[21] Crêpes, Sweet or Savory

Cover of How to Cook Everything, Revised Edition by Mark Bittman

Okay, so, for starters. I was totally wrong about there being six recipes in the queue. There were only three. This is the first of them.

Secondly, I decided this blog has been sitting idle for far too long, and so I’m just going to work on posting this recipe. There are photos associated with it, but the computer that processes photos is out of commission right now. Thus, while I would love to post some photos at this time, it will not happen. Most likely, this post will be edited later to include the photos. If not that, we will post another entry with photos.

Finally, I have not yet made a single one of the Bayless tweeted recipes. The first two were lost in the chaos of moving, and the most recent one featured mostly foods I do not enjoy. I considered making it anyway, but decided that I did not want to waste the food (or the money on the food). I think, however, I will at some point do a variant on this week’s tweet that does not involve grapefruit juice or tropical fruits (as I do not like most tropical fruits and Bill isn’t home to eat this).

Anyway, you don’t really care about all of that. You come to this blog in search of food, and food is what I shall give you! Today crêpes!

(Actually, crêpes on the 4th of July. Today was cheese & crackers for breakfast. And dinner was delivery.)

h2. Ingredients

1 c all-purpose flour
Pinch salt

1 tbsp sugar (optional; omit for savory crêpes)

1.5 c milk (use more as needed)

2 eggs

2 tbsp butter, melted and cooled, plus unmelted butter for cooking

h2. Instructions

Mix together all the ingredients except the unmelted butter until smooth. He says using a blender is fine. If the mixture isn’t pourable, slowly add milk until it is. Try to let the batter rest (I’m not sure why, that’s just what he says) for at least an hour and up to 24 hours.

Heat the oven to 200°F. Heat a nonstick or very well-seasoned skillet (small, 8″ or 10″) over medium heat. Once it’s pre-heated a couple of minutes, add a touch of butter. Stir the batter with a large spoon or ladle, then poor a TINY amount of batter into the skillet. If you can judge by eyeball, Bittman says “a couple of tablespoons”. Swirl this around until it forms a thin layer, and then pour any excess batter back into the bowl.

After about a minute, when the top of the crêpe is dry, turn the crêpe and cook the other side for 15 – 30 seconds. Don’t overbrown, and remember that crisping it is going to make it rather difficult to fold, so don’t do that either. The first crêpe is unlikely to work out for you, so feed it plain to your dad or something. Or toss it; that’s okay too. Trust me, you’ve got a LOT of batter there.

Repeat the above crêpe-making process until your batter is all used up. Add butter or adjust the heat as needed. As the crêpe come off the skillet, stack them in the oven to fold when they are all made (assuming you want to serve them all at once). You can also fill and fold them while they are in the pan – which allows for the serving of crêpes with warm filling. Just leave the filled crêpe in the pan over low heat briefly.

To fold the crêpes, put some filling in the center of the bottom third and start rolling with that end (into roughly thirds).

h2. Cooking and Consumption Notes

h3. Cooking

Okay, I cannot lie. The notes for both of these sections are going to be somewhat inadequate, as almost a month has passed between the making of the crêpes and the posting of this recipe. For that, I apologize. Moving is always kind of rough. That said, I do remember things, and I will pass them on to you here. Likely, I will make these again in the future, and will post another short entry of just notes.

First, this seems like it will make just gobs of crêpes, but it’s actually a totally reasonable amount for four people. You may have some leftovers (which can be refrigerated & reheated in the oven), but don’t count on it if you’re cooking for four.

Secondly, it’s really, really important to only add a little bit of batter to the pan. More than my first crêpe, many of my first crêpes were bad. Honestly, some of that was inadequate seasoning/buttering of the pan, but most of it was adding WAY TO DAMN MUCH BATTER. This is because, unlike the rest of you fine, astute folks, I didn’t notice the part where I could pour some of the batter back into the batter bowl. So my first few crêpes tended to be thick, and VERY hard to flip.

Most people flip crêpes with their fingers. I used a combination of a super thin turner (spatula, for many people out there – but not Jarrod) and my fingers. Trying to do it with just my fingers alone was asking for a big, fat burn. I suspect, however, that this was partially the result of very hot batter not cooking as quickly as I would like because there was too much of it. So, seriously, don’t overdo the batter.

I found that over-browning and over-crisping were not terrible problems for folding.

Watch your butter usage. Depending on how non-stick your pans are, you may not need much for cooking. I was sure I’d need it for every crêpe, but by the end I wasn’t using any to cook. Not coincidentally, I suspect, my last few crêpes got a lot better. Bill & I own “hard-anodized aluminum cookware”:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0007KQZ3O?ie=UTF8&tag=metaco-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0007KQZ3O and it’s somewhat non-stick already, but not totally1. (Amazon says they are “stick-resistant”.)

h3. Consumption

These were quite tasty. We did simple sweet crêpes (so we put in the sugar), with just jam and plain, non-fat greek yogurt to fill. Oh, so delicious. Much of that was the filling, of course, but that’s what makes these so perfect. They hold up the filling, and allow it to be on display, not competing, but also not totally mundane themselves.

Bittman’s got several variants on crêpes in this recipe. Chances are quite high I’ll be making the almond crêpes as soon as I can. These ones were so good, and those sound super delicious.

I cooked them for my parents, and they also really liked them. Total win!

fn1. I love these pots & pans, just for the record. Most people recommend against buying sets, because you end up missing some pieces and having some pieces you don’t use. While we are missing some pieces we would likely use, we use all of the cookware in this set fairly regularly. The only addition we have made to this set is my FAVORITE pan, what Calphalon calls the “everyday pan”:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00006FX83?ie=UTF8&tag=metaco-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00006FX83. I strongly recommend this pan for just about anything, especially stove-to-oven uses. Bill & I each owned this one prior to dating, and both used it extensively. Mine got lost in the move to Chicago, and I was devastated. I’m not sure what happened to Bill’s, possibly Chicago just doesn’t like to allow these things, but we’d agreed to replace this one before we’d decided on any other cookware. Finally, watch the price on it. As I type this, Amazon has it for $39.99, and that may be the lowest they go anymore, but we purchased all three of the ones we have for $24.99.