Flippant Foodie Friday: Crepes {part un}

Have you checked out Bookshelf Bombshells yet?  If not, got there…now.

I have a fabulous review of Cooking For Geeks: Real Science,Great Hacks, and Good Food by Jeff Potter up on the site. Check it out. It will prove that I am a real writer and occasionally intelligent, as well.  The holidays (there are more of them than just Christmas, folks — get over it) are rapidly approaching, and I always have some guys in my life that are just impossible to shop for.  You know who I’m talking about: your techie brother who rarely looks up from a screen, the dear friend who decided to make Napalm in his backyard at age twelve just to see if he could (and still thinks dangerous things are cool) — this book is perfect for them, and perhaps you too. Read the review and see for yourself.

I  pick one recipe to “officially” review per selection, and I simply had to experiment with Jeff Potter’s formula for crepes.  I have had a secret love affair with crepes since I first discovered them at a French Club banquet in high school, but they can be tricky and time consuming to make. This recipe worked. The directions were clear and easy to follow. And they made sense.

I doubled the ingredients and ended up with 12 thin and pliant crepes. My taste testers swooned over them at dinner (with an Apricot-Dijon Chicken filling — I’ll feature THAT recipe next week). And for dessert, Nutella and banana crepes with a chocolate drizzle. {drool} Try it. Your friends and family will thank you.

1-2-3 Crepes

Whisk or puree until entirely mixed, about 30 seconds:
1 cup (250g) milk (preferably whole milk)
2 large (120g) eggs
1/3 cup (40g) flour (all-purpose)
Pinch of salt

Let rest for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, so that the gluten in the flour has a chance to thicken the batter. (Stash the batter in the fridge if you’re going to leave it for more than half an hour.)

Making crepes is like riding a bicycle: it takes practice before it’s easy. Expect to completely screw up the first few you make (training wheels!), and keep in mind that while the batter is easy and the technique simple, the error tolerances are actually pretty tight, so don’t get discouraged! Like riding a bicycle, it’s far easier to :: fast; going slow is hard.

Start with a nonstick frying pan over medium-high up the pan for about 30 seconds, or until a drop of water sizzles when dropped into it. Once your pan is at temperature, plan to work quickly: butter, wipe down, pour batter in while swirling, flip, flip again, add fillings, plate, and repeat. Because they’re fast and cheap, crepes are great for dinner parties or brunches, but you should definitely practice beforehand.

Butter: Grab a cold stick of butter with the wrapper partially pulled back, and using the wrapper part as a handle, spread a small amount of butter around the pan.

Wipe down: Use a paper towel to thin out the butter over the surface of the pan, wiping up almost all of it (and on repeats, any crumbs left behind from the previous crepe). The pan should look almost dry; you want a super-thin coating of butter, not noticeable streaks.

Pour: Pour in the batter while swirling the pan. Pour about 1/4 cup / 60 ml of batter into a 10″ / 25 cm pan, adjusting as necessary (you want enough batter to just coat the bottom evenly). While pouring in the batter with one hand, use your other hand to hold the pan in the air and swirl it so that the batter runs and spreads over the surface of the pan. If you can pour batter out of the pan after swirling, you’re using too much. If you’re short on batter, you can “spot pour” a bit in to fill in the gap. This is also the point at which you should check the heat of the pan; it should be hot enough that the batter develops a lace-like quality — little holes all over the crepe as the steam tunnels up through the batter. If your crepes come out whitish, turn up the heat.

Flip: Wait until the crepe begins to brown. Don’t poke, don’t prod; just let it cook. Once the crepe has begun to brown around the edges, use a silicone spatula (one of those folding spatulas works well) to push down the edge all around the circumference. This will release the edge of the crepe so that it lifts off the pan. Carefully grab that little edge to flip the crepe with both hands.

Flip Again: Let the crepe cook on the second side for half a minute or so, until it’s cooked. The first side should come out a uniformly brown tone, so flip the crepe again before adding the fillings. This will leave the better-looking side on the outside of the finished crepe.

Add fillings: Add whatever fillings you like. You can heat and even cook the fillings by leaving the pan on the heat during this step. Or, you can move the crepe to a plate and fill it off the heat if you’re using something cold (e.g., lox, cream cheese, dill). Crepes are a great vehicle for almost any filling, either savory or sweet. If a combination of ingredients works on pizza or in a pie, it’ll probably work in a crepe.

– From Cooking for Geeks by Jeff Potter

One thought on “Flippant Foodie Friday: Crepes {part un}

  1. Sara Thompson

    I used to make crepes all the time. Recently we started using Gluten Free Mama Pancake mix and she has instructions for what she calls Swedish Pancakes. They are just like crepes but the cooking technique is actually easier. I plan on experimenting with crepe batter just to be sure but makes crepes more appealing when it doesn't take all day to make them.


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