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How to Make Crêpes

With a stash of these thin pancakes in the freezer or fridge, you have a delicious head start on any meal of the day. In this video, Julissa Roberts demonstrates Martha Holmberg's method for making supple, buttery crêpes.

Length: 5:04
Produced By: Sarah Breckenridge; Video by Gary Junken and Michael Dobsevage; Editing by Cari Delahanty

How to Make Crêpes

by Martha Holmberg

Crêpes are like pancakes, but better. To me, their real appeal comes from their texture: tender but at the same time springy. Unlike a pancake, which becomes soggy under too much butter and syrup, a crêpe holds its delicate integrity whether it’s swimming in syrup, blanketed by cheese, or topped with chocolate sauce and whipped cream.

Crêpes get their distinctive texture from a batter that’s rich in eggs—I use four to make 14 crêpes. Also, there’s no baking powder or baking soda in the batter; crêpes are lightened only by eggs and air, which contributes to their thin, supple texture. Crêpes may be related to pancakes, but there’s definitely no fluffiness to them.

Get the recipe: Brown-Butter Crêpes

As for flavor, crêpes are buttery but mild, so they’re an ideal blank canvas, ready to be topped or filled with just about any savory or sweet ingredients. Quick fillings can be as simple as grated cheese; a combination of sugar, melted butter, and lemon juice; or anything from the fridge or pantry that would be tasty on toast or pancakes. Or you can go for more elaborate fillings, as in the hearty Baked Crêpes Cacciatore with Parmesan Cream Sauce, or the decidedly fancy Crêpe Cake with Coffee Cream and Hazelnut Praline.  

Slideshow: Get more creative recipe ideas for sweet and savory crêpe fillings.

Finally, crêpes freeze beautifully. You can make a large batch, pop them in the freezer, and then pull out one or a dozen as you need them. After a quick thaw and reheat, they’re ready to go.

Tip: As with pancakes, the first crêpe you make is usually a flop, so count on sacrificing it as you experiment with the heat of the burner and the amount of butter in the pan.

Make Ahead Tips
You can keep crêpes in the refrigerator for up to 3 days by wrapping the stack in plastic, then putting it in a zip-top freezer bag. Bring to room temperature (or reheat) before using.

To freeze crêpes for up to 3 months, lay pieces of waxed paper or parchment between every few so that it’s easy to pry off as many as you need. Wrap the stack in plastic, then slide it into a large zip-top freezer bag. Thaw wrapped frozen crêpes at room temperature until pliable, about an hour.

Serving Suggestions

  • Sugar & Lemon Crêpe: Warm a crêpe in a little butter in a skillet, sprinkle with sugar, and squeeze lemon juice over the top. Roll into a cylinder or fold into a triangle.
  • Sautéed Apple Crêpe: Cook a peeled, diced apple in a little butter with a sprinkle of sugar until tender and golden. Roll into a warm crêpe and serve.
  • Ham, Cheese & Pear Crêpe: 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.
  • Huevos Rancheros: 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 Crêpe: Gently warm a crêpe in a dry skillet, spread with crème fraîche, and drizzle with maple syrup. Fold and eat right away.
  • Crêpe Sundae: Roll up a room-temperature crêpe, cut it crosswise into 1/2-inch ribbons, and put them in a bowl. Top with a scoop of ice cream and drizzle with chocolate or caramel sauce or both.
  • Mediterranean Wrap: Spread hummus on a room-temperature crêpe, top with crumbled feta and a few slices of roasted red pepper, and roll up.

Reheating Crêpes: If you have only a few crêpes to reheat, warm each one in a dry, hot skillet for 5 to 10 seconds per side. For a bigger batch, put them on a large ovenproof plate, cover with foil, and heat in a 300°F oven for about 10 minutes. Or, if you prefer, heat them in the microwave on a plate, covered with a paper towel, for about 30 seconds on medium power. 

from Fine Cooking
Issue 116

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