Stereotypically, one of the best parts of living in Paris was getting to frequent the crêpe stands. Most of my crêpes were eaten late-night, on the way home from the bars. I’d sometimes snag a nutella-banana crêpe on Rue Mouffetard, but the savory crêpes around Odéon were the best. We visited a few sit-down crêpe restaurants as well, where all of the crêpes were served plated rather than folded and held by hand. The biggest difference between sweet and savory crêpes is the batter, and it makes me crazy when restaurants here at home wrap savory ingredients in a non-Buckwheat crêpe. I have been making a lot of savory crêpes at home recently, and once you get the hang of the technique, it’s deliciously easy to eat them all the time.
Crêpe batter is NOTHING to be intimidated of. To make it, weigh out 3 ounces of all-purpose flour and 1 ounce of buckwheat flour. Set the flour aside.
Into a blender, crack 2 eggs. Then, pour in 1.5 cups of milk and 1.5 tablespoons of melted butter. Add in a pinch of salt. Put the lid on the blender, and combine those ingredients. Remove the center of the blender’s lid, and with the blender running, slowly add in the flours. Turn the blender off once the batter is smooth.
It’s easiest to get perfectly round crêpes using a crêpe pan. I like using a well-seasoned steel crêpe pan. It should be flat on the bottom with angled sides. The clear division between the bottom and the sides keeps the crêpe batter in a defined circle. A normal frying pan would let the batter run up higher, but you can certainly use one if it’s all you have.
Heat your pan over medium heat. Before pouring the batter in for each crêpe, lightly brush the pan with vegetable oil. Pick up the pan in one hand, and then use a ladle to pour in just enough batter to coat the bottom of the pan. As soon as the batter hits the pan, use your wrist to rotate the pan around to spread the batter in a circle. Your pan should be at a temperature so that the batter begins to set as soon as it hits the pan, but it shouldn’t cook so quickly that it forms bubbles and isn’t able to spread.
Return the pan to the heat, and once the crêpe looks dry, run a flat rubber spatula around the edges of the crêpe. Stick the spatula under the crêpe, and flip it over. You could use your fingers to flip the crêpe, but I mess it up almost every time that way. The spatula is much easier. Let the crêpe cook for about 30 seconds on the second side, just until it begins to brown. Transfer the crêpe to a sheet of wax paper. Continue making crêpes, remembering to brush the pan with oil before each one. To make crêpes even faster, you can get into a great rhythm and work two pans at once!
Once you have a stack of crêpes, you can either begin filling and eating them immediately, or you can wrap them well in wax paper and tin foil and freeze them. Crêpes defrost quickly and beautifully. It has been great keeping them on hand for a quick breakfast or a fun way to use up leftovers. I’ve filled them with mozzarella cheese, chicken, basil, and tomatoes- warmed a crêpe piled with the ingredients on a pan, folded it up, and drizzled it with balsamic vinegar. Amazing!
Breakfast crêpes are also really delicious. To make them, sweat some diced onion and minced garlic in a pan. Pour in whisked eggs, and scramble them. Remove the eggs from the pan, wipe the pan out, and set in a crêpe with its more golden side facing down (the golden side should end up showing for a prettier presentation). Lower the heat. Sprinkle cheese over half of the crêpe, making sure to get cheese over the edges. One crêpe stand in Paris would sprinkle a ton of swiss cheese over the edge of the crêpe, and it would get brown and crispy and stand up like a beautiful fan. It was my favorite part. Top the cheese with the scrambled egg, and season it with salt and pepper. Top the eggs with something fresh and crunchy, like pea shoots.
Once the cheese starts to melt, fold over the empty half of the crêpe. Allow the bottom of the crêpe to continue crisping. If you’d like, you can fold the crêpe in half again, which makes it easier to eat by hand. If you plan on eating it plated, you can play around with whatever folding technique looks prettiest to you. I LOVE these crêpes. Go forth, make them, and have a wonderful Bastille Day!
- All-purpose flour- 3 ounces
- Buckwheat flour- 1 ounce
- Eggs- 2
- Milk- 1.5 cups
- Butter- 1.5 tablespoons
- Salt- Pinch
- Oil for pan
Nutella and banana is great, but ham and cheese is good too. 🙂 Actually I’ve never used buckwheat flour, how does this change the texture? Your crepes are deliciously thin looking, I presume that comes from a thin batter? I’ve not managed that level of delicacy myself but am encouraged to try again!
The buckwheat flour doesn’t change the texture very much- it’s a little bit grainier- but it changes the flavor, bringing in more nuttiness. These crepes are very thin! The ratios in the recipe make a thin batter, but other things contribute to thinness as well: not putting too much batter in the pan and keeping the pan at a temperature that allows you to spread the batter around before it sets.
Pingback: Nutella-Banana Crêpes | Witty in the City