Food You Can Eat: Crêpes

The breakfast of champions

Image via Jack Slobodian

As you probably know, there are two types of crêpes, sweet and savory. What I’ve done here is provided the base recipe and then tell you how to customize for both versions. Do this and you’ll get about 16 crêpes, and I plan on at least 2 crêpes per person.

In a blender, add 3 eggs, 1 1/4 cups flour, 1 cup milk, 1 cup water, a little melted butter (maybe 1/4 stick) and a little salt, like 1 shake from a salt shaker. Pulse this all together until smooth (this will take mere seconds) and put it in the fridge for a little bit. You do this to calm the batter down and make it easier and more reliable to work with. I use a blender here because you want everything to mix very smoothly and you don’t really want to spend much time in the process (for your own sake and the batter’s), which you would unless you’ve been running a sidewalk crêpe stand in francophone Europe for the last few years.

Use a crêpe pan if you have one but if you don’t, don’t experience FOMO (I don’t have one), just use a small frying pan. Use either non-stick or spray to make it non-stick. Don’t use your huge cast-iron ovenproof skillet. Heat the pan with some butter, maybe 1/4 stick. 

Pour a little batter into the center and tilt-n-swirl until you get a very thin layer. Let it sit on the heat untouched for about 30 seconds, then flip and do the other side for a few seconds so cooked through. Repeat until you’ve used up all the batter. You have to be very, very skillful in the flipping. This is the toughest part. Shake the pan, look the crêpe squarely in the equivalent of its eye, lift, and with your dominant hand give it a little more lift and twitch and catch it as it turns. With a little practice this isn’t difficult. You might have done this with pancakes, which is pretty much what a crêpe is.

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To make sweet crêpes, add 1 tbsp. sugar and a little vanilla extract if you have any, but this isn’t crucial, to the batter. Fill your crêpes with a fruity jam or everyone’s favorite, Nutella, or both. Fold into thirds and serve seam-side down, or fold over to make a half-moon. Dust with sugar if you want. If fruit-filled, you can top with some diced version of the fruit you’ve used, among many other options. You can also fill the crêpes and roll them like a cigar to make what seems to me, along with goulash, to be the Hungarian national dish, palacsinta.

To make savory crêpes, add 4 tbsp./ 1/4 cup of something like Herbes de Provence or your own herb mixture to the batter. Fill with almost anything. It’s been my experience that French ones will have cheese, like Gruyère, and then mushrooms and/or tomatoes. I sometimes fill mine with a shellfish filling, like crab. A quick way to make a meal out of these is to fill with a warm mixture of shredded chicken and cheese, I’ve used Swiss.

Really, with crêpes, all things are possible.

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2 Comments

  1. Mm. I love crepes, but I never make them. Or I guess I did once at French club in high school haha.

    Nothing beats a strawberry and Nutella crepe, though I do enjoy a simple lemon juice and powdered sugar one too. Or apple and cheddar or brie.

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