Once upon a time I had a French roommate who was wonderful enough to walk me through the steps of crêpe making, and share a few crêpe making tips that she had learned from her grandmother. Amelie told me that there were 5 basic ingredients that go into crêpe batter; eggs, milk, flour, butter, and something to flavor the crêpes with. She suggested rum, brandy, or cognac – and if you do not have any alcohol on hand, lemon zest will do nicely.
I used a recipe adapted from Beth Hensperger’s The Bread Bible in order to get my ingredient measurements correct.
Blend together in a blender:
- 4 Eggs
- 1 1/2 cups Milk
- 1 cup Flour
- 6 tbsp melted Butter
- 2 tbsp cognac, rum, or brandy (or the zest of one lemon)
- dash of salt if you used unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp sugar if you prefer sweeter crêpes
Place the batter in the refrigerator for a few hours or even overnight. Letting the batter sit for awhile will settle and release the air bubbles that have formed during the blending process and help meld the flavors together. If the batter separates during this time – do not despair – just stir it gently.
When you are ready to start cooking your crêpes preheat your pan and remove the batter from the refrigerator. Amelie taught me a very neat trick for keep your pan well greased so that the crêpes do not stick. She takes a fork and wraps a paper towel around it. She secures the paper towel to the fork by attaching a rubber band to its base. She then pours a little cooking oil or melted butter into a shallow bowl and sets the fork in it. From then on out, every time your pan starts to get sticky, you can just take the fork and rub it along the bottom of the pan to grease it.
Once your pan is preheated and greased, you can pour out the batter for your first crêpe into the middle of the pan. Lift the pan off of the stove and swirl the batter so that the batter covers the entire bottom of the pan in a thin layer. You want to do this fast before the batter starts to cook. You also want to keep your layer of batter thin and even. It always takes a few tries to get quantity of batter and the heat of the pan perfect. My Mom always refers to the first crêpe as “the sacrifice”since it has a tendency to be off colored if the heat is not right or lopsided if the amount of batter is off. What a yummy sacrifice it is – I usually use the first crêpe as a taste test.
When the bottom side of your crêpe is nice and golden flip the crêpe and cook the other side. Remove the crêpe from the pan and enjoy!
Crêpes are one of those foods that are at their best when eaten right out of the pan while they are still fresh and warm. Fillings for crêpes can range from savoy to sweet. Amelie served up hers with either melted chocolate or cinnamon and sugar for a couple of examples of sweet variations. In the past I have filled my crêpes with sautéed vegetables and a sprinkling of cheddar cheese as an example of a savory variation. The crêpes I made for this post were filled with caramelized apples along with a few slices of a sharp cheddar cheese – a nice seasonal balance of savory and sweet.
Caramelized Apple Filling
Sauté in a hot skillet until caramelized:
- 1 tbsp salted Butter
- 3-4 diced Apples
- 2 tbsp Maple Syrup (you can use brown sugar if you prefer)
- l tsp ground Cinnamon
- a pinch of ground Cloves