I know how to make crepes, like the real, authentic French kind; this is a fact that I reveal only to the trusted people in my close circle who won’t exploit me for this (welcome to my circle). I once made the mistake of volunteering to make crepes at a family holiday brunch years ago and ended up spending the entire time in the kitchen making batch after batch. My suggestion is that you use your newfound crepe-making skill sparingly and impress the hell out of close friends rather than 20 relatives, but, hey, do as you please.
What you’ll need:
- Flour: roughly 2 cups
- Eggs: 2
- Milk: we’ll have to wait and see, but probably 3-4 cups of whole or 2% milk (no skim!)
- Vanilla extract: roughly 2 tbsp.
- Butter: for the pan
- Rum: about 1/4 cup or so
- A flat nonstick frying pan
The trick to making authentic crepes according to the family that taught me to make them in France is to leave precise measurements to the wind; this tends to make people nervous. I say give it a try and start over if you ruin everything; you’ll get it eventually.
To start, take about 1 ½ cups of the flour and put it into a mixing bowl. Add the two eggs to the flour and mix them together with a whisk until the mixture is fairly smooth; this will help you avoid having lumps in the batter, which is one of the things that will make your crepes superior (wink).
Next, add in the vanilla and the rum. With the rum, you can be a little bit generous because it adds to the flavor and helps make the crepes stay crispier, which is yet another thing that will distinguish your crepes from the rest. I’ve never measured it exactly, but I would say between ¼ and ½ cup is perfect.
Mix the ingredients thoroughly and make sure the batter is as lump-free as possible before you start adding the milk. You’ll want to add the milk slowly because we’re after a certain consistency that’s similar to heavy whipping creme or a light cheese sauce. It has to be thin enough to spread out quickly over the surface of the pan. This is why we leave out a bit of flour and overestimate on the milk; you can add it in later if the consistency is off. Most recipes say that you’ll want two cups of milk, but I usually end up using three.
Once you’ve got the batter prepared in all its soupy glory, it’s time to turn on the stove to medium heat, slightly lower if you have a gas stove that acts like a flame thrower. Throw a dollop of butter in the pan and melt it so that it covers the whole surface. Take the pan off the burner and use a ladle to put about 1/2 cup of the batter into the pan; you’ll want to be moving the pan around so that the batter spreads out into a nice round, thin pre-crepe. I don’t know why, but the first one never turns out like the rest; I suspect it has something to do with the pan not being fully heated, but I’m not sure.
Once the crepe starts to brown on the edges, it’s time to flip it. This should be very easy to do, so if it’s sticking to the pan, you’ll need more butter for the next one. Once you flip it, it’ll take about 2-4 minutes to cook the other side, but watch it carefully. I like to make the stack and keep them in the oven so they stay fresh and warm, but usually they just end up on peoples’ plates, so use the oven trick if you’re making them ahead of time.
Things that are traditional and amazing on crepes:
- Sugar with fresh-squeezed lemon or lime juice
- Butter and powdered sugar
- Just butter
- Honey (usually the whipped kind)
So, dear readers, do you make crepes? Any special things you like to add?