There are plenty of reasons why the well-loved dish crepe is popular, not just in France where it originated from but also in many other countries. One reason is that crepes, like their famous counterpart pancakes, are ideal to serve for kids and adults alike. Crepes are also extremely versatile. They can be served any time of the day — whether as part of breakfast, lunch or dinner — and either as a main meal or as a dessert.
There are two common types of crepes — the sweet kind and the savoury kind. Sweet crepes are made with wheat flour, whereas savoury crepes (also referred to as galettes) are created with buckwheat flour. Buckwheat flour has no gluten, making savoury crepes ideal for people who have a gluten allergy or intolerance. Sweet crepes and savoury galettes also differ in terms of the fillings used. Both types of crepes, however, involve the same process of cooking, which we’ll discuss below.
Making Homemade Crepes
Making your own crepes at home should not be a daunting task. Whilst it’s true that making crepes requires careful attention and precision, you will still find it relatively easy and enjoyable. Crepes cook fast, so you need to pay attention when cooking each one. Letting the batter rest for at least half an hour before cooking is also advisable for the crepes to become tender and more flavourful.
The following is a simple crepe recipe, using plain flour for the batter. Of course you can adjust the amount of ingredients and even add more, (e.g. add vanilla or sugar for the batter) depending on your preference. This recipe can serve 4-6 people, so if you have a crowd to feed you can simply increase the amount of ingredients accordingly.
- 1 1/2 cup plain flour
- a pinch of salt
- 2 cups milk
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp. butter, melted
- Sift flour into a large mixing bowl. Add a pinch of salt.
- Gradually add the milk to the flour, whisking constantly with a wooden spoon to prevent lumps from forming.
- Continue whisking the flour mixture until well combined.
- In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs with a fork. Add eggs to the flour mixture and whisk until well combined.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean tea towel. Allow to rest for 30 minutes. (This helps the gluten in the flour to relax, yielding a delicate texture for the crepe.)
- After the resting period, add the melted butter to the batter. Whisk until the mixture is smooth, without any lumps.
- Once the batter is ready, heat a non-stick frying pan or crepe pan over medium heat. (You may lightly grease the hot pan with a little butter.)
- Place 2 1/2 tbsps. of batter in a measuring cup, then pour into the centre of the pan.
- Tilt the pan quickly in a circular motion so the batter will cover the base evenly.
- Cook for 1 minute or until the crepe is light golden underneath and its edges curl slightly.
- Use a spatula to lift the crepe and turn it over. Cook for a further 30-45 seconds.
- Transfer the crepe to a plate.
- Continue cooking more crepes with the remaining batter.
- Serve the crepes warm, with any fillings of your choice.
Nowadays, it is common to see various kinds of fillings being used for both sweet and savoury crepes. For sweet crepes you can choose from a great variety of sweet fillings and toppings. Even as simple as butter-and-sugar combination can make crepes such a wonderful treat. If you love chocolates, you can have your crepes served with rich chocolate fillings, e.g. coarsely chopped dark chocolates. Other equally appetising fillings and toppings for dessert crepes include whipped cream, ice cream, fruit spreads, and sliced soft fruits like bananas, strawberries, apples and peaches.
On the other hand, amongst the common savoury fillings used for crepes include cheese, eggs, bacon and ham. Mushrooms and various meat products are popular savoury crepe fillings, too. For healthy and hearty crepes to replace your usual sandwiches, you can combine cheese, ham and vegies like spinach and asparagus. You may also use seasonal vegies for savoury galettes, and then serve them with a complementary cheese.
To serve your special crepes, just add the fillings to the centre of the crepe, fold the edges partially over the centre (or simply roll them), and serve on a plate. If you are serving dessert crepes, place the fillings on the centre, fold the crepe, and sprinkle the top with sugar, cheese or whatever you fancy.
Again, crepes are so versatile that when it comes to fillings and toppings and the way you want to serve them, your only limit is your imagination! So good luck and enjoy your crepes!