January 19, 2011 § 15 Comments
One of the kitchen implements I’ve been hankering after for years is a crêpe pan — after living in Europe for many years during my childhood, I have a particular sentimental fondness for these thin, delicate “pancakes”-that-aren’t. There are so many variations on the batter, and once you’ve made them, you can top or fill them with most anything you could conceive: they can be savory, with spinach, mushrooms, onions, and parmesan, or sweet, with strawberries and Nutella. The possibilities for deliciousness are unlimited.
The problem here is that crêpes are difficult (but not impossible!) to make without a nonstick, shallow pan: they are often marketed specifically as crêpe pans, but of course can be used for many many other things, and if you’ve got any kind of shallow nonstick skillet, you’re in business. I hadn’t even tried making crêpes because I didn’t have any nonstick pans, but as fate would have it, my sister and her husband got me a crêpe pan for Christmas last month! (Thanks again, Julia & Matt!!) I was forced to wait to use it until I got back from my travels over the holidays, but when Erik and I returned, we broke it out as soon as we had a chance.
We decided that we would start with a fairly simple lemon crêpe recipe: it’s pretty much a basic crêpe recipe but with some lemon zest and lemon juice added in. This was also an excellent recipe to complement my own favorite crepe topping, which is very simple but so very elegant: powdered sugar and lemon juice. Divine.
(makes about 8 crêpes; original recipe found here)
1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c milk
1/2 c, less one tbsp, water
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 tbsp powdered sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/4 tsp salt
Start off by mixing together all the ingredients. I suggest you do this in the order in which they’re listed above: we didn’t pay much attention to the order and whisked together the eggs and milk, and then added the lemon zest and juice, and unhappily our milk started curdling a little bit. We managed to strain out the batter and it turned out perfectly fine, but that’s a hassle you shouldn’t have to deal with if you just add the zest and juice right at the end.
When you have all your ingredients combined, whisk them until the batter is smooth, and then let it rest for about 20 minutes in the refrigerator.
So, now it’s time to get started on making the crêpes. Put a small pat of butter in the center of the pan over medium heat, and swirl it around so it coats much of the pan. Pour about 3 tbsp of the batter into the pan: if you can, you’ll want to do this all at once, instead of 1 tbsp at a time. It makes getting a coherent and sort-of-round shape much easier. As soon as the batter hits the pan, swirl it around so that you coat most of the bottom of the pan; it’ll solidify very fast, so you’ll want to do this as quickly as possible.
Cook each side of the crêpe for about a minute. When the first side is done, gently slide a spatula underneath to flip it (yes, this can be tricky; yes, we failed a few times; yes, they still tasted delicious).
When your second side is finished, slide the crêpe off onto a plate, and repeat with the rest of the batter.
Serve with your favorite toppings, and enjoy!