I am depending on Melissa to teach me how to do this properly. I’ve embarassed myself many times trying to successfully pull off a crepe. I have tried to follow recipes or watch YouTube vids, but I would almost feel better having someone in the kitchen slapping my wrist and berating me as my tears flow into the batter. I’m a better student of the “tough-love” method.
To my credit, I can make pancakes. And that is always my default go-to result when I initially tell guests that I’m “making” crepes.
Crepes. Most of us have no idea how to say it correctly, but none of us would deny its whimsy. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that says romance like French fare. French fare, don’t care. Yes there are those naysayers that will claim that French food is overrated. That its time in the limelight is through. But they are dead wrong. Seriously. I tried….really hard to think of a cuisine that is more beguiling, more bewitching than French food and I couldn’t. I could find exotic… rustic…. exhilarating, but romantic? The French got it right from the start. There is a reason they have held the title for so long. So let’s just put the argument to rest and focus on the romantic yet playful, French breakfast-crepes.
Crepes are special because they are truly a blank canvas. You can adorn them with anything. From savory to sweet flavors , crepes can take them on, changing their dress to suit your desires. Many people shy away from them because they require some exercise in finesse. Execution is key, but if you are patient and willing to practice, crepes can become a perfect party go to. I have hosted many a soiree where I have turned to crepes for dessert and they have never failed to please. Besides think about how you will impress your beau as you effortlessly flip the thin, chewy crepe into the air, catching as it lands, and winking at her all the while.
For French Goodness I turn to the Queen: Julia Child.
Julia Child’s Master Crêpe Recipe
1 cup flour
2/3 cup cold milk
2/3 cup cold water
3 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons melted butter, plus more for brushing on pan
Mix all ingredients until smooth in a blender or with a whisk. Refrigerate.
Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. You will know it’s the right temperature when water that is splashed into the pan skates across the surface. Brush with melted butter.
Pour in 2 to 3 tablespoons of batter into the center of the pan and then tilt the pan in all directions to cover the bottom evenly. Cook about 1 minute, or until browned on the bottom. Turn and cook briefly on the other side. (TRY TO FLIP THEM, with a flick of the wrist)
Cool on a rack or plate as you finish making the rest. Serve as desired.
Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, 1961
Bacon & Mushroom Crepe
6 slices bacon
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced thin
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
In a large heavy skillet cook bacon over moderately high heat until crisp and transfer to paper towels to drain.
Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet and chop bacon.
To fat remaining in skillet add mushrooms and 1 tablespoon butter and sauté over moderately high heat, stirring, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated, about 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat.
Preheat oven to 200°F..
In a heavy saucepan melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter over moderately high heat and whisk in flour. Cook roux, whisking, 3 minutes. Add milk gradually, whisking constantly, and cook. stirring, occasionally, 5 minutes or until thickened and smooth.
Add mushrooms, cream, parsley, bacon, salt and pepper to taste and simmer 10 minutes, or until very thick. Cool filling slightly.
Spread each crepe with about 1/4 cup filling and fold in quarters, transferring crepes as filled to an ovenproof platter. Heat crêpes in oven until heated through.
Ham, Cheese & Pear Crepe
Gently warm a crêpe in a dry skillet, sprinkle with grated Gruyère, and top with good-quality ham and very thin slices of ripe pear. Fold in the sides of the crêpe to make a flat packet and drizzle with a little melted butter.
Scramble an egg and arrange it along the lower half of a warm crêpe. Top with grated Monterey Jack or Cheddar, salsa verde, and a sprinkle of chopped fresh cilantro. Roll up and serve with more salsa and sour cream on the side.
Maple & Crème Fraîche Crepe
Gently warm a crêpe in a dry skillet, spread with crème fraîche, and drizzle with maple syrup. Fold and eat right away.
Whip up fresh cream to make home-made whip cream. Layer your crepe with three kinds of berries: strawberry, blueberries, and raspberries/blackberries.
In a deep mixing bowl, beat 1 cup heavy cream until soft peaks form. Sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (You can use powdered sugar as well. Just sift it!) over cream. Beat until soft peaks return. Soft peaks means that when you lift the mixing wand the cream the peak will gently fold over. Do not overbeat or else you will make butter! Remember last week’s post.