Very little makes me happier, in that contented-happy kind of way, than a Sunday morning in pajamas. Sure, the hubs is still out of town and the boy and I have 6 dozen things that we need to do today, including laundry and shopping for a new backpack, but for just a little while, I get to pretend that the day holds nothing more demanding than pajamas and something just a wee bit special for breakfast.
One of the things I’ve finally figured out is that there are two kinds of recipes. There are ingredient-driven recipes, such as molé sauce, and there are technique-driven recipes that don’t require the kitchen sink but demand a degree of finesse. Hollandaise is the queen of the latter. The technique-y ones, should you be wondering, intimidate me the most. I’m comfortable mixing and matching spices, substituting beets for celeriac, making up flavor combinations for quick breads. But fussy recipes requiring particular care? They scare the crap out of me.
Crêpes, for example, have very few ingredients, but require a fair bit of technique. The first time I made them, as part of the breakfast lab in my intro to culinary class, I hovered over the pan like an out-of-control helicopter parent certain that her little darling crepe was going to burn out of control and the entirety of my hopes and dreams would flame out with it.
Naturally, it came out desperately undercooked.
By the sixth crepe I managed to let go of my need to hover and turned out a pretty decent batch of the things. More importantly, I passed the lab. All of which is to say that we had crêpes for breakfast this morning.
One of the beautiful things about crêpes is that they’re a brilliantly blank (and French!) canvas adaptable for savory or sweet fillings. And there is something about their (French!) crêpe-yness that invites playing with flavors.
Today was about sweet crêpes. Lightly sweetened cream cheese spread, cherry spoon fruit, fresh blueberries, and lemon curd were the stars, and I’m almost, allllmost, ready to head out into the snow in search of the perfect replacement backpack. Maybe just a little more coffee before we go.
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup milk
2 Tbs butter melted, then allowed to cool slightly
3 Tbs sugar*
Pinch of salt
1 cup AP flour
Whisk all ingredients together in a large bowl (I use a spouted mixing bowl to make it easier to pour)
Cover and let rest for at least 20 minutes*
While your batter is resting, clarify 3-4 Tbs butter by melting it and skimming the solids off the top. The remaining clear liquid is what you’ll use for cooking your crêpes.*
Spread a clean towel on the counter and top it with some parchment or wax paper
Preheat your crêpe pan* over medium
Brush with some of the clarified butter
Swirl in about 1/8 cup of the batter, making sure to coat the entire pan. It should be very, very thin.
Wait until the crêpe loses its sheen and becomes brown around the edges
While you can carefully remove the crêpe and flip it over to brown the other side, it’s not required.
Invert pan over your parchment and smack it against the counter (this is why the towel is there, to soften the blow a bit). The crêpe should fall right out and be ready to serve.
At this point, they can be filled and rolled, like a burrito (but French!), or folded into quarters and topped. Either way is delicious.
If you’re making savory crêpes, omit all but 1 tsp of the sugar.
The longer the rest, the lacier the crêpe–up to an hour at room temperature is fine.
Clarified butter has a higher smoke point than butter that still has its solids. After you’ve poured off the clarified portion, you can always add the solids back to your pan and brown them a bit. The browned butter is particularly good on toast or mixed into baked goods for a bit of nutty flavor.
While you can buy a dedicated crêpe pan, it’s not necessary. Any pan that has gently sloping sides will do.