Crepes are one one of those brunch dishes that just seems extra special. They’re so delicate, exuding a touch of luxury.
Classically we think of folding fruit or a combo of fruit and perhaps whipped cream or mascarpone cheese inside, and then dusting them with icing sugar.
We grew up rolling them up with jam on the inside. Russian friends of mine roll their crepes up and then dip them into sweetened condensed milk! Personally these days, I just sprinkle a bit of cinnamon sugar on them, roll them up and call it a day. Jim just loves them with maple syrup. But if I’m in Paris, I will look for the first creperie I can find and get one filled with creme de marron. Dreamy!
For special occasions, or for a lazy day off (because admit it, they do take a little bit of work) I like making up a batch, and letting everyone top them the way they want.
Stuffed crepes, or blintzes are even more fun. It’s a little package just waiting to be opened up. Drizzle some chocolate sauce over them with some spiked whipped cream and all is good in the world.
Back in the day, when I was waiting on tables, one restaurant I worked at also served savoury crepes. In the 80’s it was so trendy to serve chicken and broccoli in crepes topped with a mornay sauce in. Savoury crepes are due for a real comeback, if you ask me!! We also served these amazing savoury stuffed crepes for Sunday Brunch. I loved what the chef did with cottage cheese, peppers and onions. Here is a Mexican version of that beloved dish that I came up a while back!
Below is the recipe for classic crepes that I rely on. I show two ways of preparing the batter. In a bowl with a whisk, or in a blender. I will say, placing all the ingredients in a blender ensures that you will have no lumps in the batter. But even if you do get a lump or two from the hand mixing method, no one will notice!
It is so easy to make these savoury or sweet, depending on what you add to the batter. Some chopped fresh thyme and cracked pepper, and these are perfect for savoury blintzes or dinner crepes. Add some lemon zest and extra sugar, and they are lovely wrapped around macerated fruit and sweetened mascarpone cheese. Or add some cocoa for colour! Sometimes I’ll use alternative flours, like chestnut or buckwheat. I’ll share these recipes as well one day soon.
Make these your own. And make extra to freeze. If you’re going to go to all the work to prepare the batter and stand in front of a stove to make these babies, you might as well make a good whack of them. They freeze beautifully with a piece of wax paper between each one. And then put them all in a freezer bag. Take out what you need, thaw, and reheat in a pan sprayed with veggie spray over low heat. Alternatively you can thaw and then wrap a few in tinfoil and warm up an oven set to 300F.
The beginning of a beautiful meal starts with these classic crepes. From here the world is your oyster as you transform them into blintzes, or savoury stuffed crepes. Even a crepe cake if you so desire!
- 1 1/2 cups AP flour
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil or butter, melted and cooled
- vegetable or avocado oil, or butter for frying up the crepe
Sift the flour and salt in a bowl.
Break eggs into another bowl and beat lightly with a whisk.
Pour the eggs into a small well you've made in the flour. Stir the flour in the centre to catch some of the eggs, with a spoon. Keep mixing this way until they are all incorporated
Slowly add 1/3 of the milk. When the milk is totally incorporated, add the next portion. At this point you can switch to a whisk. And then finally the last portion. Make sure you work out all the lumps.
Add the melted butter or oil. Mix and cover. Let set for at least 1 hour or even overnight before using the batter.
Add the ingredients in the reverse order listed into a blender. Blend at lowest speed until all starts to incorporate. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula. Bring it up to a middle speed and blend until smooth. About 20 seconds. Cover and store until needed.
Pour the batter into a pitcher. This is easier than taking a spoon or measuring cup to transfer batter to the pan.
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in crepe pan (should be around 6-8 inch in diameter with low sides) Pour out the excess oil once heated over medium to medium high heat. I keep all the oil I may need in a small bowl by the stove for this process. I use a silicone brush to add oil after each crepe.
Lift the pan from the heat and pour in just enough batter to cover the bottom when you gently swirl the pan around to move the batter to all sides. You will quickly realize if you are using too much or too little. Too much will result in a thick crepe that takes too long to cook; too little, and you won't be able to stretch the batter to fill the bottom of the pan.
Return the pan to the medium heat. Cook until the crepe is set and the edges are drying. Slide the spatula (I use a small offset spatula- it works perfectly) under the crepe to loosen it. Lift it carefully and turn it gently over and back into the pan. In just a few seconds, the second side should start to turn golden brown. Shake the pan to loosen the crepe. With the aid of the spatula if needed, slide it onto a plate. Adjust heat as needed.
Keep doing so with all the batter, adding the crepes to the first one on the plate. This amount of batter should yield 12-16 crepes. It really depends on the size of pan you are using, and how good you are at not overfilling the pan with batter! Don't worry, you'll get the hang of it. The first one is AWAYS lousy! For the cook 🙂
If not using right away, use wax paper to separate each crepe and then wrap up in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. They can be frozen till needed.
You can remove as needed, thaw and reheat in a covered pan over medium low heat. Or you can wrap a few thawed crepes in tinfoil and warm in a 300F oven