Three ingredients you already have in your fridge and pantry combined and voila, crepes! Once you master spreading the batter in a frying pan and flipping the crepes, they’re easy-peasy. Crepes originate from Brittany, in Western France, where they are popular anytime food to this day. Savory and sweet crepes make a great brunch, and savory crepes also make a tasty, easy, and unexpected weekday dinner. My Favorite Topping for Crepes is to top the warm crepes with a little grated milk chocolate (use a microplane grater and a block of chocolate) and some finely chopped toasted hazelnuts. This is especially good with the orange zest in the crepes. I ate a version of this crepe from a street vendor in Quiper years ago – wrapped in butcher paper with the filling oozing out the top, it was pure bliss. I listed some other favorite toppings, both sweet and savory, for crepes below. If you can’t choose just one, select a few and set out several small bowl of toppings for guests to help themselves. Serves 2 hungry people or up to 4 as part of a larger meal.
For the Crepes
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup milk (low fat is fine)
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 1 tsp grated orange zest (optional)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
- Unsalted butter for the pan
Put the flour in a large bowl and carefully whisk in half of the milk until the mixture is thick and uniform.** Add in the rest of the milk and the eggs and mix until well combined. Mix in the zest and vanilla if using.
**The general rule of thumb in cooking is to always add wet to dry (not dry to wet). If you do it the other way around, you’ll have unattractive little lumps of flour in your crepes.
Heat a small fry pan on medium heat. Using a pastry brush, brush the surface of the pan lightly with butter. The butter should bubble but not burn. If it doesn’t bubble, the pan isn’t hot enough, and if the butter browns, the pan is too hot. Pour a scant ¼ cup of batter into the center of the hot pan and quickly tilt the pan to spread the batter evenly across the bottom of the pan. When the crepe is brown around the edges and mostly set (this will only take about 30-45 seconds), carefully loosen the edge of the crepe from the pan by running a small off set spatula around the crepe. Flip the crepe quickly either using the spatula or your fingers. I pull one edge of the crepe up with the spatula and then grasp the crepe lightly with both hands and turn it. Cook an additional 30-45 seconds on the other side. The crepe should have some color – golden brown, but not too dark, around the edges and lacey looking. Adjust the heat on your pan accordingly before you make the next crepe. Repeat with the rest of the crepe batter.
Either: Serve the crepes immediately. If I’m cooking for a small group, it’s sometimes fun to do the crepes one at a time and have everyone in the kitchen fighting for the next crepe. Or: Stack the crepes on a plate, cover with a clean dish towel, and keep warm in a 200 degree oven until ready to serve.
Just maple syrup
Butter (or brown butter) and a little sugar
A little dab of warm nutella
Sautéed apples, pears, peaches, or bananas
Some lemon curd (try 1 tbsp finely chopped crystallized ginger in the crepe batter)
Any kind of berry fresh or cooked and served with a dab of creme fraiche
thick yogurt, good honey, and some soaked dried apricots
Savory Toppings (omit the orange zest and vanilla)
Sautéed good quality ham and a little grated gruyere or comte (try ½ tsp fresh grated nutmeg in the crepe batter)
A slice of serano ham, a few shavings of parmesan, and some fresh arugula tossed with lemon juice and olive oil
Ricotta with quick sautéed spinach or asparagus and some toasted pine nuts
A fried egg with some good sea salt
Some mild soft blue cheese (try Gorgonzola Dolce, Cambanzola, or St. Agur) with toasted walnuts and a little honey
Quick sautéed tomatoes with a little fresh chevre and olive oil (try 1 tsp chopped fresh herbs in the crepes – oregano, thyme, basil, parsley, or chervil)