Crepes – Not Scary At All

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I have wanted to make crepes for years, but put it off because I thought they were hard to make. I’m not sure what magic skills I thought I needed to make what really are just egg-rich, very thin pancakes. If you can make pancakes, you can make crepes.

There is a crepe cart in the town in Colorado where we have vacationed with Rich’s parents. They have the crepe-making process down to a science, with special crepe griddles and a spatula to spread the batter out in an even layer. In the past we have tried their cheesecake crepes, s’mores crepes and simpler crepes filled with melted chocolate or sugar and butter. This year when we went for crepes, the line stretched halfway down the block and the wait was over an hour. We skipped the crepes and vowed to make our own when we got home.

Once I made the leap and decided to try my own crepes, I figured I needed a new skillet to make them in. We got rid of all our nonstick pans a few years ago, after wearing out several sets. We only have stainless steel pans and I thought we might have trouble with sticking. I picked up a 10-inch nonstick skillet at Marshall’s for $10 and we were ready to make some crepes.

Calvin and I mixed up the batter Friday afternoon, in less than ten minutes. We heated the pan while we mixed the batter and then started making our crepes. Once we figured out the swirling technique, we were fighting over who got to make the next crepe. In about half an hour we had 12 crepes stacked up, ready to fill. They weren’t all pretty, but even the most irregular and pale of the bunch still looked pretty good to us. And no matter what they looked like, each delicately thin crepe was deceptively rich, deliciously eggy and fragrant with vanilla.

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We used some of the batch for dessert that night ­– reheating them one at a time in a lightly buttered skillet. Calvin had a s’more crepe, with chocolate chips, marshmallows and crushed graham crackers. We covered half with the toppings and then folded the other half over. A few minutes in the hot pan for each side and the chocolate was melted and the marshmallows were warm and puffy. Rich and I brushed ours with melted butter and then sprinkled them with brown sugar and cinnamon before folding them in quarters.

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The rest of the batch we saved for Saturday’s breakfast. In the morning we sweetened ricotta with a little honey and vanilla and spread it over half of each crepe. A sprinkling of blueberries gilded the lily. We rolled them up and browned them in a little butter to make a decadent breakfast. What a way to start the weekend!

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Don’t let the mystique of crepes turn you off from trying these. They take minutes to whisk together and not much longer than that to make. Make a batch when you have a spare thirty minutes and then store them in the freezer for when you want a quick, elegant breakfast or dessert. Or sprinkle them with a few chocolate chips, heat them in a pan until the chocolate melts and eat them while you stand by the stove. I won’t tell.

Download or print the recipe here.

Basic Crepes
Adapted from Farm Journal’s “Homemade Breads”
by The Cook’s Life
Makes 10-12 crepes (8 inch)

¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla (omit if making savory crepes)
1 tablespoon butter, melted, for pan

Heat a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat while mixing crepes.

Stir flour, sugar and salt together in a bowl with a whisk. In a separate bowl beat eggs until well combined. Add milk and vanilla and beat again. Add about half of the egg mixture to the flour mixture and whisk until smooth. Add the remaining egg mixture and whisk again.

Lightly brush the hot skillet with melted butter. You don’t need much.

Pour slightly less than ¼ cup of batter in the middle of the pan. Quickly pick the pan up and swirl it in a circular motion until the batter forms a thin circle, about 8 inches in diameter. Don’t worry about any tentacles that form around the outside of the circle. You can trim them off later if they bother you. Every crepe will be closer to round as you get the hang of swirling the pan.

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Cook the crepe until the edges start to brown lightly and the top looks dry all over. Ease a spatula under the edge and use your fingers to help you turn the crepe over. If it folds up on itself, just spread it back out as you turn it over. Cook the second side until lightly browned.

Remove crepe to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining batter to make 10-12 crepes. As the crepes cool, you can stack them to keep them from drying out.

Use immediately, or cool them on the rack. Store crepes in a stack in an airtight container or ziplock bag at room temperature. If you are keeping them more than a day or two, freeze them. Thaw at room temperature for a few hours or in the fridge overnight, still in their container.

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13 thoughts on “Crepes – Not Scary At All

  1. Sarah,
    Crepes demystified? Is there anything you cannot do?
    I’m half tempted to try on my mom’s lefse griddle, but perhaps I need to find a non stick pan.
    The sweetened ricotta and blueberry breakfast crepes look just delicious.
    Thanks!

    • Not sure how they would work on the lefse griddle, since I have never seen one, or made lefse. The batter is very, very thin. Not sure how it compares to lefse batter (dough?). Care to do a post on lefse sometime, Kirsten?

      We really enjoyed the breakfast crepes – we are definitely repeating those again soon. Quick, simple and elegant, even when we are in our old pajamas and barely awake.

  2. Now you can make blintzes! I actually prefer a regular steel crepe pan, and have two of ’em. Like cast iron, once they’re well used/seasoned, the crepes just slide right off, and they’re actually easier to use than a regular, sided skillet, for me anyway. Have fun, and enjoy your yummy crepes!

    • The sides do kind of get in the way. After I got the skillet, I realized I probably could have made crepes in one of my trusty cast iron pans. And I even have a cast iron flat griddle/baker – no sides. Now I need to make more crepes to see how it works. Oh, the burden…

  3. I love crepes but haven’t made them in ages. I use a well seasoned iron crepe pan that I’ve had for ages & it’s never let me down. Do you remember when there were crepe restaurants on every corner? At least here in the Boston area we went through a crepe phase & I wish those places were still around.

    • I’m definitely going to pull out my cast iron and try that next time. I think I missed the crepe restaurant phase – I grew up in a rural area. But a nice crepe restaurant opened up about three years ago in St. Louis – breakfast and lunch crepes. They do a mean bacon, egg and cheese crepe. But now that I can make my own crepes, who needs to pay to eat them in restaurants! 🙂

      • Creperies were sort of a ‘rage’ during the late ’60’s, and early 70’s, down here in S. Florida. Then, you also had the ‘continental’ restaurants, which did the whole flaming crepes Suzette thingie, as a grand finale, to your dining experience!…lol!

        • Was that the same time that people were giving fondue pots as wedding presents? Ooh la la! The Farm Journal cookbook I adapted the crepe recipe from had directions for crepes Suzette. Not sure I want to do the flaming thing in my dining room…

          • Yes! Fondue! Everybody had to have one…lol! Whenever I see one in a thrift store, in a color shade that was popular back then…the set always looks like it was never, ever used! We also had a set. No party was complete without that.

            Some of my most favorite cookbooks are the Farm Journal ones, especially the cakes books…good stuff!

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