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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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.