In case you didn’t know, my boyfriend is French. To the disappointment of one of my co-workers, he doesn’t wear v-neck t-shirts, and he sounds more British than French when speaking English. Without knowing him, it’s very difficult to figure out where he’s from, especially since his accent is slowly diminishing from residing in the US and since he doesn’t do anything that particularly screams “France” in daily life.
One thing he does do, though, is make crepes.
Ben has made crepes a few times for me, although I’d made them a couple of times before I met him. Now the responsibility has wholly been passed to the one who likes to cook, and I make crepes several times a year.
From my experience, people are really impressed by crepes. I have no idea why. They aren’t complicated; in fact, they’re pretty basic. The little pancakes themselves taste good, but the filling is the key to their deliciousness. I think their foreign sound makes people ooh and ahh, but once you start cooking them, you realize that their preparation actually requires very little effort.
This is a very basic recipe, and it works for savory and dessert crepes. Savory fillings that I often use are almost any kind of cheese, Laughing Cow cheese (it spreads very easily), deli meat, tomatoes, spinach and sauteed mushrooms. Swiss and sauteed mushrooms are quite good together, as well as Swiss or Laughing Cow with a slice of turkey, a little tomato and raw spinach with a dab of dijon mustard. Sweet fillings can go from easy to elaborate: Nutella, raspberry jam, cinnamon sugar, sugar with a spritz of lemon, dulce de leche, poached and sliced pears, apple or cherry compote, and many more. There’s not right or wrong filling– I tend to go with easy ingredients that I have on hand.
Notes: The smallest pan I have is a 9-inch non-stick. You definitely want to go with non-stick, and I wouldn’t go any larger than 10 inches–that makes quite a large crepe.
My non-stick pan has a heavy bottom, so I can’t flip my crepes in the air. I use a silicon spatula, loosening the crepe from the outer edges of the pan and then briskly flipping it over with the spatula close to the middle.
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon table salt
3 large eggs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
1. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together flour, sugar and salt.
2. Add eggs to the bowl, and whisk into flour mixture. It will probably ball up into the whisk. Push the dough through the whisk with your fingers, and continue to whisk until well combined. The dough will be yellow, and there will probably still be some loose flour balled into the whisk.
3. Pour milk into bowl, and continue to whisk, about 5-7 minutes, until the milk is well incorporated and the batter is uniform. At first, the batter will be clumpy, but keep going– it’ll get smooth.
4. Cover bowl and let the batter rest in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. Remove from the refrigerator when ready to prepare. The egg whites will have separated some, so give the batter a quick mix.
5. Heat a small (I use 9-inch and get pretty large crepes) non-stick skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Lightly spread butter on the surface of the pan. I just take a stick and run the small end around the pan. Once the pan is hot, using a ⅓ cup measure, pour a little less than ⅓ cup of the batter into the pan, holding the pan with the other hand and tipping the pan so the batter spreads thinly over the bottom of the pan. Cook until lightly golden brown, about 1 minute. Use a rubber spatula to gently loosen the crepe from the sides of the pan, and then place about half of the spatula under the crepe. Quickly pick up and flip the crepe. Cook for about another minute, until this side has a handful of golden bubbles. Slide the spatula under the crepe and transfer to a plate.
6. Continue step 5 until you’ve made as many crepes as desired or used all of the batter. It’s not necessary to add new butter to the pan each time– only add butter after you notice that it takes more effort to loosen the crepes when you go to flip them. Either eat crepes fresh off the stove with desired fillings, or let cool and store in the refrigerator for a day. The batter will last 3 days covered in the refrigerator.