Pâte à Crêpes

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Your basic French pancakes are called crêpes. You have heard of them even if you haven’t had them. Like a good many of the world’s greatest tastes, they are a whole lot easier to make than you may think. The main problem is that people who are good cooks are not necessarily food teachers and/or writers. Just follow these simple directions and you will get perfect results every time.

First – start off with Julia Child’s basic crêpe recipe.

——–Base – night before——–

1 cup cold water
1 cup cold milk
4 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 Tbs melted unsalted butter

——–Cooking——–

3 Tbs skillet lube
3 Tbs unsalted butter (or more)

Put all the night before ingredients into a blender the night before. Mix it up on high speed for about a minute. If some of the flour got stuck to the side(s) of the blender then just scrape it down and blend for a couple more seconds. Stick the whole vessel in the refrigerator and let it chill overnight. Julia gives a 2 hour minimum but I find that it works better overnight.

If you followed the above measures you shouldn’t have any problem with the thickness. When you take the blender vessel out of the ridge you may have a little bit of separation at the top. No biggie – just put back onto the blender and hit it for a couple of seconds.

Now melt a small amount of butter in a small skillet or other small pan. You do NOT need to spend multi-bucks on dedicated and specialized crêpe pans, just use a medium non-stick slope sided pan. You do want to get a silicon basting brush since the old-fashioned bristles melt when used for hot pan lubing. I’ve had very good result with a silicon brush. It doesn’t do basting very well but does do hot pan lubing quite nicely. Lube up the crêpe skillet with a very thin layer of lube of choice. I like butter, but olive oil or any other kitchen oil of choice can be used. Pour a thin layer about half the diameter of your skillet and swirl it around until there is a very thin lay coating the bottom. Relax for a while – a short while. Now we could talk about cooking time and all sorts of other things, but that is not necessary. When you get the temperature right – which is highly dependent on your stove, burner size, pan size, etc – you will know it. Anyway – just watch the crêpe, when the liquid look has disappeared from the top of the crêpe and the shiny has been replaced by a smooth mat look, then flip it. When you have the temperature and the time right it only takes another thirty seconds or so to do the second side. Flipping. Not rocket science. I use a silicon spatula to lift one edge, then grab with fingers and flop it over. You can do the fancy in the air flip if you are so inclined. Do shake the pan just a bit to make sure that the crêpe settles down with full contact.

You generally only have to re-lube about every second or third crêpe or so.

Now, stuffings. Basically whatever you like. Grated hardboiled egg, grated cheese, ham, prosciutto, sour cream, whipped cream, cottage cheese, caviar, jam of one kind or another. Whatever you like. A rather traditional is two spears of asparagus, some shredded cheese, a couple of strips of ham. Make them sweet, make them tart, make them whatever you like. Sour cream, a light sprinkle of caviar and minced onion or shallot is nice. Sprinkle inside or outside with powdered sugar if you like. Oh yeah, I guess that you do know to roll them up with the goodies in the middle. You may want to brush the inside with melted butter before adding the stuffing.

You can make a breakfast, lunch, dinner, or desert with these little goodies. After you do your first batch you will realize that thinking of these as hard or complicated is nonsense. They are pretty easy, after all.

It works better if you make them up ahead and keep on a warming plate and serve with all the goodies in little dishes so that each can make his own. Alternatively have a second person stuffing and wrapping as fast as they come off the pan. It is just about impossible for one person to get them cooked and stuff before they all get cold.

You may notice that these are very similar to blini, you can stuff them samey-samey if you like. You can use yeast in a blin (plural blini) if you like – but never in a crêpe.

{{Herself Sez: I find myself treating these like blini, but there are many other ways to go! Crepes St. Jacques, using Coquille St. Jacques as stuffing and as a “pour-over” is fabulous! So is a stuffing of a cheese blend (cottage cheese, ricotta, and marscapone or cream cheese plus a Tbs or so of sherry) with either a fruit jam or warm fruit compote on top. YUM!}}

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2 Responses to “Pâte à Crêpes”

  1. wendy landry Says:

    I have some problems with my browser NetCaptor on your internet site. The chimpanzees are in the system :-(.

    • turtlemom3 Says:

      I’m sorry! WordPress is optimized for IE, Firefox, and, I think, Opera. Netscape seems to work with it, too. You might want to try Firefox. I believe the Linux applications will work OK, too.

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