Crêpes

Crêpes are very thin, unleavened pancakes.

The batter is very runny.  I mix the ingredients with a stick blender to make sure there are no clumps of flour and the batter is very smooth.

Being so thin, crêpes take on the flavour of their cooking fat readily.  For instance, to flavour your crêpes with butter, you need only quickly rub the surface of the hot pan with a stick of butter so there is a very thin, uniform layer.  Lard is a good cooking fat for savoury applications.

Crêpes look and taste best when they are golden brown.  This means cooking over medium-high heat.  The side of the crêpe that cooked first will have a uniform, golden brown surface, while the other will generally be spotted brown.

Basic Crêpes

Master Ratio – 2:2:1 milk, egg, flour

Ingredients

  • 4 oz whole milk
  • 4 oz eggs (about 2 large eggs)
  • 2 oz all-purpose flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • butter for frying

Procedure

  1. Combine the milk, eggs, flour, and salt in a measuring cup and blend together with a stick blender.
  2. Heat the butter in a heavy, non-stick pan over medium high heat.  Pour about 1/2 cup of the batter into the pan.  It should sizzle aggressively at first.  Tilt and rotate the pan so that the batter covers its surface in a thin, uniform layer.
  3. There are several ways to tell when the crêpe is ready to be flipped.  First and foremost, the bottom will be a uniform, golden brown.  The edges will start to curl and separate from the pan.  Also, the top of the batter will start to lose its lustre and turn opaque.  Flip the crêpe and cook briefly on the other side, until some brown spots form.

This basic recipe is equally good for both sweet and savoury applications.  Below is a crêpe folded around ice cream, served with fresh raspberries from the backyard.  It could just as easily be wrapped around leftover braised beef, and topped with mushroom cream reduction.

Ice cream crêpes with raspberries

A simple variation:

Wild Rice Crêpes

Ingredients

  • 4 oz whole milk
  • 4 oz egg (about 2 large eggs)
  • 1.5 oz all-purpose flour
  • 0.5 oz wild rice flour (see note below)
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp cooked wild rice
  • butter for frying

Procedure

  1. Blend together the milk, egg, flours, and salt.  Stir in the cooked wild rice.
  2. Fry in butter as described above.

Notes: Wild rice flour can be made easily at home by blitzing the rice in a blender.  Powerful models like the Vitamix will easily convert wild rice to flour.  Less powerful blenders may have difficulty reducing all of the wild rice to powder, in which case I simply sieve the mixture to remove any remaining larger bits.  Wild rice flour will give the crêpes a distinctive dun cast.  I particularly like wild rice crêpes with duck and cured freshwater fish.

Smoked Pickerel, wild rice and green pea crepes, celery root slaw, grainy mustard dressing

 

Pancake Soup

Even in the absence of any leftover with which to wrap, crêpes can still be served.  In Austria there is a traditional soup called Frittatensuppe, usually translated as pancake soup, which is simply thinly sliced crêpes served in beef broth.

Pancake soup

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