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Ingredient: Crepes

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Strawberry crepes
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Pancakes are among the simplest of breads - and crepes are just pancakes. At their most basic crepes/pancakes consist of flour and water. They are also found around the world made of corn flour by native Americans, buckwheat flour in Normandy, and rice flour in China. They can be used in savory dishes such this recipe for Seafood Crepes or sweet like the classical French Crepes Suzette and Crepes Normande. (Larger image.)

Crepes are best made using a blender - whether a hand blender or a standing blender. Also, the batter should be allowed to sit for an hour before making the crepes to allow bubbles in he batter to dissipate and the flour to fully hydrate. I use a 10-inch non-stick to make the crepes, brush the pan with just a little bit of melted butter and figure the first one or two crepes won't run out well - so don't panic.

Crepes will keep in the fridge, separated by waxed paper for up to a week and in the freezer for a couple of months. They thaw in minutes so crepes are nice to have around for a quick and elegant dessert. If I'm planning on using the crepes for a dessert I often add a tablespoon of sugar, if I'm planning on savory crepes I might use beer or hard cider instead of milk, but if I'm planning on freezing some I just make basic crepes so I can use them in either sweet or savory dishes.

Basic Crepes

  • 3/4 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 lg. eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups whole milk
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter; melted

1. Briefly whisk the flour and salt in a blender.

2. Blend in eggs, milk, and melted butter blend on high speed for 1 minute. Scrape down sides and blend 30 seconds longer.

3. If the batter is lumpy, strain it through a sieve. Cover and allow to rest at room temperature for at least one hour.

(At this point, the batter can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day. Bring it to room temperature before continuing with recipe.)

4. Heat an 8-inch crepe pan or skillet over med-high heat. Sprinkle a few drops of water on the pan; if they sizzle, the pan is ready to use. Brush with a little melted butter - about 1/2 teaspoon.

5. Using a 1/4 cup measure, scoop out batter and pour it into the skillet.

6. Immediately pick up the pan and tilt and swirl it so that the batter covers the entire bottom of the pan.

7. Cook for about 1 1/2 minutes, then loosen the edges of the crepe with a very thin spatula.

8. Use the spatula to turn the crepe. Cook on the other side until lightly golden (usually less than a minute) and slide it out onto a plate. Cover with waxed paper. Repeat with the remaining batter. (Note: The first one or two crepes probably won’t turn out well.)

Variations:

  • For dessert crepes, add a tablespoon of superfine (not powdered) sugar.
  • Buck wheat flour has a nutty flavor and is particularly good with savory crepes, substitute 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour with buckwheat flour.
  • The milk can be partially replaced with a liqueur such as Grand Marnier or Amaretto, or for savory crepes completely replaced with beer or hard cider.

Here's a photo-tutorial on making crepes.

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