One of the fall-outs from the recent eruption of that unpronouncable Iceland volcano was that it prevented one of the best crepe makers in the world from arriving at my home. It was my cousin Veronique, who was supposed to be spending a week with us in April, but never made it out of Paris because of smoky. Granted, it may not have been an international tragedy, but it was still trés domage. Since then we have not only missed seeing her, but have been left to pine away for the crepes that never were…until I decided to remedy the sitution with a gangbuster crepe making session for a Sunday brunch feast.
When I make crepes, I always whip-up the batter the night before because a) I think all pancake batters taste better after a night in the fridge (I’m not sure why, buy there must be some science behind this?). I’ve even heard that frozen and defrosted batter is the best.
b) Crepe batter is great to have on hand for both a quick breakfast (there is no quicker-setting pancaking than a crepe, you can make a batch in no-time), or savory lunch or dinner. Pancakes for dinner, you say? Yes!
For our lunch I put out many fixings of both a s sweet and salty nature, so everyone could make what they like. Our fillings included: lemon, brown sugar, strawberries, goat’s milk caramel I bought at Stone Barns, lemon jam, blackberry jam, baked ham and gruyere cheese.
Having all the little dishes out made the whole experience more festive and the kids were able to put there crepe together after a tutorial from Grandma who, as a our resident Belgian, is very expert on the crepe rolling.
My mom and Belle like the classic sprinkled sugar and lemon juice crepe, Conor (after much cajoling, “I don’t know those pancakes!” enthusiastically ate two jam filled crepes that I cooked in a weird shape and called monster pancakes). I ate one with ham and cheese and another with strawberries and lemon juice on top of that ridiculous goat’s milk caramel. It is made by Fat Toad Farm in Vermont, here’ a LINK to their site if you want to get some for yourself.
For summer I urge you to try fresh berries instead of jam, and for your dinner crepes why not fresh tomatoes with mozzarella cheese, or pesto and prosciutto?
I’d love to hear about your daring and tasty fillings, and here’s the recipe I use, adapted from Mark Bittman and the Lady Julia Child. The most important thing to remember is use a shallow pan, preferably non-stick, and feel free to make a few wonky ones, they taste good even when they’re not pretty.
-Combine 2 cups of all-purpose flour with 1 1/4 cup of milk and a pinch of salt, whisk to combine. Add 2 large eggs and whisk some more, pour in 2 tablespoons of canola oil or cooled and melted butter, a 1/4 tsp of real vanilla extract and combine until smooth.
-Refrigerate batter overnight, if you can.
-Heat shallow skillet on medium high heat. Add smidge of butter and once it’s melted, a small ladle of your batter (basically a couple of tablespoons). You want to coat the pan with a thin layer of the batter and keep rotating the pan while you do this to make sure you cover the entire bottom. Better to pour more than less because any excess batter can be poured right back into your batter bowl.
-Flip your pancake when bottom is golden colored (it will be delicate so be gentle), probably less than a minute. Cook the other side until also nicely golden, maybe 30 more seconds. Place crepe on plate and keep warm or serve right away (I cover mine with foil until I have enough for everyone to dig in). Continue with the rest of the batter, adding a smidge of butter each time before you pour the batter.
-Fill your crepes and enjoy!