Master Recipe: Crêpes


Just when you think you know, I mean really know how to make something turn out well in the kitchen…. you find a better way to the most perfect end result.

Take crêpe batter.

Been making it with success, for years. Then I saw how maestro Gordon Ramsay does it. To truly make them properly is to have a tender crêpe… so thin, light and delicate you can barely tell it’s there. It’s really just a vehicle to hold whatever filling you fancy adding, at the time.

Cranberry Mincemeat & Orange Stuffed Crêpes
 

The secrets…? First, is in the mixing. Second, is in the waiting. Yes, the waiting. If you bake or do anything at all with flour, you know that working it develops the gluten, with the best example being kneading dough to make bread. It makes sense then, that after giving flour a vigorous beating, it needs to rest.
 
So, the mixing. Like many recipes, the order you add ingredients does make a difference. And with the waiting part… a true make ahead, you can do the batter one day, give it a nice long overnight rest in the fridge, and the next day you can cook and then roll or stuff to your heart’s content. Sweet crepes…? Savoury…? The batter is very versatile and you can make it to suit your purpose, by using or omitting sugar. Fresh chopped herbs are a wonderful addition to the savoury variety.
 
The best part is that you can add whatever you’re in the mood for. For a breakfast crepe use peanut butter and banana. For dessert… anything from Nutella, to lemon curd to your fave fruit spread. For the savoury version… you can roll up anything from ham & cheddar, to your fave sauteed veg. Broccoli & cheese? Spinach & ricotta? The choices are up to you!

Crêpes

The full recipe will make approx 16 crêpes, depending on what size pan you use. The last time I made them, I made half the recipe, used a 6″ skillet and it made about 12. What’s most important is using a good non-stick skillet and making them thin. They will stay covered in the fridge for a couple days, ready for when you are.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup water
4 eggs, at room temp
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, melted or extra virgin olive oil
1 cup flour
*2 TBSP sugar for sweet crepes, use only a pinch if making savoury

Preparation:
Combine the milk and water in a liquid measuring cup and set aside.
In a bowl large enough to whisk the batter, add the flour and salt.
Add the eggs, and whisk briskly to combine.
Add 1/4 cup of the liquid and whisk to a smooth paste like consistency, then add remaining liquid.
Let the batter rest overnight – cover and store in the fridge.

When you’re ready to make the crepes, remove the batter from the fridge, give it a stir (it may have separated) and let it warm to room temp, approx. 30 minutes.
Put your best 6″ or 8″ non-stick skillet over med-high heat and wipe it with some neutral oil or butter.
Using a ladle or small dry measuring cup, add the batter, swirling the pan to coat the bottom – I used half an 1/8 cup measure for my 6″ skillet. This part will be a bit of trial and error, to know how much batter to add to the size of the pan. After you’ve made a couple, you’ll get it. You want them to be as thin as possible and don’t worry if there’s small holes or they’re not exactly perfect. No one can tell, after they’re filled up, rolled or folded.
When you see the edges just start to brown, flip it over to cook the other side – should take about half the time.
As you’re making the crêpes, stack them up on a plate.
When you’re finished and you’ve let them cool down, cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge.
Voila. A fab beginning for an elegant appetizer, dessert or even main course.