Monday, September 26, 2011


Crepes are one of those culinary anomalies that seem really fancy and complicated but are actually quite simple. For the crepe itself you most likely already have all the ingredients in your pantry. Now what you choose to fill them with is entirely up to you. They can be sweet, the option we choose most, or savory. They can be a breakfast, a main dish or a dessert. Once you master the basic recipe and technique you are only limited by your imagination. I like mine filled with jam, my daughter prefers Nutella. On the savory side, a seafood filled crepe with a Beurre Blanc sauce can't be beat.

Now, yes, the ingredients are simple but it's really the equipment that guarantees success. I'm actually not a big fan of single-tasking kitchen equipment but when it comes to crepes the right pan makes all the difference. You can use a small skillet, but, if you think you'll be making a lot of crepes in the future, I highly recommend getting a crepe pan. There are lots of crepe making gadgets out there but really all you need is a French Steel Crepe Pan. They are similar to a cast iron skillet in that you have to season it first before you use it and PLEASE never wash it with soap. I don't really ever wash mine. I just wipe it with a dry paper towel and then coat it with a very thin layer of vegetable oil and store it between paper towels. 

Don't get discouraged on your fist attempt. I tore, overcooked, undercooked and mangled quite a few crepes before I found what works with my stove and pan. But stick with it, it's like riding a bike, once you get it, you get it. Get it? Ok, so arm yourself with the right equipment, some mental fortitude and the ambition to master crepes and go forth and crepe! Allons-y!

Here's what you need: milk (I'm using whole milk here because I had it, but, I usually use non-fat. Use what you have.), eggs, flour, sugar (eliminate the sugar if you are making savory crepes.), melted butter and vanilla (again, eliminate it if you are going the savory route.).

Mix all the ingredients well. I like using a blender but you can use a food processor or whisk it by hand, just get it all well mixed without any lumps of flour. Pour into a container with a lid, cover and refrigerate 2-3 hours or overnight. I usually make my batter the night before.

Get your equipment ready. A 1/4 cup measuring cup (I use this ladle which holds 1/4 cup.) A thin flexible spatula and a french crepe pan. You also need a way to lightly oil your pan between crepes. I like using a folded paper towel "dabber" and a small bowl with about 2-3 tablespoons of veggie oil.

Heat your pan over medium heat. Use the paper towel "dabber" to coat the crepe pan with a very thin layer of oil. Next, holding the crepe pan off the heat in one hand, pour 1/4 cup of batter into the center of the pan. Tilt/swirl the pan until you have a thin layer of batter covering the entire bottom of the pan. Work quickly as the batter will begin to cook as soon as it hits the pan. Put the pan on the heat and gently cook until the surface of the crepe looks dull, no longer wet and shiny.

To flip the crepe, gently work the spatula all the way around the edge of the crepe to loosen it. Then slip the spatula under the center of the crepe. Gently lift and flip it over. Just cook it about 30 seconds after flipping.

Take the pan off the heat and gently slide the crepe onto a plate to cool. Now perfectly made crepes aren't supposed to have browned spots and crispy dry edges. Mine do. I'm not worried about it. It took me a while just to perfect the crepe making technique to this point. Someday I try an take it to the next level, but not today. I'm not going to lose any sleep because my crepes have crispy edges and brown spots, once they are filled and topped no one will even notice or care.

Repeat the cooking process until you are out of batter; oiling the pan between each crepe. Stack them up on a plate to keep them warm. They don't tend to stick to one another because of the butter in the batter and the oil in the pan.

You can use the finished crepes for all sorts of recipes. For a quick breakfast we usually spread them with jam (apricot here). Roll them up and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Yum!

Oh la la. C'est magnifique.

Here is a link to a savory crepe recipe by Lou Seibert Pappas. For the sweet crepe recipe (like I made), scroll down to the bottom of the recipe link and click on "Dessert Crepes".

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