I have been making crepes (called “pannekoek” in my half-Dutch household) for at least 35 of my 40 years. Under my parents’ expert tutelage, I perfected them years ago and count crepe-making as one of my “special skills. Ok, crepe-making might be my only special skill, but at least it’s a good one.
Making perfect, paper-thin crepes without the aid of a cheater-cheater-pumpkin-eater crepe maker
really is an art form. Not only do you have to quickly swirl the pan to evenly spread the think batter before it starts cooking in the hot pan (“the move”), you have to add exactly the right amount to the pan. Too much and you have thick crepes; too little and you will end up with a small, oddly-shaped crepe. But, it’s worth the effort.
The best way to perfect your crepe technique is to find a good recipe, learn “the move”, and practice, practice, practice. I am going to give the most-basic of instructions. If you can have an experienced crepe-maker show you the ropes, then by all means, take a lesson. Otherwise, Google and YouTube are a great resource for how-to videos.
We like to top our crepes with all sorts of stuff, including (but not limited to): butter, real maple syrup, nutella, peanut butter, chocolate sprinkles, cinnamon sugar, berries, preserves, honey, yogurt, sauteed apples…the mascot once filled his with brownie chunks and whipped cream. I was too impressed to argue.
A couple things to note:
– Letting the batter rest for at least 30 minutes at room temperature will improve the quality of the finished product.
– Keep a folded, buttered paper towel at your work-station to wipe out and re-season the pan between crepes.
– Unless you have a “special”, dimpled-bottom pan, a small, non-stick pan is the best tool for making perfect crepes. IKEA sells one for less than $5.
– The first crepe always sucks. Always. Make it, feed it to the dog, and move on.
– Keep your crepes piping hot between two dinner plates at the back of the stove while you work.
– Making crepes takes patience and time. This is not a quick, weekday breakfast.
– It really is all in the wrist.
– Leftover cooked crepes can be stacked between sheets of parchment and frozen. As if you’ll have leftovers.
Crepes (aka Pannekoek)
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar (omit if using savoury fillings)
1 1/2 cups milk
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp butter
1. Whisk together flour, salt and sugar (if using) in a medium bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together milk and eggs.
3. Add wet mixture, all at once, to dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Let batter stand for at least 30 mins at room temperature.
4. When you are ready to make your crepes, melt butter in pan over med-high heat.
5. Add to batter and quickly stir to combine. Wipe out pan with folded paper towel (do not discard! – see notes above).
6. Pour a scant 1/3 cup batter into pan*. Pick up pan and quickly swirl to cover the entire bottom of pan with batter.
7. Watch surface of batter carefully – as soon as it becomes matte, flip crepe. Cook second side just for a few seconds.
8. Remove to dinner plate and cover with a second, inverted plate (see notes). Continue with remaining batter, making adjustments to heat as necessary so that the crepes do not brown too quickly.
Once all of the crepes have been made, set out your toppings, call everyone to the table, and have at ’em. This makes lots, but recipe can be doubled to make lots and lots. (Double batch pictured above.)
*Adjust this amount to suit your pan. You may need slightly more, or less. Your goal is to have *just* enough to cover the bottom of the pan.