(Please note, these are dessert crepes, so are slightly sweeter than the kind you would make for the main meal. Those are awesome as well, but for a different day.)
French Crepes are easy to make (with only a little practice), very few ingredients (all of which are common), and will delight and inspire your guests. I invite the guests to join me in the kitchen, and sit around the island talking while I make them, switching between two pans on the stove-top to get them done a little faster. The guests then fill them with an assortment of fillings, based on what i liked that day. Fresh fruits, like strawberries and blueberries, chocolate spread (I prefer Justin’s Hazelnut Butter over Nutella), whipped cream, caramel syrup, nuts, and almost all Sundae Toppings are always a hit.
If there is a trick to this, and I am not saying there is, it would be to figure out the heat setting on your stove to cook them to golden brown without cooking them too quickly, so you have time to swirl them around the pan before they set. Say, start with medium, and let the pan get warm for a couple of minutes before you start. Oh, and a good non-stick pan is a major help. Oh, and make the batter the night before you want to cook them so the it can rest, or at least a few hours before.
Don;t let any of that intimidate you. The batter is cheap, mostly flour and butter, so make twice what you want and play with it. It really is worth doing.
Let’s bring on the photos!
Make the batter beforehand, in a blender. It beats hand whisking every time (at least for crepes).
When ready, I use a measuring cup to get the right amount for the pan. I use 1/3 cup for a 10″ pan. Once the pan is good and hot, i wipe it down with a little butter on a paper towel, not a lot, just a hint of it. Then pour in the measures batter all at once, and start swirling the pan to make a nice thin coating across the entire bottom of the pan.
Let that cook over the heat for a little bit, may 30-60 seconds, then check under the edge with a spatula. You are looking for a nice, golden brown, and a little shake on the pan should have the crepe move loosely.
When it looks good, flip it over. My inner self always wants to do a large flourish of the pan to flip it, but that’s just me wanting to show off. It is much easier to use the spatula and kind of pick it up in the middle and unfold it on it’s other side. It also ends up with a lot less broken, lost, or messed up crepes.
The second side needs less time than the first side, and won’t get all golden brown, but it will set and get some brown spots, then slide it out of the pan and onto a waiting plate. Cover the plate with a clean dish towel, or right onto a guests plate, but be careful to not burn them with the pan.
And that’s it! add some filling, less is often more so don’t overfill them, and roll them up.
Your guests will thank you. Several times.
Recipe is taken from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by the wonderful Julia Childs. If you don’t have it, go buy it. Now. I’ll wait. It’s simple instructions and detailed recipes will make you a better cook, and the book is truly amazing.
- ¾ cup milk
- ¾ cup cold water
- 3 egg yokes
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup flour
- 5 tablespoons melted butter
- Put all the ingredients into the blender in the order they are listed. Cover and blend at top speed for one minute. Scrape down the sides and blend again for a few seconds. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or better overnight.
- heat a non-stick pan over medium heat for a few minutes until hot. Wipe with a very small amount of butter. Pour in about ⅓ cup of batter and slowly swirl around until the bottom of the pan is covered. Cook for 30 seconds to a minute, until golden brown, then flip over (using spatula, fingers, or wrist flip of the pan. Be careful to not burn yourself.) 30 seconds on the second side, and remove from pan.
- Repeat until all batter is used.