Panqueques are one of Gastón’s specialties. Should you ask him to share his pancake recipe, he’s quick to answer, “It’s easy. Three-two-one: three eggs, two cups of milk, and one cup of flour.” Like my Grandma Dorita's, Gastón’s recipes are often vague. Fortunately, I was brought up in a kitchen with ambiguous directions and inexact measurements—puñados, dedos, pizcas y poquitos (handfuls, fingers, pinches and little bits). These panqueques are to the Argentine what crêpes are to the French, but slightly thicker, lighter and fluffier. Panqueques are simple, easy to make, and fun to serve; just remember that you’ll need to wait a few hours for the batter to chill.
After spreading with dulce de leche, panqueques may be shaped in a variety of ways depending on one’s own personal preference. We choose between the cigarette, which is filled and rolled like a cylinder, or the quarter-moon, folded with panache and made by spreading the filling on half of the panqueque and folding it over once then again. For breakfast, Gastón serves panqueques with dulce de leche and jam; for lunch, he fills them with soft cheese and dulce de leche; and for a special dessert he stuffs them with dulce de leche then flambés them with rum and caramelized sugar.
Panqueques con Dulce de Leche
Note: The unfilled stack of panqueques keeps, wrapped in plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Spread with dulce de leche just before serving.
Put the eggs, milk, flour, melted butter, sugar and salt in a blender and blend for 30 seconds or until smooth. Scrape down the mixture from the sides of the blender and repeat if necessary. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour (2 hours is preferable) and up to 24 hours.
If the chilled batter has separated, gently stir it until it comes back together. Lightly butter a 6- or 7-inch nonstick pan and heat over medium-high heat until hot.
Lift the pan from the heat and pour in 2 to 3 tablespoons of batter, tilting and rotating the pan to coat the surface. Return the pan to the heat and cook the panqueque until almost dry on top and lightly browned on the edges, about 1 minute. Loosen the edges with a spatula and, using your fingers or a spatula, flip over the panqueque and cook the other side for about 15 seconds, or until lightly browned. Make more panqueques with the remaining batter in the same manner, wiping the pan with butter (we peel back the paper on the stick of butter and wipe it on the pan), as needed, and stacking the panqueques after they are cooked.
Spread the top of each panqueque with about 2 teaspoons of dulce de leche and fold or shape as desired.
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