Give Crepes a Chance

Crepes have never been my favorite. Perhaps it’s because they are too much like pancakes, which are not my first preference; perhaps it’s their skin-like flabbiness or the speed with which they cool; or perhaps it’s their intimidating orneriness and delicacy when cooking.

At any rate, since Jeremy is gone at a workshop in California, I decided to give crepes a chance. I figured that if I messed them up horribly, I should still be able to get enough edible crepes to feed one. As it turned out, they were incredibly easy to make, even if the first few were seriously pale. I used my 8″ fry pan because that is my only non-stick skillet, and it made small crepes, but they were easier to handle because of it. I had absolutely no problems with sticking or tearing, but then, I wasn’t going for the world’s thinnest crepes.

I ate several crepes smeared with the chocolate-pear jam that I made last year from Mes Confitures, and it had thickened up nicely into a perfect filling. (It is also delectible dolloped onto vanilla yogurt, which may be my new favorite “healthy” dessert.) I also had a few crepes with cashew butter, banana slices and honey, which sounded good but was not my favorite; and one with Nutella, because I just couldn’t resist. The rest of the crepes went in the fridge layered with plastic wrap, and I’ll see how they taste tonight.

So, the verdict on crepes? Not so bad after all, and definitely not scary to make. I’m still leery of the idea of savory crepes, which seems fussily strange and French to me, but maybe I’ll call them crespelle and try some Italian recipes at some point. 🙂 Oh, and might have to try this one as well.

Crepes a la Alton Brown

2 large eggs
¾ cup milk
½ cup water
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons melted butter
More melted butter, for coating the pan

*Savory Variation: Add ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ cup chopped fresh herbs, spinach, green onion, or sun-dried tomatoes to the egg mixture.

*Sweet Variation: Add 2 ½ tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of your favorite liqueur to the egg mixture.

In a blender, combine all of the ingredients and pulse for 10 seconds. Place the crepe batter in the refrigerator for 1 hour. This allows the bubbles to subside so the crepes will be less likely to tear during cooking. The batter will keep for up to 48 hours. You can thin it out with more water for a thinner, more delicate crêpe, or use cornstarch, or a different type of flour (rice, buckwheat, quinoa, etc.)

Heat a small (8-10″) non-stick pan over medium heat until a drop of water tossed in sizzles; using a silicone brush, brush sparingly with melted butter to coat. Pour a small of batter into the center of the pan and swirl to spread evenly; you should put in just enough batter to thinly coat the bottom of the pan; immediately pour any excess batter back in the blender. Cook for 2-3 minutes (until golden brown underneath—the top will appear matte with lacy browning edges that pull away from the pan) and flip. Cook for another 15 seconds and lay them out flat to cool, or let hungry diners start assembling personalized crepes. Continue until all batter is gone.

After the crepes have cooled, you can stack them between layers of plastic wrap or parchment paper and store in sealable plastic bags in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for up to two months. When using frozen crepes, thaw on a rack before gently peeling apart.

Source: Adapted from Good Eats with Alton Brown.

Update 3/30/07: They worked just fine straight from the fridge, and it was nice to have some in there for snacking. Lasted at least two days, and the edges have only dried out a bit. I wouldn’t leave them much longer than that, but since I ate them all, that experiment will have to wait for another time.

Update 4/16/07: I made another batch of these for breakfast last weekend. Jeremy was happy to taste test, but he didn’t like them as well as he expected. Crepes seem to be one of those things he doesn’t really care for, but keeps thinking he does (like Cream of Wheat). I made half of them at once, and he ate them fresh off the skillet, but seemed to like them a bit better when I rolled up a batch after turning the burner off. We had them with strawberry jam, quince jelly, pear-chocolate spread, and Nutella. I cooked up the rest of the crepes the next afternoon for a snack, and the batter held well, though it needed some stirring because of the liquid gathering on top. They make an easy utensil-free meal or snack, so I think they’ll find an occasional place in my repertoire.

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