Making a reasonably good crepe at home is not only possible, it’s not even all that difficult. You’ll just need a skillet with shallow sides, basic ingredients, and some patience when you inevitably screw them up once in a while.
When we came back from the farmer’s market a few days ago with a box of the reddest, ripest strawberries we had seen for months, I knew crepes were going on the menu. I also thought it would be a good opportunity to post about how to make your own crepes at home.
I love crepes, especially after our amazing experiences in Tokyo, and so I wanted to learn to make them myself. I found some instructions and some basic guidelines and went from there. And, guess what? I screwed them up. The first ones were thick like pancakes, and undercooked as well. Next, I got thin ones that promptly stuck to the pan and tore to pieces when I tried flipping them. On the third time, I got it right.
Luckily, making crepes is like learning to ride the proverbial bicycle. Once you get the hang of it… well, you’ve got it. So just have fun, is the main thing.
The best pans for crepes are probably the ones made by DuBuyer, specifically for this purpose. They are carbon steel and perfectly flat, with very shallow sides intended for easy transfer of your creations. If you don’t have one, or don’t want to get one, not to worry. Any non-stick pan should do.
You’ll need to mix up some batter first. (recipe below) Make sure it’s smooth and give it some time in the fridge before cooking.
Next, melt some butter on the pan over medium heat. You’ll want a nice, even coating. Let it foam, then settle down again.
Add just enough batter, with a ladle, to spread evenly across the hot pan in a thin layer as you tilt it.
After a minute or so, you will be able to run a thin spatula around the edges of the crepe. Shaking the pan will help to release the crepe from the pan.
Gently slide the spatula under the crepe and, in one smooth motion, flip the crepe over. Don’t worry if you screw one or two of them up, just sprinkle some sugar on them and have them as a snack.
The other side will only take about 30 second or so to cook, just enough to brown it a little.
Remove the pan from the heat and gently slide/shake the crepe onto a paper towel. You may stack several crepes this way for cooling with a paper towel between each. Store in the fridge or serve them hot with filling or toppings such as fruit, chocolate, nutella, honey, nuts, meat – pretty much anything is fair game for a crepe.
Here’s the recipe from the lead photo. It’s kind of fancy, but feel free to start slow and simple with your crepes. A simple preparation of fresh whipped cream and berries is about as good as anything complicated.
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons melted butter, plus additional for brushing
Filling and sauce
- 2 cups chopped rhubarb
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 whole star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 clove
- 2 cups quartered hulled strawberries
- Splash of Grand Marnier or other orange-flavored liqueur
- 1 cup crème fraîche or 2/3 cup whipping cream mixed with 1/3 cup sour cream
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For crepes: Sift flour and salt into large bowl. Whisk milk and eggs in medium bowl. Gradually whisk milk mixture into flour mixture until smooth. Whisk in 2 tablespoons melted butter. Heat crepe pan or 8-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Brush pan with melted butter. Pour in 2 tablespoons crepe mixture, swirling pan to coat bottom. Cook crepe until golden on bottom and set in center, about 30 seconds. Turn crepe and cook until golden spots appear, about 15 seconds. Transfer crepe to paper-towel-lined ovenproof plate. Repeat with remaining batter, placing paper towels between crepes. Cover tightly with foil. Can be made 1 day ahead, chilled in the fridge.
- For filling and sauce: Bring first 6 filling ingredients to boil in heavy large saucepan. Reduce heat to low and simmer until rhubarb is very tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add strawberries and Grand Marnier. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Discard spices. Strain mixture into medium bowl for filling, saving liquid in bowl for sauce. Reduce liquid in a saucepan over high heat to thicken slightly. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover sauce and filling separately and chill. Rewarm sauce and filling before using.
- For topping: Whisk all topping ingredients in medium bowl.
- To serve: Preheat oven to 300°F. Heat covered crepes in oven until warmed through, about 15 minutes. Place 1 crepe on work surface. Spread 1 rounded tablespoon warm filling down center of crepe; roll up. Repeat with remaining crepes. Place 3 crepes on each plate. Drizzle with sauce. Top with a dollop of the whipped crème fraîche.
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