I had a hankering for crepes recently and decided to make a large batch of batter for making sweet and savoury crepes. Crepes are very thin pancakes made from wheat flour, similar to their ‘cousin’, the galette, which is made from buckwheat, and both come from Brittany in France. Most countries have similar types of thin pancakes such as the pannenkoek from the Netherlands, or the Dosa from India, which is made from rice batter instead.
I make my crepes batter plain, so that I can add flavourings just before cooking such as herbs, sugar, etc. However even for dessert crepes I don’t add sugar to them, but fill them with sweet fillings and a sprinkling of powdered sugar before serving. The process of making crepes is very simple, but there are tips that will help ensure the best tasting crepes.
- Don’t over mix the batter as this will increase the production of gluten and make them tough.
- Refrigerate the batter for at least one hour. You can let the batter rest for up to 24 hours, but you may need to add a little water just before using, as the batter will thicken.
- Use a heavy bottomed pan to ensure even cooking
- Ensure that the pan is at a steady hot temperature before cooking. They will stick if it is too cold and burn if it is too hot.
- The first crepe will never be perfect, so slightly over butter the pan to begin with. This will ensure that the pan is properly buttered for the next one.
- Resist the temptation to flip the crepes too early. Wait until the edges start to brown before flipping
- 3 eggs
- pinch of salt
- 0.75 cup (100g) of plain flour (all purpose)
- 1 cup (250ml) of chilled water
- 1 tbsp of melted butter
- Add all of the ingredients to a bowl and whisk together, but not too long. Alternatively you could use a blender for a couple of seconds to mix.
- Cover and refrigerate the batter for at least one hour. Before cooking check to see if the batter is of the right consistency. It should be like thin cream, if not then add a little water to thin it out. At this stage you could add things such as chopped herbs for savoury crepes or sugar and vanilla for sweet crepes.
- Heat the pan (7.5″ or 19cm base) to medium high, then lightly butter it. Using a small ladle (~ 3 tbsp) add the batter to the pan, and gently swirl it to ensure even coating around the pan. Cook the crepe until the edges just start to brown and then flip the crepe using a spatula, or just by using the pan if you are brave.
- Cook the other side for roughly 30 seconds.
- Transfer the crepe to a plate, by just sliding it out of the pan. You can keep the crepes warm in a low oven until you are finished cooking the rest or cover them with a clean tea towel.
- Re-apply butter to the pan and repeat the process.
For a simple dessert, fill the crepe with some fresh fruit or just sprinkle on some lemon juice, roll and then sprinkle with some powdered sugar. Or try the Crêpe Suzette, by pouring a sauce made from butter, sugar and Grand Marnier over a crepe.