I think I've realized something: crepes are actually really forgiving to make. When you start to think about it, you tend to worry about everything from getting the batter right to how you have to twirl the pan just so, and, most importantly, how you'll flip these delicate, thin pancakes without breaking them. All fair considerations but from my experience, it's never as hard as you feared. So don't think too much about it and just go ahead and make some crepes!
You don't need special equipment. If you have a blender, great! You can whiz the batter up in seconds. But if you don't have one, a large bowl and whisk will do just fine. There's also no need for a crepe pan; a trusty non-stick skillet works perfectly well. And even when it comes to recipes, there may be some variations - some calling for a bit more liquid ingredients than others - but they tend to work. I may not be an expert but I've made crepes with low-fat milk and water, chocolate ones, and now this fairly classic small-batch recipe, all with ease.
There are tips for higher crepe-making success that I've read and followed, including...
- Straining the batter through a fine mesh sieve
- Letting the batter rest overnight (or at least a few hours) before cooking
...but even if you don't have time to do those things, many people will attest that you don't need to and your crepes will turn out just fine.
And the neat thing is that crepes are also a good make-ahead. For example, I made my small batch of crepes on Friday afternoon. I stacked them on a plate (I didn't even put wax paper in between; they don't stick together) and refrigerated them. Next morning, I simply warmed each briefly in a hot, dry skillet, then filled them and served them up for breakfast on Saturday. Making and enjoying crepes at home seems "fancy" but it's really quite easy.
And if you're looking for a recipe that makes a few crepes - 5, to be precise - this is what we have here. It can feed two people nicely or three if you need to stretch it.
I made sweet crepes, filling a couple with chestnut cream and with Nutella chocolate-hazelnut spread. Somehow, having crepes for breakfast made a foggy, dark morning a little more cheerful.
I used a blender to whiz up the batter but you can use a food processor or a blend well in a bowl using a whisk. For extra security, I do pass the batter through a fine sieve and let it rest for a while but I know plenty of people don't do that and the crepes turn out just fine. In this case, I let the batter rest a couple of hours in the refrigerator but I've also left crepe batter overnight. As with most pancake-like batters, letting it rest allows the flour to absorb the liquid ingredients. The rationale is that it also allows air bubbles to subside so there's less chance of breakage when cooking the thin crepes. I say do try to let the batter rest for at least 15-20 minutes before cooking but I wouldn't sweat it beyond that.
I use a 10-inch non-stick skillet (you'll end up with about 8-inch round crepes) to cook my five crepes; the first one is shown above. Heat the pan well and grease it evenly with a little butter. Pour 1/4 cup of batter into the center of the pan. I quickly swirl the pan to get the batter as evenly distributed as possible. Within 30 seconds or so, the sides begin to dry. Gently lift to check that it's set and then give it a good, quick decisive flip with a thin spatula or your fingertips. The second side needs to cook briefly and then you can transfer it to a plate.
Once you have your 5 crepes made, you can decide how you want to fill them. Since I intended sweet crepes, there's a little sugar in the batter and I added vanilla extract as well. For savory crepes, simply skip those things. Have fun customizing the filling, whether you use Nutella or chestnut cream like I did or go with jam or peanut butter and banana. You can even save the extra (if you make crepes for 2 and serve two to each person) for ice cream and hot fudge sauce, which is always a winner.
Here's to weekend breakfasts!
Crepes for Two (or three...)
- Makes 5 (approximately 8-inch) crepes -
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar*
3/4 cup milk (I used whole)
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract*
Filling ideas: chocolate-hazelnut spread, chestnut cream, jam, peanut butter, butter and sugar, fruit...
* Omit if planning to use crepes for a savory, rather than sweet, filling
Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a blender. Add milk, egg, and vanilla extract. Puree until mixture is smooth and bubbles form on top (scrape the blender as needed to thoroughly mix ingredients together. [You can do this without a blender by whisking ingredients thoroughly together until well combined.]
Let batter sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before using (or cover and refrigerator for up to a day; for extra insurance, you can also pass the batter through a fine mesh sieve before allowing it to rest. )
To cook crepes, thoroughly heat a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. If your batter has been resting for a while, give it a whisk. You're looking for the consistency of thin cream and can thin the batter out with a little extra milk, if needed. Lightly grease the pan with an even coat of butter or oil. Holding the handle of the pan with one hand, pour 1/4 cup of batter into the center of the pan. Twirl the pan to distribute the batter as evenly around as possible. Let cook for about 30 seconds to a minute, or until crepe begins to set and dry. Gently lift the edge of the crepe with a thin spatula and using fingertips from both hands, flip it over. Cook the second side for another 10-20 seconds. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining batter, greasing the pan as needed.
Make-ahead: You can cook the crepes 1-3 days ahead, stacking them on a plate (no need for wax paper in between). Once cooled, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. When ready to eat, warm each in a hot nonstick skillet, fill as desired, and serve immediately.