Crepes

RECIPE #265, DAY #443

FIVE STARS

ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Crepes” from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook, as well as the wisdom of a French woman in America in the 1980s*

TIMING: 30 minutes? I couldn’t tell you, because my husband always makes these and he is much more laid back in the kitchen than I am

DIFFICULTY: Verging on difficult. Technique is tantamount

TOOLS: A crepe pan or something very similar, a ladle, and a very thin spatula

COOK TYPE: Stovetop

dsc_0644HEALTH: The health of a crepe breakfast (or dinner) is going to entirely depend upon what you put inside your crepe. The crepe itself does have a little protein and a small amount of fat, but is largely made up of white flour. (I would suggest buying a nice, organic, unbleached flour.) My favorite crepe is the one pictured above, with strawberries and whipped cream. (I made my whipped cream with just a touch of vanilla and maple syrup, so not totally bad. Strawberries are good for you.) My second-favorite crepe is ham and neufchatel (or cream cheese). That’s a good option. Any fruit, veggie, or lean protein is a good idea (but of course, my family just loves to slather jam, honey, or sugar and cinnamon on theirs.)

dsc_0642EXPERIENCE: This is a Flaherty family standard. However, the crepes in our house–unlike almost anything else–are not made by me. My husband had the luck to grow up with a mom whose best friend was French. And a foodie. So besides snagging her coveted clafouti recipe for our wedding, he spent some formative years in her kitchen. The best result of this is that quite frequently, we all wake up to the aromas and sounds of Kevin and his crepes.

He has perfected them over the years. It’s not the the recipe needed any changing, but that making crepes takes a certain amount of experience, trial, and finesse, as well as the right tools. It takes time to acquire most of this, including the tools. We now have a crepe pan (which is a very flat, circular, naturally non-stick affair) and are in the market for a larger one, a stainless steel ladle with a  shiny smooth underside (and are in the market for a wooden one), and a fish spatula as well as a couple other steel models.

On the very rare occasion that I have made crepes, it has revealed itself that Kevin and I do things a little different. I have to defer to him, of course, but I have my own style. For example, he pours the batter in and swirls the pan to spread it paper-thin. I dump the batter in the middle and swirl it toward the outside in concentric circles with the back of the ladle. He serves crepes hot off the pan, calling out, “Who wants the next one?” until we’ve eaten them all. I prefer to stack them up and set the table with our daily filling options, then sit everyone down like a typical meal. He likes sweet fillings. I like savory. He rolls his crepe around the filling. I fold mine into quarters.

In the end, no matter the particulars, if you can master crepes it will be the kind of food you can always whip up and will make any normal event feel special. And taste wonderful.

NOTES: I firmly believe that your crepe filling has to be light. I am never going to put pulled meat or chunky, firm veggies in my crepes. Crepes–with their fillings–should be bordering on ethereal.

Crepe filling options:

  • Berries and whipped cream
  • Nutella (or other nut-cocoa spread)
  • Ham and cream cheese (or neufchatel)
  • Sweetened cream cheese and fruit (grapes, blueberries…)
  • Peanut butter and bananas
  • Chocolate sauce with fresh fruit (cherries, berries…)
  • Sweetened ricotta with fresh fruit (peaches, plums, mandarin oranges…)
  • Caramel with apples (sauteed apples in caramel sauce)
  • Jam
  • Honey
  • Dulce de leche
  • Sauteed mushrooms
  • Caramelized onions
  • Creamed spinach
  • Roasted bell peppers with Swiss cheese
  • Sour cream with one of the above veggies
  • Blue cheese with a French-style veggie puree (broccoli, pea…)
  • Crema and mushy peas (It’s a British thing)
  • Cream cheese and herbs
  • Garlicky white bean puree and microgreens

I believe you can make crepe batter in the blender, same as Dutch Baby.

You may omit the vanilla for savory crepes. Also, maybe maybe the sugar.

I say here to use about 1/4 cup batter, but you are going to have to adjust according to your pan. Carefully measure each portion, however, to remain consistent.

Your first crepe or two of each batch will probably suck. Keep going.

***

  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon fine salt.
  2. Whisk in 2 cups whole milk, 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 2 beaten eggs. Continue to whisk until smooth.
  3. Heat your crepe pan or skillet over medium heat. Butter the pan if it needs it. When hot, pour about 1/4 cup batter into the middle and quickly use either the tipping or ladle technique (discussed above) to spread the batter as evenly and thin as possible.
  4. When bottom of crepe is shiny and beginning to brown, carefully loosen the entire edge and flip over to second side. It will only take a few seconds more to cook the crepe through and brown the second side.
  5. Remove and stack on a platter, optionally separating with wax paper, parchment paper, or paper towel. Repeat until batter is gone.

Serve alongside a choice of some of the above fillings. A mimosa would be nice.

*Recipe has been changed from the original.

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