Crepes Made Easy

Celebrate Mobile's French heritage by mastering the art of the crepe.

Photos by Elizabeth Gelineau

Even those who swear they can’t cook an egg can whip up a batch of pancakes on a Saturday morning, right? But would you believe crepes fall into that category, too?

Gloriously thin and extravagantly filled, this highfalutin French treat is deceptively easy. Crepes are truly nothing but pancakes in disguise, and our foolproof recipe will make you the master of the spatula. A dusting of sugar is all these dough babies really need, but a few sweet or savory filling ideas can turn a glorified flapjack into the stuff of your Saturday morning dreams.

Foolproof Crepes

Crepes can be stacked without fear they will stick together. Cover loosely with a kitchen towel to keep them warm.

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for buttering pan
1 1/2 cups milk
4 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 pinches kosher salt

1. Partially melt 3 tablespoons butter in the bottom of a medium saucepan. Remove from heat and add to a large mixing bowl. Finish melting the butter off the heat by whisking until fully melted.
2. Add milk, eggs, flour and salt, and whisk to combine. The mixture may be slightly lumpy. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
3. Remove batter from refrigerator and whisk again. Heat a 12- to 13-inch flat nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add a teaspoon of butter and spread with a spatula to coat the entire pan. Add 1/3 cup of batter and roll the pan around until the batter completely covers the bottom of the pan.
4. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes, or until the pancake is cooked through. Using a large spatula, gently flip the crepe and continue cooking for 1 more minute.
5. Remove to a large plate and start the process again until all the batter has been used. Fill and fold crepes according to your preference and enjoy! Makes 8 12-inch crepes.

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The recipe calls to finish melting the butter off the heat by whisking until fully melted. This prevents the butter from getting too hot and cooking your eggs while still in the bowl.

Make ahead: The batter can be refrigerated up to four days without a problem.

If the batter doesn’t easily roll around the pan, it is too thick. Add another splash of milk to the bowl and try again.

If you roll the batter around the pan and are left with an empty spot, drop a little more batter in the holes. It will all cook together and be fine.

We love to use a large flexible fish turner to flip crepes (available at Target), but if you don’t have that, you can use two smaller spatulas to get the job done.

Crepes can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the fridge overnight. Just microwave covered for 10 – 30 seconds to rewarm, or place in a baking dish covered with foil and cook at 250 degrees for 10 minutes. Then fill and fold as desired.

Spinach Artichoke and Goat Cheese Crepes

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 (8-ounce) bag fresh spinach
1 (12-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 (8-ounce) package goat cheese
honey, Parmesan and crushed red pepper flakes, for garnish

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add garlic. Add the salt, pepper and crushed red pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in spinach and artichokes, cooking for 5 – 6 minutes or until the spinach is fully wilted. Reduce heat to low and stir in the Parmesan cheese, then remove from heat.
2. Working with one pre-made crepe at a time, spread the goat cheese evenly across one half of the crepe. Top with a few tablespoons of the spinach mixture. Fold in half and then in half again. Transfer to a plate or serving platter. Keep warm. Repeat until all the crepes and filling are used. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with Parmesan and red pepper to taste and serve immediately. Makes 8.

Wild Mushroom and Gruyere Crepes

8 cups wild mushrooms (we used cremini, shitake and baby portobello)
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
leaves from 3 thyme sprigs
1/3 cup water
salt and pepper, to taste
10 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated

1. Clean mushrooms and roughly chop the large ones, removing any woody stems as needed.
2. In a large saute pan combine the butter and olive oil over low heat. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Toss in the thyme and cook for a few seconds. Add the mushroom and 1/3 cup water. Season with salt and pepper and cook until liquid is evaporated and the mushrooms are cooked down and tender. Taste and add additional salt if needed.
3. Warm a large nonstick skillet and add a pre-made crepe. Sprinkle with 2 – 3 tablespoons of Gruyere cheese and heat until slightly melted. Immediately remove from heat and fold. Keep warm until all crepes are reheated. Top folded crepes with mushroom mixture and serve immediately. Makes 8.

Lemon, Fig and Ricotta Crepes 

2 cups part-skim ricotta
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons fig preserves
zest of 1 lemon
lemon zest, honey and powdered sugar, for garnish

1. Place first 4 ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk together until light and fluffy. Refrigerate until ready to use.
2. Spoon 3 to 4 tablespoons of the ricotta filling in a line down one side of a pre-made crepe. Gently roll up and place on a plate or platter. Drizzle with honey, dust with powdered sugar and sprinkle with lemon zest before serving. Serve immediately. Makes 8.

Filling Suggestions

These are three of our favorite recipes, but there is no need to over think it. Any flavor combo you love will work with our delicious fail-proof crepes. Experiment!

Try these easy sweet ideas:
– strawberries and whipped cream
– cinnamon, sugar and butter
– bananas, peanut butter and honey
– chocolate hazelnut spread
– lemon curd and powdered sugar
– sliced fresh fruit and vanilla yogurt

A few savory options: 
– diced ham and melted Swiss
– smoked salmon, creme fraiche
– creamed crabmeat
– pesto, tomatoes and mozzarella
– melted brie and raspberry jam
– green peas, ricotta and mint

Next Level Stuff

Once you’ve tackled the basic crepe, you might be feeling a tad adventurous. Now try mastering the Mille Crepe, an epic French cake made of layers and layers of crepes held together with homemade custard and topped with whipped cream. “Mille” means a thousand, so get cooking.

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