May 29 2011

A New Toy

Published by Christine at 8:30 am under Breakfast,Lunch,Vegetarian

In Paris, street food is, to my mind, a tad more exciting than hot dogs ‘n kraut. A crêpe (very thin pancake), filled with anything from crème de marrons (chestnut cream) to Nutella or cheese, is a more likely find. Watching the vendors quickly spread the batter, flip a crêpe and fill it before wrapping it in a paper napkin and handing it over is an exercise in humility (so adept are they at their trade) and glorious gourmandise (so delicious are those confections).

For years, I have infrequently made crêpes at home using a flat-bottomed, nonstick pan on the stove. It’s easy enough to make them that way, but I either never really developed the right method, or the right recipe, to truly enjoy the process enough that I would want to be regularly bothered making them. But this week, something happened that revolutionized my relationship with crêpe-making. The fabric of the universe as we know it might have been torn ever so slightly, and things will likely never be the same again: I bought an electric crêpe-maker, and I think I might be in love.

Now, I’m not the type to give into kitchen gadgetry, by which I mean the kind of contraption that can only be used for a single purpose (egg-slicer, anyone?), but this thing is really nifty. I just find it so much easier, not to mention more fun, to make crêpes this way. The temperature is reliably constant, and the included wooden spreader makes it a snap to control the thickness of the crêpe. The grill is also great for making pancakes or eggs, by the way, so I don’t feel so bad about having bought one.

Since I received my wonderful new toy, I have made crêpes several ways: the first night, I filled them with eggs over-easy and aged gruyère cheese; the second time, it was Nutella all the way; and tonight, I made a filling of mushrooms and black beans with lemon zest and cilantro, topped with sour cream. Now *that* was truly great. My daughter asked me why I hadn’t made more than one crêpe per person, no realizing she had already wolfed down two of them. That’s how addictive crêpes can be.

I hope that whether or not you have a crêpe-maker, you will try to make some at home. The batter couldn’t be easier to handle (a blender takes care of the work), and the only limit to the kind of filling you can use is your imagination – with a little bit of that, you can even make believe you’re walking down the banks of the Seine, nibbling on a delicious crêpe, with nothing on your mind but the long days of summer. Bliss.


Makes about 20 12″ crêpes

3 cups milk
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
4 Tbsp melted and cooled butter
4 eggs

In a blender, mix the flour, salt and milk until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, blending well after each. Add butter and run the blender for a few more seconds. Let the mix rest in the refrigerator at least one hour before using. This will help the gluten develop and will make your crêpes sturdier and much easier to handle.

To cook: spread enough batter to cover the crêpe-maker or the bottom of a flat, nonstick pan. Cook briefly over medium-heat until the underside of the crêpe begins to brown, then, using a spatula, flip over and cook on other side for a few more seconds. Stack crêpes on a plate until ready to use.


...and tails

Filling: Anything you fancy. Nutella is a favorite for dessert, as well as fruit fillings. Savory crêpes are also a very common thing to have for lunch or dinner, along with a salad. You can try any kind of vegetable, cheese, meat, or fish, or any combination thereof.

Re-heat the crêpe and spread filling (here, Nutella) over half.

Fold in half...

... and in half again. It is now ready to serve!

Savory crêpes filled with mushrooms, beans, lemon zest and cilantro, topped with sour cream.


2 responses so far

2 Responses to “A New Toy”

  1. Stacyon 30 May 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Ooooh…and you don’t have to worry about them hitting the floor when you flip them!

  2. Christineon 30 May 2011 at 6:02 pm

    Precisely! Or the ceiling, for that matter…

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