A brief tutorial on how to make crêpes at home, no crêperie required. Just you, your stove and a bit of batter and you’ll have a plate full of thin pancakes in no time at all.
I’ve always wanted to live abroad, even if just for a short time. While the dream of leaving and exploring was there, the reality was and is that I remain fully rooted in the Midwest.
In college I was a single parent. In order to declare my Spanish major, I had to get the mandatory study abroad waived. Rather than live somewhere new and explore, I sat in my apartment and cooked, dreaming of leaving. I volunteered at an ESL school teaching English instead.
One of my younger sisters, Rachel, lived in France for a year. Last year my youngest brother spent the year in Australia and Thailand. I am still cooking. I traded in my single-parent stripes for a rambler, a few more kids and a husband, but not in that order.
When my sister returned from France, she brought with her a new and intense appreciation for the culture of their food. She sought out hard-to-find cheeses at the market and hoarded good French mustard like it was going out of style. She told tales of kabobs and crêpes from street vendors. I seethed with jealousy.
When I stopped the pity party, however, I did what I do. With no way to visit the crêperie myself, I needed to learn to make the treats I was missing out on while I was holed up at home.
For the full on crêpe experience, we’re going to start by combining Julia Child’s and Alton Brown’s views into a collective wisdom. You’ll need a blender or a bowl, whisk and your arm. Eggs, milk and water are added here.
To the eggs and milk, add in flour, melted butter and a bit of salt. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender as necessary. (Hint: It’s necessary if the flour sticks to the sides.) This goes for a rest in the fridge to get rid of some of the bubbles and to help the crêpe-flipping process go a bit easier.
When it’s time to cook, heat a pan with rounded edges over medium-high heat. Add in a bit of butter to grease and then lift the pan off the burner. Pour in just enough crêpe batter to cover the bottom, 1-2 ounces depending on the size of your pan. Immediately swirl the pan to distribute the crêpe batter evenly.
Cook the crêpe for 30 seconds or so. Run a heatproof spatula around the edge of the crêpe to get it unstuck from the sides. Slowly slide the spatula down the center of the crêpe and then flip.
Slide the crêpes into a flat pile and let them cool a bit while you repeat the process and make more crêpes.
And that’s it. Pretty basic, no? Now, for the filling, which is my favorite part of the crêpe. You could go sweet with fruit and ricotta spread inside, or you can leave it nice and simple with a dusting of powdered sugar or a drizzle of honey. The savory options are always good, too. A crêpe filled with chicken and mushrooms in a light sauce or topped with prosciutto and an egg are great meal options for any time of day.
TIP: Make a large batch and place a small piece of parchment between the crepes and freeze. Reheat easily in the oven on low heat or in the microwave for just a 20-30 seconds.
If you’re wondering, no, I still have not been to France, nor have I ventured to Australia. My sister, the youngest of us five, is only 15 and will probably head out before I do at the rate I’m going. However, I get back at them by making crêpes, putting pictures on the internet and then not inviting them over to share. Neener, neener.
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup water
2 cups flour
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
extra butter for frying
In a blender combine eggs, milk, water, flour and melted butter. Blend until well incorporated, scraping the sides of the blender as necessary. Allow to sit in the fridge for at least an hour but no longer than 36 hours.
When you’re ready to make the crepes, head a medium to large frying pan with rounded sides over medium-high heat. Add in a small tab of butter and immediately once the butter is melted pour in 1-2 ounces of batter, swirling the pan above the burner to coat the bottom evenly. Return the pan to the burner and allow the crepe to cook for 30-45 seconds.
Using a heatproof spatula, lift the edges of the crêpe to unstick them from the sides of the pan. Carefully slide the spatula down the center of the crêpe, lift up and flip to the other side. Allow to cook another 10 seconds or so. Slide the crêpe to a flat surface. (Note: The first crepe usually does not come out of the pan perfectly. Set off to the side and continue on.) Repeat, adding small dabs of butter as necessary.
Makes 25-35 crêpes.