If you want to make your own crepes, you'll be glad to know that even though they sound fancy, crepes are basically just pancakes — only thinner.
And because they're thinner, it means we can serve them rolled up with a filling inside, or folded into triangles with a topping.
Even better, you can make either sweet or savory crepes. That means crepes can be served for breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert.
The hardest part of making crepes might be deciding which kind you want.
Also see: Crepe Recipe
Making the Crepe Batter
Making the crepe batter is easy. You just whiz the flour, milk, eggs and other ingredients together in a blender to make the batter. Check out the recipe I linked to above to see the exact ingredients.
Probably the most important thing about the crepe batter is that you need to let it rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before you try to make the crepes. You want the air bubbles to settle so that the finished crepes won't have holes in them. Some chefs like to let their crepe batter sit for two hours, but that's not really necessary.
Making the Crepes
The technique for making a crepe involves pouring a small amount of crepe batter on the center of a heated and lightly oiled pan. You can use a crepe pan or a nonstick sauté pan or omelet pan. There is no exact amount of batter that I can specify for you to pour into the pan to make a crepe, since every pan is different.
I can say that pans that are anywhere from 9 inches to 12 inches will be fine for making crepes. If you're using a 12-inch pan, about 1/3 cup of batter should work. If you're using a 9-inch pan, start with ¼ cup. Here's a 10-inch crepe pan.
It's fine to use a little bit of melted butter on the pan. In reality, you could use a dry nonstick pan, but there's no reason not to add a little butter to the pan.
Not too much, though. You don't want the crepe to be swimming. You can melt some butter in advance and use a pastry brush to brush it on the pan. A mixture of cooking oil and melted butter is even better, since it won't burn so easily. Some plain old cooking spray will work, too.
Flipping the Crepes
It should be easy to flip to crepe, but but since it's so delicate, sharp metal tongs would not be the way to go — for the crepes or for the nonstick surface of your pan. If you have some silicone tongs, those might be better. You could even use your fingers, since the crepe should slide around pretty easily. But if not, you can loosen the edge with a rubber spatula. Or just try giving the pan a quick wiggle — the crepe will probably slide around.
So you're going to flip it in half a minute, then let it cook for about 10 seconds more. Then remove it to a plate and keep making crepes until you've used up all the batter. You can store unused crepe batter in the fridge for a couple of days, and you can refrigerate or even freeze leftover cooked crepes. Just let them cool flat if you're planning to use them later, and store them flat in a zip lock bag.
Crepe Fillings and Toppings
For sweet crepes, you can fill them with fresh fruit, jam or preserves, or even vanilla custard sauce.
A little whipped cream on or a dusting of powdered sugar is a nice touch. And warm crepes with ice cream and chocolate syrup is a classic dessert.
For savory crepes, I like ingredients like sautéed mushrooms, asparagus, cheese, or even cold chicken. Once you've mastered the technique for making crepes, there's no limit to what you can come up with.