recipe follows), jam (or jam with sweetened cheese filling), chocolate sauce, berries, strawberries marinated 1 to 2 hours in balsamic vinegar, or just sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Makes 3 to 4 servings (3 pancakes per serving).

NOTE: To make superfine sugar, blend granulated sugar on high in a blender for several seconds until powdery.

Sweetened Cheese Filling

1 egg yolk (see note)

1 tablespoon superfine sugar

A few drops vanilla extract

2/3 cup ricotta or cottage cheese

Grated zest of 1/2 lemon

In a bowl, beat the egg yolk with the sugar and vanilla until creamy. In a separate bowl, soften the ricotta cheese with a large spoon or fork, then beat in egg mixture and add the lemon zest.

Use to fill palacsinta or other crepes. If desired, mix with jam to fill palacsinta.

Makes 3 servings.

NOTE: This recipe uses raw egg. The USDA warns that no one should eat raw eggs, unless eggs have been pasteurized in their shells. Infants, young children, older adults, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems are particularly at risk for foodborne illnesses.

Recipes adapted by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch from “The World Atlas of Street Food,” by Carol Wilson and Sue Quinn.

Tribune News Service photo