Friday, February 10, 2012

From London to Home: Making Crepes

I don't know what sounds more fancy and romantic than crepes. Most people don't know how to pronounce it or pronounce it differently and it can come in all types and flavors. A crepe is the kind of thing you just fantasize about, that is if you're a foodie and especially those of us who love sweet crepes. Sweet crepes are wonderful because you can use all types of fruits, you can have chocolate, you can have Nutella, it will mold and adapt to your ever changing longings and urges. Really, crepes are like a really caring lover. They can be whatever you want them to be.

Perhaps that's an obnoxious comparison, but my friend Nicole showed me in London how versatile crepes can be and taught me the tricks her mother taught her. We started off with a savory crepe for dinner one night. It involved a cheese sauce, bacon, chicken, and mushrooms. All of that wrapped inside a thin crepe like a burrito, with more cheese sauce poured on top, and then baked in the oven. It was savory. It was filling. It was meaty. It was delicious. I was skeptical at first, due to my lack of knowledge in the savory crepe area, but it was wonderful.

But, of course, I still wanted sweet crepes.

After a night of Wicked and magic and tears, they came. Nutella and banana all rolled up inside the thin beautiful crepes. I could barely stop myself from eating them. I had to have the recipe. I promised my family to make them crepes the moment I got home after watching Nicole.

Although I am not, and will never be, the pro crepe flipper that Nicole is... I wanted to make them. I ignored the fact that I would never be able to flip the crepe using just the skillet and a little fancy wrist movement. It was something even Nicole took a while learning. Instead I got the recipe and made them for my family. They were instantly full on one crepe, unlike myself, but loved the combination of chocolate, hazelnut, and banana.

The beauty of the crepe is that you can adjust it, so here I'll post the basis for the actual crepe and you can feel free to fill it with whatever you want, whenever you want.

French Crepes
original recipe from lifestyle food

- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted

1) The recipe calls to sift the flour with a pinch of salt, I was bad and didn't sift, but this might make for a lighter, fluffier crepe if you want to give it a shot. Otherwise just a pinch of salt tossed into the flour was my attempt and it wasn't bad.
2) Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in eggs and milk. Use a whisk to draw together the ingredients slowly and whisk together.
3) Add in melted butter, cover, and set aside. The recipe says to set aside for an hour, but every time we've done it we only let it sit for a few minutes or so. I don't think it hurts it to start earlier, but may lead to a fluffier, lighter version if you give it the time it asks for.
4) Grease a frying pan or crepe pan with butter or some cooking spray.
5) Pour in just enough batter to thinly coat the surface of the pan. Be careful! It's very easy to pour in too much which will make flipping harder and the crepe into more of a heavy pancake (which may be what happened to the ones I made for my family and why they could only eat one). Pour off any excess that you can.
6) Let it cook for about 1 minute until bubbles appear in the batter.
7) Flip the crepe and let the other side cook for another minute or so.
8) Remove crepe from pan, placing on hot plate and continue until all your batter is used up. Stack the crepes on top of each other flat while you are making the others.
9) Have fun mixing up ingredients and rolling them up or folding them into quarters. Try sprinkling some powdered sugar on top or adding a squirt of lemon juice. The flavoring is all up to you. Some of my favorite ingredients I've seen are: bananas, nutella, chocolate, strawberries, ice cream, whipped creme, blueberries, raisins, jams, marshmallows.

I think the real trick to the crepe is not to stress out too much. Although it seems fancy and scary, just have fun and be creative. If it doesn't flip right (I used a spatula and often found myself using other silly tools to help it flip evenly) try something else or start a new one. The batter is easy to make, so you can always do more. They'd make a really fun party food too with a selection of ingredients to put in the center. Just enjoy it and remember, the crepe will do whatever you want it to.

- Mollie

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