May 28, 2009

Basic Crepes

This recipe for crepes is from King Arthur Flour via a crepes class I took there. (I have another crepe recipe on this blog, but this one here is our tried and true favorite we go to whenever we make crepes.) My son often requests them for his birthday breakfast. And while I am personally less and less keen on sweet breakfast items as I age-- I wouldn't mind if I never had another pancake or waffle--, I still fall for crepes every time. 

Here are a few of the things I've learned about making crepes well: 
  • Count on the first one being less than perfect.
  • They are a delicious, buttery way to enjoy so many possible accompaniments/fillings-- see the end of this post for our favorites. 
  • They can be rolled, or folded in quarters, or other shapes.
  • This is a recipe where the very few specific ingredients matter. (Once I wanted to make crepes when we were out of eggs, so I substituted a certain quantity of applesauce based on recommendations online. This substitution might work perfectly fine in a banana bread but it did not work for crepes; they wouldn't hold together, tasted odd, and were a waste of homemade applesauce.)
  • One key is to do plenty of whisking, with the goal being to have as smooth and silky a batter as possible. (A Joy of Cooking recipe for crepes says-- in an uncharacteristically carefree statement for that book-- "Ignore the lumps; they will take care of themselves." But I've learned they never really do. Adding things gradually as you whisk is key.)   
  • It seems to work fine to mix up the batter the night before and store in the fridge so you can go straight to cooking them up in the morning if you are so inclined/prepared to do so. 
  • I don't have a crepe maker; we use a nonstick crepe pan that I am very happy with. 
Whisking milk into eggs

Straining batter through a sieve

Holding pan and swiveling it to spread batter immediately after pouring it into hot pan. 

Like snowflakes, no two crepes end up with the same design.

Squeezing fresh lemon juice on a lemon and sugar crepe

Rolled and dusted with confectioner's sugar

Basic Crepes
From King Arthur Flour
This recipe makes about eight 8-in. crepes. 

2 eggs 
1 1/2 C milk 
1/4 t salt (sea or regular, not kosher) 
1 C flour 
2 T unsalted butter, melted 

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, then add the milk while whisking. 

Gradually add in the salt and flour, whisking to combine. Do plenty of whisking, as the goal is to get rid of as many lumps as possible.

Whisk in the butter. Then dip a spoon in the batter and hold it up. If batter coats the spoon, it's good consistency; if it's too thick, add some milk, a couple teaspoons at a time. 

When consistency is right, strain the batter through a fine sieve into a fresh, lump-free bowl. Let batter rest at least 10 minutes to help smooth lumps. (They explained the flour is wet and the gluten is "knitting itself together.") 

Heat a lightly greased (nonstick spray is fine, as there's plenty of butter flavor in the crepes themselves) pan over medium-high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the pan, about 1/3 C at a time for each crepe. Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly. It should be quite thin. 

Cook the crepe about 2 minutes, until the bottom is light brown. Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side. Serve hot.

Our Favorite Ways to Enjoy Crepes:

Lemon and Sugar-- this was always on the menu when we took our trip to France several years ago. Its perfection is in its simplicity: just a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice (about 1/4 of a lemon), and a sprinkle of granulated sugar all over. Even the kids love this one. We juice and sugar the whole crepe, then fold it in quarters. 

Nutella and Sliced Banana-- Who doesn't love Nutella?

Cream Cheese and Berries-- We smear the middle of a crepe with cream cheese, then spoon over that any combination of fruits. (Often, we use frozen fruit from the freezer-- strawberries, blueberries, cherries, etc-- and simmer it with a little cinnamon and sugar in a saucepan while we cook the crepes so it's warm and saucy by the time we sit down.) Roll up and dust with confectioner's sugar. 
Crepazes-- This savory ham and cheese crepe cake is delicious with a green salad for brunch, lunch, or dinner. Once the crepes are made, it goes together very quickly. 


  1. I really recommend the crepe recipe I have on the greenmen site in the recipe section - they're uber-yummy...

  2. Okay, I checked it out. That's interesting it has all that sugar! Bet it's sweet. I'll have to try it. Anything special you have them with or fill them with?

  3. Palachinka. They're Slovenian or Croatian or something. Usually sprinkle lemon juice and (more) sugar on top.

    Yum Yum Yum.