There will be times, especially on a quiet weekend with no time commitments or planned activities, when going out for a breakfast or brunch buffet seems like an attractive option. Why not have someone else get the food ready, a variety of choices actually, and then look after the clean-up as well? Perhaps there will be cooking stations along the buffet line where chefs can prepare made-to-order omelets and crepes too?
Sometimes, though, preparing a late breakfast or brunch in one’s own kitchen is an equally appealing alternative for many people! In this case, perhaps the next biggest dilemma would be deciding on what to make and serve – would traditional bacon and eggs and toast be acceptable or might they dare to try something completely different? If the latter piques their interest then preparing homemade crepes could be the answer.
Never tried making crepes from scratch before? No worries – all that is needed to prepare sweet and savory crepes are a few ingredients, the right pan and utensils, a bit of patience, and perhaps some practice:
- ½ cup of water
- ½ cup of milk
- 1 cup of flour
- 2 tsp. of sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- Unsalted butter
- Crepe pan or 9” round fry pan (or an electric crepe pan)
- Pastry brush or butter brush
- Batter can or ¼-cup ladle
- Crepe knife or offset spatula
(Exclude sugar and vanilla extract for savory crepes)
NOTE: (Will be styled on website blog page for formatting)
With all of the above at hand, the amateur chef should be ready to turn their kitchen into a crepe station that rivals any similar offerings from a breakfast or brunch buffet. Once these crepes are prepared, all that remains is the fun of selecting your choice of fillings!
Make and Enjoy Sweet and Savory Crepes by Investing a Little Time and Practice
Many pragmatic cooks will admit that some trial and error might be in order before they get a recipe to meet their expectations. The same might be said for homemade crepes; the best way to learn is to just get in the kitchen and start making them to ultimately develop and yes, even perfect, one’s technique. The following tips may help cooks get there sooner:
- Prepare it! Mix the ingredients in a blender, ensuring that the batter flows easily and is not lumpy or watery. Substituting carbonated/soda water for regular water will help to tenderize the crepes; this is known as ‘sparkling’ the batter.
- Cool it! Place batter in the refrigerator for a minimum of an hour (maximum overnight) to produce soft and tender crepes. Refrigeration allows the gluten to relax and leads to lighter and more airy crepes (gluten forms when wheat flour and water are mixed and agitated).
- Pan it! If not using a crepe machine or crepe pan, choose a fry pan with a heavy/thick bottom. This will help to spread the heat more evenly, a key step when making crepes. Pan should be placed on medium-high heat and allowed to warm for at least five to six minutes to prevent the first crepe or two from sticking to the pan.
- Butter it! To begin, a thin, even layer of butter should cover the bottom of the pan and part-way up its sides – a pastry brush or a butter brush will help to distribute/spread the butter evenly about the pan. This should be enough butter for a half-dozen crepes or so before the pan will need another quick swipe/spread (less butter than the first time).
- Spread it! Pour the batter into the heated pan using a batter can (shaped like a teapot) or a ¼-cup ladle. Immediately tilt and rotate the pan to spread the batter thinly/evenly over its bottom. For the first few attempts, worry less about the thinness of the crepes and concentrate on making them with enough body to hold your fillings of choice.
- Flip it! But not too soon or it will tear. Wait until the surface of the crêpe is no longer shiny and its edges start to curl. When the underside is lightly browned, use the crepe knife or offset spatula to lift an edge, then quickly grasp it with your fingers and flip the crepe over. It will only need to cook about 30 seconds more on the second side.
- Stack it! Stack the crepes atop each other as they are made and keep them warm by covering them with a clean, dry dish towel. They can also be covered with aluminum foil and kept warm in the oven until they are ready to use.
- Store it! Making crepes does require some time and patience, so it may be worthwhile to make a few extra. These can be stacked between layers of wax paper, slipped into a large zip-top plastic bag, sealed, and refrigerated. The crepes can also be stored in the freezer for a quick yet elegant breakfast, lunch, or dinner at a later date (allow frozen crepes to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using).
- Go gluten-free! For gluten-free crepes, substitute one cup of gluten-free baking flour or buckwheat flour for whole wheat or all-purpose flour.
Like many other endeavours attempted for the first time, it is quite possible that the initial crepe (or a few) may not turn out as desired. There is no need to worry, as the technique will improve with a little time and patience, leading in turn to sweet and savory crepes that will amaze the cooks and their families and friends alike.