Sunday, August 19, 2012


I love crepes.  Since I was a child they had this aura of being exotic and rich and special and, above all, delicious.  When we went to places like IHOP (which was a rarity for my family), I always checked to see if they had crepes. 

When I was 15 I flew to Paris to spend a month with my sister, who was there doing a semester abroad.  The two of us often stopped to buy an enormous crepe from the sidewalk vendors. I was fascinated with watching them pour the batter out of the ladle onto the huge spinning skillet, flipping it with skill, and then deftly folding it into quarters, sprinkling it with powdered sugar and lemon juice, and plating it up.  My mouth still waters when thinking about them.

So you can imagine my delight when I married into a family that made crepes for lots of special occasions.  My mother-in-law patiently taught me the tricks of getting the batter evenly distributed around the pan, how to turn them without tearing them, and the best fillings and toppings.  Now I'm a pro (or so I think, though hers are still thinner than mine!) and we make them on special occasions at my home, or sometimes just on a random Sunday morning. 

They still make my mouth water.

Recipe by Ruth Beal

1 cup flour
2 cups milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
2 T sugar
3 eggs

In a mixing bowl combine flour, milk and salt with a whisk.  Add the lemon zest, sugar, and eggs and beat well.  Set aside for 10-15 minutes.

You'll need something to grease your pan with.  My mother-in-law using shortening, but I use cooking spray.  I think it's easier and you get more consistent results.  But you use whatever you'd like. 

I use an 8-inch skillet, though you could use one larger, you would just have to pour in more batter.

Heat your pan over medium to medium-high heat (my stove works best when set at number 6 out of 10).  When it's hot, grease it lightly, then take 1/4 cup of batter (or more if you're using a larger pan) and pour it quickly into the pan WHILE tipping the pan in a circular manner to let the batter evenly coat the pan.  This is really the trickiest part of the whole enterprise and mostly requires practice, so don't give up if you don't do it right the first (or fourth) time around.  They still taste good regardless of how they look.

You'll notice that the edges (which are generally thinner) will start to brown and crisp up before the rest. 

Once you notice them browning a bit, run around the entire edge with a thin pancake turner or spatula.  I've found that I like plastic ones better than metal because they slide easier without breaking the crepe. 

After loosening the edges, I usually grab one bit of the edge with my finger and start to lift the crepe up, while sliding the pancake turner underneath.  Then you just lift up carefully and flip the crepe over. 

It only needs to cook a little while on the second side, and then place it on a plate.  Regrease the pan and begin again!

Makes about 15 crepes.

We eat these with fruit, jam, Nutella, yogurt, syrup, powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, or anything else that seems good at the time.  My husband's family spreads the following mixture on the crepes, then rolls them up and tops with a fruit compote or jam:

Cream Cheese Filling:
1 package cream cheese
2 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs milk
A squeeze of lemon juice and zest

Beat the above with a mixer until light and fluffy. 

1 comment:

M said...

I, too, have fond memories of getting crepes at those little stands in Paris. The Nutella-banana was always my favorite.

Do you ever put savory fillings in them? I wonder if the batter should be altered if you want to make a non-sweet dinner crepe.

Either way, delish!