Crepes? Mais, Oui!

Every other week or so I make crepes. My family goes nuts. You’d think I told them we were going to shovel sugar straight from the sugar bowl into our mouths. Of course, that’s not too far off reality. Crepes (once filled) are sweet. Crepes are also fattening.

Crepes are delicious.

In fact, when I’m feeling unappreciated, I simply pull out the eggs and announce a crepe night. They kiss and hug me and thank me over and over.

I suggest you learn to make crepes, too. What mom doesn’t need extra hugs and kisses?

Occasionally I’ve seen overpriced packages of pre-made crepes at the supermarket. There’s no need to buy those. Crepes are inexpensive and easy to make on your own. Once you get the knack of twirling your pan, you can wow your friends and family with your French culinary skills. Imitate Maurice Chevalier or Lumiere the Candlestick as you prepare the batter. Poof out your lips a little and say “Voila,” and “Je t’aime.” Exclaim “Mais, oui!” and “Sacre bleu!” and “Oh-la-la!” often. They’ll be so impressed, especially if they are mono-linguistic Americans.

Disclaimer: I am not French. I’ve never lived in France. I did not learn to make these from a French chef or even a French maman. I’m just making this clear in case any authentic French reader visits and frowns upon my Americanized methods. I am a self-taught crepe-maker. My family doesn’t complain, and I don’t think my blog readers will, either. I think you’ll thank me. And I’m pretty sure your kids will, too.

Speaking of authentic French readers, watch this short video of a traditional crepe maker in France. I want to warn you: the sous-chef slathers Nutella all over the crepes, so try to remain calm and relaxed. I’m telling you in advance so that you can get something to dab at the corners of your mouth, you know, in case of spontaneous salivation.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UduFOACMabM]

Tools:

Skillet

To make crepes at home, you don’t need the industrial crepe-machine or the little wooden gadget to spin the batter thin. You will, however, need a big skillet. If you have one with sides that kind of angle, that’s an easier design for slipping the spatula underneath the crepe.

My favorite skillet for crepes was a Teflon-coated number–Teflon makes flipping them much easier. I am, however, phasing out Teflon from my kitchen. I now use a stainless steel pan and have to spray it each time with something like Pam or wipe it with a little butter-paper to slick it up. If you use a stainless steel pan, oil or butter it each time. For each and every crepe. They like to stick, so I’m just telling you to do it every time because you might be tempted to skip just once, and then you can’t blame me if it tears. (If, however, you don’t listen and it sticks and tears as you try to flip it, eat it anyway. It’ll still taste good, especially with Nutella.)

My current stainless steel skillet is deep with steep sides, and I’ve been able to make it work for crepes, so don’t worry too much about the sides. Use what you have. If you use Teflon, you won’t have to be as diligent with the oiling.

Spatula

I use a regular old spatula you’d use for pancakes, but if you have a skinny one, you could try it.

Sifter

I rarely sift flour for recipes, but I find that I must for crepes. Otherwise the batter is lumpy. Crepes are so thin, they are unforgiving. No lumps allowed.

Whisk or Hand Blender

A whisk is the best tool for whipping up the ingredients by hand. I have an electric hand blender that I use sometimes to fluff up the eggs. I suppose you could use a normal blender, though I never have. It doesn’t seem as earthy as a whisk or as easy to pull out and rinse off as a hand blender.

Ingredients:

We have three versions–small, medium and large. My family of six can eat the large amount and more–I can hardly flip them fast enough. This is my own recipe–a combination of several that I’ve tried over the years.

Small

  • 3 eggs (you can use fewer–some people use one large egg or two small)
  • 1 1/3 C milk
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 T melted butter
  • 1 C flour (I’m told you can swap in whole wheat flour, but I’ve never tried)
  • 1/2 t salt2 T sugar (optional, in my opinion, because you’re going to sprinkle sweet things inside before eating)

Medium (doubled)

  • 6 eggs (I’ve gotten by using one fewer, but consistency does change)
  • 2 2/3 C milk
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 4 T melted butter
  • 2 C flour
  • 1 t salt
  • 4 T sugar (optional)

For Large, I add more flour and milk to the recipe without changing anything else. Because I know what consistency the batter should be, I just monkey around until it looks right. They turn out lovely, which is why the number of eggs is iffy. Once you become an expert crepe-maker, you can fiddle around with the recipe and let me know how you modified it.

Directions:

  • Blend the eggs with whisk or hand blender until fluffy.
  • Add vanilla and melted butter.
  • Sift flour (important step) and salt (and sugar) into the egg mixture, mixing as you sift.
  • Add some milk and then alternate flour and milk, mixing all the while. Batter should be smooth.
  • Ladle the batter (or pour a 1/4 or 1/3 C measuring cup) onto a hot skillet, spinning the skillet for a very thin crepe.

Spinning the crepe: The young lady in this YouTube video demonstrates the ladling and spinning step quite nicely, even if her camera operator’s giggling narration is a bit self-conscious. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khwP-ngVPOo]

  • Lift the crepe with your spatula to peek at the bottom and see if the crepe is lightly browned–refer to the French street vendor’s version in the first video as a doneness guide. Turn it with a spatula. (Some people like to flip them like an omelette, but why tempt fate? In fact, the previous video clip ends with a failed aerial flip–further evidence that using a spatula is the best beginner’s method for successful crepe preparation.) The edge of the crepe will lift up slightly from the pan–even seem a little dry sometimes–when it’s ready.

Note: I find that my first crepe of the evening often turns out odd in some way. Don’t be discouraged if your first few tear, get too brown or turn out irregular in some way.

  • Flop the finished crepe onto the waiting child’s plate or the serving plate. You can make several and keep them warm in the oven. You can also make them all in advance for company (trouble is, they’ll miss all the “oh-la-la’ing” and “Sacre bleu’ing”). Stack them with wax paper between each crepe and store them in the fridge. You can heat them briefly at the last minute in a warm skillet like you would a tortilla.

Fun Fillings:

Here’s the fun part: Filling and rolling (and eating) the crepes.

  • Sprinkle brown sugar inside and roll up with a fork (you can fold into thirds like the street vendor, if you prefer)
  • Spread a line of your favorite jam or preserves inside before rolling–you can even add some whipped cream (my Belgian-born-and-raised sister-in-law uses Reddi-wip)
  • Nutella, of course
  • Nutella with bananas
  • Syrup, if you’re feeling rather American
  • Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries–any berries (with or without cream)
  • Lemon and sugar

You can Google for more filling ideas, but we use what we have on hand. The kids love it simple.If my overly detailed instructions are too hard to follow, watch this guy’s step-by-step cooking-show-style instructions. The first four minutes are about making crepes (then he modifies the recipe to make pancakes).[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MdWKc2NHj48]

Crepes work-for-me-Wednesday, as well as Saturday, Sunday, my birthday–any day!

The kids think so, too.

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  • Comments

    1. We love crepes too! My seven year old makes them about three times a week but I always get suckered into the flipping part. We fill ours with strawberry jam and sour cream. Yum!

    2. Yum, I haven’t made crepes in years. My crepe recipe book disappeared during one of our moves. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    3. This is an amazing post. So informative! I feel like I could make crepes… maybe I’ll be brave enough to try now. Thanks so much. I can tell a lot of effort went into this post.

    4. I’ve never had crepes but always saw them on food network and wanted to try. You have inspired me to make them for our next Breakfast for dinner night. Or maybe this weekend I’ll make a Crepe night!!!! Do you have any savory recipes?

      Thanks for the detailed recipe!!!! I can’t wait to try!

    5. Yum. I think maybe these might be something my whole family would like – that’s saying a lot. Thanks for the tip!

    6. Thank you so much for sharing this. I love crepes – I’ll try to do a homemade one based on this :) – I do not cook well, so wish me luck!

    7. thelazyorg: Sour cream! I never would have thought of that, but what a delicious idea!

      laughingmommy & Liza: I’m not normally a confident or talented cook, so be assured that crepes are not difficult to make at all. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to pull it off week after week. Go for it!

      Trisha: We’ve never made the savory fillings, but years ago my parents took me to a crepe restaurant that had some delicious main course crepes–I remember loving a creamy, cheesy sauce with chicken (try Cooks.com). I don’t have any personal recipes, but I’ve seen easy suggestions, like melting cheeses in them, or layering tomato slices and mozzarella. Also, this restaurant menu lists some yummy ideas–just learn to make a bechamel sauce (or use one of those packets at the grocery store–just add water or maybe milk).

      http://www.yellowcupcafe.com/menu/maincourse.htm

    8. Mmmmm… Crepes are so delicious and easy. I have no excuse for not making them; I even have the “Le Cordon Bleu Cookbook” that shows how to do all of this. Alas, I am a lazy, forgetful cook.

      BUT, I think I’ll make crepes tonight because I need to feel alot more appreciated and I want those hugs and kisses! And really, I want to eat something fattening.

      And Nutella – oh, now that brings back some great college memories… hazelnut chocolate and a spoon…

    9. Maybe I will be brave some evening and try this. It sounds great!

    10. This was so awesome! The guy cooks like me…hasn’t a clue what a measuring spoon is for! I bookmarked this as I just have to make crepes!

      Thanks bunches!

    11. If I want to make a savory crepe, could I leave out the vanilla as well as the sugar?

    12. Shalee: Sounds like you’re the expert!

      GiBee: Yes, leave out the vanilla and sugar. It’ll seem very plain, but the texture will be there. I just saw a mouth-watering recipe for a cream sauce with ham, chicken and mushrooms; another with seafood and cheese.

      Everybody: Whoever cooks some savory crepes, please let me know how they turn out and what become your favorite versions.

    13. That makes me want to rush out and buy the ingredients. Or better yet, hit a restaurant that serves a good crepe, and I’m not talking IHOP.

      Now I’m starving.

    14. We absolutely adore crepes in this house. In fact, we had to stop making them so often because I could feel the weight just packing on. Some of our favorite toppings are Nutella, freshly made whip cream, bananas and powdered sugar and butter. We also like ham and cheese dinner crepes.

      If there weren’t so many cobwebs in my head, I would have left the comment in French, but 3 years of high school language is just too long ago to remember. However, my husband did live in France and Switzerland for two years.

      But here is one of my friends favorite things to say in French … he really only knows 3 different lines. “Quelquefois il neige dans la salle de bain.” (Translation – Sometimes is snows in the bathroom.)

    15. I appreciate your “overly detailed instructions”. I have always wanted to make crepes but my first attempt was such a disaster that I’ve never tried again. Now I can see several places where I went wrong.

    16. CanadianCarrie says:

      Excellent detail!! I haven’t made crepes in years, I may try them this weekend. A friend in school had her mom, who is from France, teach a few of us how to make them years ago. I lost the original recipe though! She also had us try Escargot!

    17. I’ve always wanted to make crepes, since I’m actually part French, but I’ve been too scared to try. How big of pan do you need? I’ve got a stainless steel skillet with tapered edges, but it’s a bit heavy. I think I’ll try a smaller one the first time.

    18. Yummy!

    19. Wow!!

      I got a little ambitious and made your recipe for my wife (breakfast in bed) because everytime we go to IHOP, she orders crepes!

      They turned out SO GREAT!! yippee! Big brownie points this morning. Thank you!!

      I took strawberry and raspberry yogurt and mixed them, taking one spoonful and lightly coating the crepe’s inside once out of the skillet.

      BTW. Pam on Teflon was Awesome! not one stick at all. In fact, my stove is slightly tilted (old) and when the crepes were ready to flip, the started sliding on their own a wee bit. :)

      Also, I took a peach and grated it into the batter before cooking. That was a nice little treat in each one too. Sprinkle a little cinammon on one side, add some powdered sugar on top and oila!

      I didn’t quite (probably being a male who doesn’t cook often) understand your instruction to rotate or turn the skillet while ladelling (sp?) the batter into it, so after trial and error, I picked up the skillet and as I was pouring the batter from the ladle I would turn the skillet in the air making the batter go as far out from center as possible. The more I did it the thinner they got!! Thanks!

      Your recipe, by the way, came up on top of the list of google searches for “how to make awesome crepes”. Way to go!

      Many thanks,

      Rob

    20. You crack me up, Ann. Hey, I added your link to the Link Thing. Hopefully now you’ll get more people over here seeking your amazing French-but-not-French crepe miraculousness.

    21. I’m really enjoying the theme/design of your blog. Do you ever run into any web browser compatibility problems? A number of my blog readers have complained about my blog not working correctly in Explorer but looks great in Safari. Do you have any solutions to help fix this issue?

    22. I have found this website that gives a lot information and trends about gadgets and best of all the Hot Links takes you to great websites with free recipes and tips. WOW!!!

    Trackbacks

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    2. [...] you Ann for your awesome crepes recipe and easy-to-follow instructions. I even bought Nutella on her recommendation and that was delicious as well! We got jiggy with it [...]

    3. [...] Besides, it can be delicious (quiche, anyone? Pizza? Crepes?). [...]

    4. [...] posted my Americanized, Ann-icized recipe for crepes several months ago. Crepe-night makes the entire family ecstatic, and is easy, fast, and cheap to [...]

    5. [...] an alternative to coffee cake, I could make a big stack of crepes Saturday evening that can be reheated Sunday morning. Yes, I like crepes. Everyone likes [...]

    6. [...] same sense of comfort, that wholeness she describes, when we gather around the table and roll up crepes or pour maple syrup over homemade [...]

    7. [...] breakfast request on their big day. I used to be able to guess pretty accurately who would ask for crepes and who would want chocolate [...]

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