I remember getting up on early mornings watching my grandmother create delicious breakfasts for the guests at her bed and breakfast. One of my favorite things to watch her make (and eat!) was her simple, elegant crepes. I loved watching her use those giant iron skillets over and over again, swirling batter into giant thin circles. I inherited one of those skillets from my mother, which undoubtedly came from my grandmother.
Crepes seem to have a bad reputation. A lot of people tend to be intimidated by them because they are so thin and large. The reality though is if you can make pancakes, you can make crepes! The first step into making this journey a little easier is the size of the pan. Don’t go crazy and think you have to go out and spend $80 on some large fancy crepe pan. Any nonstick skillet in the 6-8” range will get the job done, especially if this is your first attempt.
The second thing that I am convinced makes crepes easier to manage is the way you prepare the batter. You combine everything in a blender and let it whirl around for two minutes. After that just pop the lid on and let it sit in the fridge overnight. What happens is all those bubbles you just created will settle – less tearing. When you are ready to make your crepes make sure you have everything set up ahead of time. This way, you don’t get stressed trying to figure out where the roll of paper towels is while trying to flip a crepe, fuss at the dog to stop barking and answer the phone at the same time. Oh, is that just me? Moving on…
Your pan should be on medium heat and greased with a little butter. You will know if the temperature is too hot when you drop the butter in and it turns brown. If this happens just wipe the pan out, turn down the heat and try again. When you pour batter you want to do it directly in the center and then gently swirl it around until reach the edges of the pan. They cook very quickly. You know they are ready to flip when the top turns opaque. Do not look for bubbles. Remember, we got rid of those on purpose!
Once it is flipped it only takes a few seconds for the other side to be done. The first side should have a few sports of golden brown and the second side will have few if any spots. When it is done place it on a paper towel and cover with another paper towel. Wasteful? Yes. In my opinion though, it is a necessary step if you do not want them sticking together.
Grandma always filled the crepes with mandarin oranges or strawberries and a mixture of vanilla, cream cheese and whipped topping. While I have tried to use fresh made whipped cream instead of the alternative (you know, that delicious tub of oil and chemicals we all secretly love) it just does not hold up the same texture that I remember, and that will not do. Plus, if it is good enough for grandma it is good enough for me! You can use your imagination with fillings though – sweet or savory. Caramelized onion and mushroom with goat cheese is one of my favorite. Or fill it with Nutella for a yummy dessert!
I hope you enjoy these and experiment with different fillings. They are great too when you have company over because you can make the crepes ahead of time and then everyone can fill them with their favorites. Leave your comments below – thanks for reading!
Makes 4-8 crepes, depending on pan size.
Ingredients for Crepes:
½ cup flour
¼ cup water
¼ cup milk
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
Pinch of salt
Ingredients for Grandma’s Filling:
6 oz soft cream cheese
4 oz whipped topping (in the tub)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 can mandarin oranges (packed in water not syrup!)
Directions for the Crepes:
Mix all items in a blender for 2 minutes. Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning heat skillet on medium and add a small amount of butter. Put about ¼ cup batter into the pan and swirl it to fill the edges (you may need more or less depending on the pan size. Just remember they should be very thin). Flip once most of the top looks opaque and dry. Place finished crepes onto layers of paper towels to keep from sticking together.
Directions for Grandma’s Filling:
Beat cream cheese until it is soft. Fold in whipped topping and vanilla. Fill crepe and place fruit inside. Roll and top with a little more filling and fruit. Serve!