Crepes are amazing: The thin, delicate pancakes are always a treat and can be dressed up in so many ways, both sweet and savory. However, making crepes has earned a bad rap — that it’s too difficult and requires an expensive specialty pan.
Don’t be fooled! The truth is that crepes are very easy to make and require nothing beyond the pans you already have in your kitchen — and that means that you can enjoy them for breakfast as often as I do.
Give this recipe for simple crepes a try — you’ll be a pro at making these classic pancakes in no time.
A crepe batter starts out with just a few ingredients: milk, flour, salt and eggs. Crepes are so thin that they don’t need any leavening in the batter, and most of the flavor comes with the filling. The batter is whisked together and poured into a greased pan, where it is cooked until golden. Any round pan will work — you don’t need a special crepe pan.
You can use any kind of milk to make your batch of crepes. I typically use low-fat milk. Whole milk will make a more tender crepe, which is ideal when you are planning to make sweet crepes for breakfast or dessert. Skim milk will make a slightly less tender crepe, which will be a little bit stronger and easier to fold and roll when trying to wrap your crepe around more complicated fillings.
In the end, your crepes will still taste good no matter what kind of milk you use, so don’t hesitate to make the recipe with whatever you have on hand.
Secret to the perfect crepe
The key to making a perfect crepe is getting the batter to spread thinly across the surface of your pan. The best way to do this is to pour the batter right into the center of the pan, then tilt the pan around until the batter spreads out as much as possible. This will give you an even crepe every time, though you may have a few odd edges here and there if you pour too little batter into the pan.
The beauty of the tile-the-pan method is that you can use it to make crepes of any size. I typically use a 10-inch skillet because I like large crepes, but the method works equally well with both small and large pans.
When it comes to serving crepes, I like to keep things simple. Here are some ideas:
- Serve them with maple syrup
- Spread the flat crepes with jam before folding them up
- Roll your crepes around some cooked breakfast sausages for some “pigs in a blanket,” which would make a very impressive brunch dish.
- Cover them with Nutella, sliced bananas and a dollop of whipped cream.
Crepes should be served shortly after they are made. However, they can be kept warm in the oven (at a low temperature) while you cook them. It only takes a minute or two to cook each one, so it does not take long to cook a whole batch. Feel free to double this recipe if you need to serve a big crowd.
Recipe for Basic Crepes
- 2 cups milk
- 4 large eggs
- 3/4 cup + 1 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
In a large bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, flour and salt vigorously until very smooth, about 2 minutes. This can also be done in a food processor. Transfer batter to a measuring cup or a bowl with a pour spout and let batter rest for 15-30 minutes. Batter can also be kept, covered, in the refrigerator overnight.
Heat a nonstick skillet over high heat. Grease with butter or vegetable oil. Pour about 1/2 cup of batter (for an 8- to 10-inch skillet) into the center of the pan and tilt the pan until the batter covers the surface of the skillet. Don’t worry if the edges are less-than-perfect.
Cook crepe until the top is just set and the bottom is very lightly browned, about 1 minute. Slide a spatula around the edge of the crepe to release it, then flip it over to cook on the other side, about 1 minute more. Serve immediately.