The secrets to a good crêpe are a good batter (with some nice flavouring) and a great pan. Julia Child is my batter whisperer and a wonderful houseguest provided the pan: The Rock made by Starfrit. (This pan is the bomb. Its shallow rim makes crepe flipping easy and it is truly non-stick.)
A crêpe is basically a very thin, tender pancake. Crêpe sounds so much better than pancake too don’t you think? Translating English into French doesn’t always work to class things up though. An Irishman offering English Channel swimming advice referred to sea sickness as mal de mer….cool name, still a bad thing. I digress…
Here is Julia’s recipe for a light batter for sweet breakfast crêpes that are great with a drizzle of lemon and a sprinkle of sugar or rolled up with a filling of fresh berries. It couldn’t be easier as you make them in the blender the night before.
- 3/4 cup milk
- 3/4 cup cold water
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons orange liqueur, rum or brandy (I use brandy. If you like, substitute a teaspoon of vanilla or orange blossom flavouring and make the rest of the missing liquid up with water.)
- 1 cup flour
- 5 tablespoons melted butter (Don’t even think about using margarine. Julia wouldn’t like it.)
Place the ingredients in the blender jar in the order in which they are listed. Cover and blend at top speed for one minute. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight. OK why let it rest for two hours? This is what I love about Julia…she tells you why. The rest allows the flour particles to expand in the liquid and insures a tender, light and thin crepe.
Now for the fun. If you have the time, check out the master at work in person.
Brush your pan lightly with butter. (If you don’t have thoughtful houseguest to bring you the perfect pan, a regular skillet will work although the flipping will be tricky and you may want to go with a spatula.)
Pour 1/4 cup of batter into the heated pan. Lift the pan and quickly tilt in all directions to run the batter all over the pan in a thin film. Return the pan to the heat for 60 to 80 seconds. Jerk and toss pan sharply back and forth to loosen the crêpe. Turn the crêpe using a spatula if timid or try the flip method. It’s all in the wrist.
Cook for about half minute on the other side and serve. If you make a batch a bit ahead they can be kept warm in the oven.