How to Make Crepes: Just Call Me a French Chef Because I Mastered the Crepe by Terri Jones
I studied French from the seventh grade through high school, went to Quebec with my French class in middle school, traveled to Paris, Bordeaux and Nice when I was 25 and then headed back to Paris again at 51. J’aime (I love) all things French, so it goes without saying that I adore crepes (pronounced creps, not crapes, thank you very much!), mainly the sugary kind I had at The Magic Pan at the mall during my high-school years.
But mon dieu (my God), I never imagined making a crepe myself – that was a culinary feat only to be attempted by trained French chefs and people with fancy crepe makers. But when I stumbled upon a crepe recipe while looking for a light dessert for dinner guests the other day, I decided to throw caution to the wind – and some delicate batter on a pan – and give this iconic French dish a twirl (you’ll get this joke later). I bought a backup dessert, just in case. Here’s a play by play of my first foray into the land of crepes...
Here's how to make them:
1. Whisk together all ingredients to make your batter. Pop your batter in the fridge for at least an hour to allow the flour to fully absorb the liquid (I am known for cutting corners in cooking, but I’d advise not cutting this one!).
Tip: I’ve since read that many chefs substitute soda water for some of the milk (apparently, it makes for a lighter crepe, but I have no basis for comparison). Also, some don’t use sugar or cinnamon, but do use salt and/or melted butter.
2. When you’re ready to cook those crepes, heat up an 8-inch pan until it’s good and hot. I used a Teflon-coated omelette pan, but apparently there are pans specifically designed for making crepes. Who knew?! Melt some butter in the bottom and pour about 2 tablespoons or a 4-inch circle of batter into the pan. Next comes the tricky part (and the payoff for the joke above). Twirl your pan this way and that to cover the bottom with batter.
Tip: I found that the crepes flipped more easily if I stayed just a skosh away from the edges.
3. Cook the first side until the top looks dry. (Yeah, I didn’t understand that description either, but then I watched a YouTube that showed what dry looks like. It’s similar to a hard vs. runny yolk. Make sense now?) Once the liquid is cooked – but just barely – ease your spatula under one of the edges and carefully flip.
Tip: This is where you’ll either tear the crepe or it’ll fold over on you. If it folds, simply use your fingers to gently unfold it and try flipping again. If it tears, that becomes the tasting crepe. (I got a really good idea of what my crepes tasted like!)
4. Because the first side is all but cooked once you flip it, you won’t need to let it cook more than 15 or 20 seconds. In the end, some of my crepes were a bit brown and others weren’t brown at all, but they all tasted yummy! I think it has to do with how much butter was in the pan.
Tip: I started by re-buttering the pan after every crepe, but limited it to after every two or three crepes midway through the batch. Cool your crepes on a wire rack.
You’ll find lots of ways to fill – sweet and savory – and even fold your crepes online. Crepes store, separated by wax paper, in the refrigerator for days. I had them for dessert one night and breakfast two days later. Bon appetit!
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All-Purpose Flour $3 & Up
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