Crepes are one of those seemingly formidable items that people enjoy but are often afraid to do themselves. They really aren’t as difficult as they appear! It does take a bit of practice to get the pan at the temperature and to have enough batter without making them too thick. Thankfully they’re easy to mix together, aren’t expensive, and can be used for everything from breakfast/brunch, to lunch, dinner and dessert.
Tips for Successful Crepes
While most recipes call for adding clarified butter to the batter I find that regular melted butter works fine.
Have eggs, milk, and water at room temperature to avoid seizing up melted butter
Batter should rest for at least 1 hour before cooking to allow the starch granules in the flour to hydrate resulting in a more tender crepe.
There is no need to have a ‘crepe pan’ in order to successfully cook crepes. Any small regular or non-stick sauté pan will work.
A droplet of water should just “dance” across the surface of the pan when it’s at the right temperature. If it turns to steam immediately then the pan is too hot.
If using a regular pan (without non-stick coating), be sure to oil the pan before each crepe.
If a crepe “crumples up” when trying to turn it over, use your fingers to flatten it out rather than a rubber spatula which will tend to tear the crepe.
Flavor can be varied by adding extracts, chopped fresh herbs, or spices to the batter. (i.e. curry crepes, dill & chive crepes, cocoa crepes)
Crepes can be made ahead and frozen. Stack crepes with a piece of parchment paper or waxed paper between each one and wrap tightly in a freezer bag. Thaw completely before separating or they will tear.
Black Forest Cherry Crepes
(as prepared on “Mid-Morning Live” with Sonny & Jody, WTOC – Savannah
Don’t let the multi-steps of this recipe scare you off…there are three components to the recipe: crepes, filling, and sauce but none of them are particularly difficult. Any extra crepes can be frozen for later use. These are more of a dessert crepe but would be just as delicious in the morning. We have hot chocolate, preserves, and cream cheese as part of breakfast so what’s wrong with combining them in a breakfast crepe?
Yield: About 6 Servings
Cocoa Crepes (makes about 12-14 crepes):
3 eggs, room temperature
2/3 cup milk, room temperature
2/3 cup water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons melted butter
non-stick spray or vegetable oil for cooking crepes
Beat eggs in a medium mixing bowl until well beaten. Add milk, water, vanilla, and sugar to eggs and beat until mixed together. While whisking continuously, whisk in the cocoa powder and flour until blended. Whisk in the melted butter. A few lumps may remain but they should soften upon sitting and should be able to smoothed out after resting. Set aside for 1 hour to allow starch to hydrate. Refrigerate if resting for a longer period of time (may be refrigerated overnight at this point). After batter has rested for 1 hour, whisk vigorously again and strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl.
Preheat an 8-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat until a few drops of cold water sprinkled on it “dance” across the surface. If it turns to steam the pan is too hot and if it doesn’t bead up or steam, the pan is too cool. When the pan is the right temperature, spray non-stick spray onto a bunched up paper towel and rub the surface of the heated pan to thoroughly grease. (You may also drizzle a small amount of oil in a dish and dab with the paper towel.) The surface should just glisten, there shouldn’t be any depth of oil or spray in the pan.
Pick up the sauté pan from the burner with one hand, and with a 2-oz. ladle (1/4 cup) in the other hand, pour about 3 tablespoons of batter into one side of the sauté pan and tilt in either a clock-wise or counter-clockwise rotation (depending on which hand you hold the pan with) to evenly coat the bottom of the pan. Return pan to the burner and cook just until the surface of the crepe no longer ‘glistens’. Using a heat-safe rubber spatula, carefully begin to loosen the edges of the crepes until you can reach under center of the crepe with the rubber spatula and flip it over to the uncooked side. The second side of the crepe needs to cook for only about 30 seconds. Do not be upset if the first crepe doesn’t turn out correctly. Very often the first crepe or two may stick but as the pan becomes ‘seasoned’ from the oil they will release more easily.
Remove crepe from pan to a plate and allow to cool. Crepes can typically be stacked on top of one another after cooking without need for parchment or waxed paper between them.
1 8-oz. block cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Combine all ingredients in a mixer bowl and beat until smooth.
Lay crepes out on work surface (counter, cutting board, etc.) and place a tablespoon of filling in the center of each crepe. Fold crepe in half and gently press cheese filling out to flatten slightly and then fold crepe into quarters. Place crepes on serving platter or plates until sauce is ready.
1 cup tart cherry preserves
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
grated chocolate (optional – for garnish)
Place cherry preserves in a small sauté pan and heat until melted. Add the brandy and if using a gas stove, tilt the pan slightly to ignite and cook away the stronger alcoholic taste. If using an electric stove, simmer for about 3 minutes to cook away some of the alcohol vapor. Add the lemon juice, tasting as necessary to adjust the sweet/tart balance of the preserves.
*Kirschwasser is a clear cherry brandy available in liquor stores.
Lay two crepes leaning against each other on dessert plates.
Spoon hot cherry sauce over the top of the crepes and sprinkle with finely grated chocolate to garnish.