Crêpes

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I’ve had a love affair with crêpes since I was a little girl, which is when I learned how to make them. I would make a “stack,” sprinkle a little white sugar on them, and eat them just like that for breakfast.

My first introduction to crêpes was when my mother made Crêpes Suzette. My French friend Stéphane from My French Heaven gave me some interesting factoids about this fabulous, flaming dessert and crêpes in general!

♥ Crèpes Suzette is a recent thing: In the early 1900’s, Edward VI was having crêpes in a restaurant on the riviera. The chef had flambéed Grand Marnier with them. Edward asked the waitress what it was but she didn’t have a name for the dish. So the king asked what her name was, which was Suzette. They have been called crêpes Suzette ever since.

♥ As for savory crêpes, they are an ancient specialty from Bretagne. They are made with black wheat and are called galettes. Only the sweet ones can be called crêpes.

A galette with ham and egg

A galette with ham and egg

♥ You eat crêpes with apple cider always as they produce a lot of apples there (Bretagne is close to Normandy).

♥ The restaurants where they serve crêpes only are called crêperies. The best ones have a chef who is a Maître Crêpier.

Photo from retagne by Stephane Gabart

Photo from Bretagne by Stephane Gabart

After seeing the above photo, I put Bretagne on my travel bucket list. Besides, I want to one day try the real deal in a crêperie.

There are many different recipes for crêpe batter, and I’m sure they’re all good. The only rule in making the batter for crêpes, to me, is the consistency. Once you have that, you get proper crêpes. If the batter is too thick, you get pancakes, if it’s too thin, you get mush.

Here is a basic recipe for crêpes, whether you’re going to use them in a sweet or savory manner:

Crêpes
makes about 20

3 large eggs
1 1/2 cup milk
6 tablespoons oil*
Couple pinches of salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour

Whisk together the egg, milk, and salt together well in a medium bowl. Gradually add the flour, whisking gently but not over-whisking, until it is all incorporated and there are no flour lumps.


Set the bowl aside for at least 5 minutes to make sure it doesn’t thicken. If it does, add a tiny bit of milk or even water to get the consistency back to where it should be.

To prepare to make the crêpes, have a well-seasoned crêpe pan on hand. Mine has angled sides and an 8″ flat bottom, made from steel. I’ve had it for 42 years. I know this, because my mother sent me off to college with the same pan!

Also have on hand some butter, the batter and large spoon (about 1/4 cup capacity is perfect), a spatula, and a plate on which to place the cooked crêpes. I always use a very sturdy but thin, flat spatula to help lift the thin pancakes.

Heat a little dab of butter over medium-high heat in the crêpe pan. I personally prefer butter because of the flavor. You might have to start with about a teaspoon of butter, and subsequently use about 1/2 teaspoon per crêpe.

crep2

Before starting, give the crêpe batter a whisk. Now is the time to test its thickness. Add a little liquid if necessary.

crep3

When the butter is hot, add a full spoonful, or approximately 1/4 cup of batter, to the pan. With the other hand, turn and tilt the pan until the crêpe batter has covered the whole bottom of the pan. Cook for no more than 30 seconds, then turn over gently with the spatula and cook for no more than 10 seconds. Place immediately on the plate by sliding or flipping over.


crep4
The cooked crêpe should be lightly golden, especially on the first side, but not browned. Adjust your burner setting accordingly, keeping in mind that if the heat is too low, the batter will just sit there and nothing will happen.

The pan has to be hot enough to “grab” the batter. If the pan is too hot, it will cause the batter to become bubbly and you probably won’t be able to spread it around. Sometimes the first crêpe is a dud because you must test the heat of the pan, and the batter.

Continue with the remaining batter.
crep5
These crêpes will hold well for a day or two, covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator. Then you can use them as you want. They must be brought to room temperature first, or they will not roll or fold without breaking. Even a little heating in the microwave will help make them more malleable.
crep7
Besides some sugar, crêpes are also good with a little jam and some berries!

* When I make savory or sweet crêpes I use olive oil, but if you prefer, you can use a flavorless oil. Also, if you want a sweeter dessert crêpe, you can add a little sugar to the batter.

104 thoughts on “Crêpes

  1. I’ve been making sweet and savory crepes for a long time – I have 3 out of 5 recipes posted already. I love them too and all the recipes you can make using them. Any time I made any crepes Gene always expected a couple extra so he could make his Crepes Suzette. He created his own dessert :)

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  2. you learn something new every day… well, more like 20 new things just by reading your post It’s pretty awesome. I had no idea about the names or the flour choice. I don’t think I’ve ever had a proper savoury crepe then. Every restaurant I’ve had them, they are made with AP flour. I gotta try this. Thanks so much for this link! There are many creperies around here in Vancouver but those too like they are made with AP flour. I’ll investigate :)

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  3. YUM! True story: My daughter forsook crepes because the first ones she tried were on an airplane and contained ricotta and raisins. I made her try a crepe when we went to Paris and she has never looked back since.

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  4. Wow. I love crepes, but have started making them with one egg to half a banana. Don’t knock it till you try it :). My mom made crepes suzettes with grande marnier. I too want to go to Bretagne!!!

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    • You can use butter in the batter as well. I personally think the oil helps with the smoothness of the batter. And it keeps the crepes from sticking. But I will always cook them in butter!

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  5. Thanks SO much for sharing! I too love crepes, but I have never thought of making them myself (I guess it always seemed too “hard” haha). Now I’ll definitely give it a go :)

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  6. Oh I love, love LOVE crepes! I’m so glad that you wrote about them because I used to make them all the time but just haven’t for ages. I’ve been trying to come up with something other than the same old, same old and I think I’ve found the solution. Now I’m going to have to go through my oldest recipes to try to find this seafood crepe that I used to make that was fabulous. I’m pretty sure it had scallops in it but that’s about all I remember – except that it was at least 25 years ago (I can remember making it in my old house … see how I remember things by associating?). At least that narrows down the possible files and cookbooks to maybe a half dozen.

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  7. I am so impressed! You made these perfect crepes when you were a little girl? Wow. I’ve always thought those thin, luscious crepes would be too difficult to make at home. But now you’ve given me plenty of tips, and I’m going to tackle them. Maybe for company this weekend. . . .after I’ve practiced of course.

    I think one of the fun things about gourmet cooking is growing the courage to try new things. I wonder if the waitress Suzette possessed an inkling of how famous she would be come.
    Thank you for inspiring me.
    RuthAnn
    inspiringcuisine.com

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  8. You really make me want to try these with my fresh blackberry jam! I am constantly silently annoyed that the locals call these pancakes and snub my fluffy buttermilk babies. Ah well.

    Seafood crepes? Oh ya, must try that too.

    My hubs just killed three of our chickens this week and I am so excited to try spatchcocking. He claims that is my new favourite word and insists it must be a cockeral not a hen, as the name implies that. Whatever. If it makes him happy then why not.

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  9. Such thin crepes are called blini in Russia, and I absolutely love them! They are perfect with any filling! I like your tip that you wrote above for Diane- to make white sauce and add fish. I usually just add cured or smoked salmon and cream cheese, but with some sauce on side crepes sound interesting; almost a new dish! :)

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    • I think just about anything in crepes would be good! I’ve even made a beef bourguignon filling – no white sauce in sight – and it was wonderful. So, aren’t all blini made from buckwheat?

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