Crêpes

My mom asked my brother and I what we wanted for a nice Christmas morning breakfast. A flurry of ideas flew through my cortex. Did I want waffles? We don’t have a good waffle maker. How about poached eggs? Nah, that won’t do. Pancakes? Overdone. Maybe sausages. Nope; forgot to buy them the night before. In the car a brilliant idea hit me and I exclaimed, “crêpes!” But we didn’t have a crêpe pan…what. to. do.

I went to bed after watching Four Christmases with the family (in case you were thinking of seeing it…don’t) and drinking a considerable amount of wine following the Beef Bourguignon.  The next morning, I awoke to a surprise. You guessed it — crêpes!  Biggest secret is you don’t need a crêpe pan!  Any shallow, non-stick will do.  Read on if you want to build up an appetite.

history

Right from Acadie’s website, crêpes started out in the northwest of France (near the English Channel in a region called Brittany) and were originally made from buckwheat, not white flour, because buckwheat was cheaper and easier to grow.  Because of the texture and flavor of the buckwheat, they were originally savoury crêpes, but when farmers became wealthier and experimented using white flour and sugar, desert crêpes were invented.  Nowadays, crêpes are made all over France and are becoming increasingly popular outside of France with some fantastic crêperies sprouting up everywhere.  As far as applications go, here are a few awesome ideas.

basic crêpe recipe

  • 1 cup flour (sifted)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbs melted butter (can brown for nuttiness)

Blend all the ingredients for 30 seconds and then let sit (crucial step to making uniform and thin crêpes; 20m-1h) to let air bubbles out. Use nonstick pan (shallower the better) over medium-high heat and butter it. First crêpe will most likely fail, but after that the pan should be correctly lubed for the rest of the batch. It’s important to pour the batter (approx. 1/4 cup per crêpe) on one side and then to swirl the batter around the pan. It’s also better to pour too little batter rather than too much (ensures thinner crêpes; if you pour too little just add some in the non-covered spot). Let the ‘public’-side (as Julia calls the side that is presented) brown nicely and then flip — about 2 minutes to brown, or until the edges start to brown and curl away from the pan’s surface. It should be flippable with your hand, but some use a very thin spatula.

crepe spatulas
You’ll also notice when professionals make them in crêperies, they use a large flat iron griddle and use a wooden “T” to ensure the uniformity of the thickness of each crêpe after the batter is ladled down.

sweet crêpe ideas

  • *batter changes*: adding vanilla/cinnamon/honey/powdered sugar; half and half instead of milk; cake flour for fluffy ones? i don’t know; orange zest or other extracts/oils; juice/water mix instead of just water; flavored liquers
  • banana, chocolate (Nutella or likewise), whipped cream, nuts (hazelnuts if using Nutella)
  • berries (macerated in small amt of acidic juice — orange/lemon/lime/etc. — and sugar), cream
  • cobbler (peach/apple) with syrup and nuts, cream
  • ice cream with walnut syrup and/or honey
  • layered cake: layer some filling between crêpes to make cake and bake –> slice –> eat

savory crêpe ideas

  • *batter changes*: fresh herbs; stock/water mix instead of just water; wheat flour; browning butter or use heartier fat like lard/butter mix?
  • duxelles (this is too good) — it’s an onion/mushroom paste (see good eats video at end of post)
  • bbq meat – chicken, pulled pork, roast beef / pot roast
  • glazed fish with veggies? – almost seems a waste to hide it, but it would taste good
  • fruit + cheese + nuts – (as I did, with pears and Brillat-Savarin cheese from whole foods)
  • layered cake: layer some filling between crêpes to make cake and bake –> slice –> eat

references and other media

sites

  1. Menu – Acadie’s – CA
  2. Menu – Flip Happy – TX
  3. Menu – Simply Crêpes – NY
  4. Menu – The Crêpe Cafe
  5. basic crêpe receipe
  6. crêpes images on google
  7. crêpes images on deviantart
  8. crêpe wiki

pics (some of crêpes and some of france i just really liked)

double-boiler melting chocolate
folding in whipped cream
a finished crepe
another finished one
savoury fillings
sweet crepe, wiki
sweet crepe, wiki
stacked crepes, wiki
seaside near crozon peninsula, wiki
cap frehel in brittany, wiki
island of brehat, wiki
awesome pic of monaco
awesome pic of monaco

vids

good eats – s5e3 – crêpe expectations

*update*

Made another batch a week ago and added some corriander leaves and red chili powder to the batter. We also made a modified duxelles by sweating onions and mushrooms (standard), then added some garlic and zucchini and finally a good helping of manchego cheese. We had some avocados lying around so I thinly sliced them and put them down before the duxelles mixture and added a heart of romaine and a line of hot sauce. It was awesome. We also used the same batter (savory batter + sweet filling is fun) to make desert crêpes filled with banana, blackberries, walnuts, almond butter, whipped cream and maple syrup. ooh-de-lally.
savoury crepe update
modified duxelles
sweet crepe update

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