The first time I had crepes was in Paris. It was December, near Christmas, and it was a cool evening. There was a man, standing over a hot griddle that was powered by an open flame. He skillfully ladled batter over the griddle, spreading it with the back of the ladle, and asked what we would like in our crepe. I was traveling with a friend, and we ordered a sweet crêpe, filled with strawberry jam, and a savory crêpe of ham and cheese. He flipped the crêpes, filled them, let the toppings warm and bubble, and then folded the crêpe in four, handing them to us with a paper napkin. They were truly delightful.
A few years later, I went back to Paris, and instead of finding fire flamed griddles, I found the crêpe makers housed in little, white mobile coaches. The last time, I was in Paris, even those carts seemed to have disappeared, but the crêpes were still glorious.
Crêpes are very thin pancakes which can be filled with sweets or savories. They can be added to your tea menu, or served as a side dish or dessert, for dinner, or a main course.
1 cup of Milk
1 cup of Flour
½ teaspoon of Salt
2 tablespoons of melted Butter
In a blender, mix milk and eggs. Add flour and salt, and mix well, then pour melted butter, into batter, and mix again. Let this mixture rest for 30 minutes.
It is nice to have a crêpe pan, but for years I made crêpes in a skillet, you can too. Or, you can use a griddle, though it will be harder to control the shape. The first crêpe is always a throwaway, or tester. The secret to good crêpes is that you are going to use a very small amount of batter, to create a very thin crêpe. Unlike American pancakes, which I happen to love thick and fluffy, crêpes need to be thinner than even a Mexican tortilla. You should use a non-stick surface, as you will not be adding extra oil.
Once the pan is hot, pour a small amount of batter in the skillet. There are little tools to help spread the batter, but I use a ladle or spatula, turn the skillet, to help spread the batter. It will take about 30 seconds on each side, and I usually flip it with my fingers.
A batch of batter usually gives me more crêpes than I need, unless I am making them for a party. They freeze beautifully, so go head and make the batch, stacking them in between sheets of wax paper, and storing the unused crêpes in a large plastic bag, with wax paper sheets left in between crêpes. The wax paper keeps them from sticking, and makes it easy to remove just the quantity you need, the next time you want to serve crêpes.
There are people who use different recipes for sweet and savory crêpes, I use the same recipe. If you like, you can use 2 tablespoons of sugar, to the batter for sweet crêpes; for me, the crêpe is simply a container for the filling, but it should be a lovely container!
You can roll them like cigars, to use as appetizers, with only a small amount of filling. Fold them in three, or make little cones, by folding in half, spreading the filling, and then folding in the sides – there are no wrong ways to fold and fill a crêpe.
Fill the crêpes as you go, or make them first, and then fill them. The filling for crêpes are endless – almost anything you can think of, will work as a filling. The classics include a slice of Swiss cheese and a piece of ham – you can add one or two asparagus spears. Any creamed meat and vegetable combination, like chicken and broccoli – served with or without sauce. Spinach and mushrooms, with or without chicken or ham, are perfect for lunch or tea. Cream cheese whipped with fruit – try some canned tropical fruits, with a couple tablespoons of rum or brandy, kirsch, or any orange liquor. Ice cream and peaches, or ricotta cheese with chocolate chips or cherries – crêpes really are fun – and of course Nutella with strawberries!