The crêpe is to the pancake as the croissant is to the biscuit: seemingly elite food that is too ‘fancy’ for the sweatpants and bed-head of Sunday morning. The truth is it is just as easy to whip up the ingredients for crepes as it is for pancakes and making them with other people almost always turns into a party. Nevertheless, the snooty reputation of the crepe endures so I invite you to put aside the Bisquick next Sunday and prepare to swirl and dazzle.
Good crepe technique can take a few tries. It helps to have an 8” non-stick pan but if you only have a regular 8” just make sure you’ve put in ample butter. After you have made your batter locate a ¼ cup to keep at the ready. Heat your pan over medium-high flame until good and hot and then add a pat of butter to prevent sticking (even with a non-stick pan). Pour approximately ¼ cup of batter into your pan and swirl it around until the batter has covered the entire bottom of the pan. The crepes will cook quickly – you should turn them in less than a minute. Cook the other side for another 20 seconds or so and then slide the crepe off the pan onto a plate. Personally, I always mangle the first two crepes until I get my swirl technique down but mangled crepes taste just as good as perfect ones.
Once you have your rhythm and timing down, test your pan to see if the crepe moves easily and if it does, go ahead and try a chefy-style flip using just the pan to turn the crepe over (Pro tip: firmly holding the handle, use a forward-up motion). If you succeed in a complete flip, I guarantee you will get a “hurrah” from all those present in the kitchen and the mood will brighten accordingly. Go ahead and put on a French accent or, if you are of a certain age, your best Swedish chef or Julia Child. Funny accents, launching food. See? Not snooty.
Dessert Crepe Recipe (adapted from The Way to Cook by Julia Child, Knopf, 1989)
- 1 cup flour
- 2 large whole egg, plus 2 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 tbs melted butter
- 2 Tbs rum or bourbon
- 2 tbs sugar
- Pinch of salt
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Let rest for ten minutes then proceed with technique described above.
When you have a stack of finished crepes, you can wrap them in foil and keep them warm in a 200 degree oven. When ready to eat, lay them on a plate and drizzle with maple syrup, roll up and consume.