One of my favorite things to make for breakfast on a Sunday morning is a big pile of crepes. Crepes are super-thin pancakes that can be sweet or savory and are filled with all kinds of delicious things. Sweet crepes can be filled with fruit, jam, Nutella, Greek yogurt, whipped cream, even ice cream as a dessert. Savory crepes are served with sautéed ham, mushrooms, onions, cheese, scrambled eggs or seafood. They’re also wonderful simply folded or rolled up and topped with honey, maple syrup or cinnamon sugar. If you substitute buckwheat flour for all purpose white flour, your crepes will be gluten free! You can do just about anything you like with crepes. And despite what you might think, they’re easy to make. With the right equipment and a little technique, you can become an expert crepe maker in no time.
In order to make crepes, you need to have a small non-stick skillet. You could spend a lot of money on a crepe pan specifically made for this task. But it’s not necessary, a regular old 6 or 8 inch non-stick skillet will work beautifully. And it must be non-stick for this preparation. You’ll also need a small wooden or plastic spatula to free the crepes from the pan and flip them.
The recipe for the batter varies based on how you plan to serve your crepes. If its savory crepes you desire leave out the sugar and if you’d like a little spice, add a dash of cayenne pepper. For sweet crepes, you can add vanilla and I also like to grate a little lemon or orange zest into the batter.
3 large eggs
2 cups of whole milk
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of white sugar
a pinch of salt
2 tablespoons of melted butter
The batter can be made in a blender, but I use my hand mixer. This can also be done by hand with a whisk. Wisk the eggs and milk together until they’re well blended, then sift in the flour, sugar and salt. The batter should be thin and pourable, but have some body, similar to the consistency of heavy cream. It’s also good to let the batter rest for at least an hour, even overnight, before proceeding. The melted butter is the last thing that goes in before you start making crepes. When you’re ready to begin, put your skillet on the stove over medium heat and start melting your butter.
As soon as it’s melted, pour it into the batter and mix it in. The butter that’s left in the pan will create the perfect non-stick surface to start making crepes. This is where technique comes into play.
Now, keep in mind that the first crepe or two will come out funky. These are your test crepes and until the pan is the perfect temperature, your crepes may be a little limp and floppy. When the remaining butter in the pan begins to bubble, pour a little batter into the pan and tilt the pan around so that the batter covers the entire surface of the pan in a relatively thin layer. If you don’t have enough batter to cover the surface of the pan, dribble a little bit of batter over the exposed surface. The batter begins to set up quickly when it hits the hot pan, so you have to act fast. Set the pan back on the stove until you see the edges of the crepe begin to brown slightly. Using the edge of your spatula, gently lift the crepe up and flip it over in the pan. The crepe should be lightly golden brown. Cook it briefly on the other side until it browns slightly, and then turn the crepe out onto a plate. It should not be necessary to butter the pan between each crepe, but every third or fourth crepe, slip a small knob of butter into the pan. If you have too much butter in the pan, you can pour the excess back into the batter. Because they are buttery, you can stack the crepes up as you go and they shouldn’t stick together.
I like my crepes with fresh fruit and a little maple syrup. If you want to get fancy, melt a couple tablespoons of butter in the pan, then put in a couple tablespoons of honey and a dash of cinnamon and let them all melt together for a couple of minutes. Drizzle this cinnamon honey butter over the warm crepes and enjoy. This recipe makes a lot of crepes, at least two dozen, but they freeze very well. Wrap whatever you don’t eat in plastic wrap and put it in a freezer bag and they’ll keep in the freezer for several months. This is a great recipe to impress your house guests. Make these crepes and they’ll talk about it like you’re a five star chef for years to come. Give them a try; it’s a lot easier than you think.