February 2nd, exactly 40 days after Christmas Day, is Candlemas. (The rumor is that if your Christmas decorations are left up after this day it is bad luck!) Candlemas is also known as the Feast of the Presentation of Christ, which according to Jewish tradition is when a ritual cleansing would be preformed at the temple. After the purification rite Jesus was blessed by two elders, who knew that something was special about him. St. Simeon said that he could depart in peace because he finally had seen the light to the gentiles. Following the theme of light, this is the day that all the candles of the church are blessed for use—commissioning them to shine the light of Christ.
February 2nd is also a quarter-day. It is half-way between the winter solstice and the Spring equinox. This then became a day to mark the beginning of early spring and the beginning of the planting season. This solar quarter-day is the origin of groundhog day, which is also about light and shadow. The theology of Candlemas means that Jesus the eternal light has no shadow and now it is eternal spring!
Our recipe for Candlemas is crepes. Crepes on Candlemas is a French tradition. It is so popular in France that some even call the day “Crepe Day.” The eating of these flat cakes goes back to ancient Roman times during celebrations of the god Pan, during this same season. That custom was passed both to Candlemas with crepes and Fat Tuesday with pancakes. They are a prefect way to use up lard and eggs before the lenten fast begins.
There is no wrong way to eat a crepe. We’ve chosen to fold them in quarters and top them with selection of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, bananas, powdered sugar and Nutella. But you can also place your fillings inside and roll them like a burrito for an easy on-the-go snack. These fruit-filled crepes are a celebration of Spring reminding us that new life is coming and the light shines!
Pictured Above: The presentation of Christ in the Temple by Hans Holbein the Elder (1501); Tempera and oil painting on fir wood; Housed at the Hamburger Kunsthalle art museum in Hamburg, Germany.
Resting Time: 1 hour | Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes | Makes about (12) 10″ crepes
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk
4 large eggs
4 tablespoons butter, melted
- In a large bowl, whisk the 2 cups all-purpose flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a mixing bowl.
- In a smaller bowl, whisk together the 1 1/2 cups whole milk and 4 large eggs.
- Slowly pour the liquid mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients, whisking until the liquid is fairly smooth. A few lumps may remain.
- Stir in the 4 tablespoons melted butter.
- Cover the batter and let it rest for an hour.
- Using a paper towel, wipe the bottom of a 10” non-stick skillet with a very thin layer of butter. Heat the pan until it is medium-hot. (Finding the perfect temperature for the ideal color crepe is the hardest part. Adjust the temperature between each crepe, if needed, to find that perfect temp.)
- In a singular motion, while holding the pan in the air, pour just 1/3 cup of batter into the bottom of the pan and then rotate and tip the pan in a circular direction until the batter covers the entire bottom of the pan. (If you don’t do this quickly it will start to cook and will no longer spread. It takes a little practice.)
- Cook until the bottom of the crepe begins to brown, about 1 minute. Using a spatula and your fingers (careful, it is hot) flip the crepe. Cook the other side until set, about 1 minute or less. Place on plate, cover, and cook the remaining crepes.
- Enjoy the crepes with the toppings or fillings of your choice. Fresh fruit works great along with creams, Nutella, and peanut butter.