The famous crêpes originate from Brittany and are considered as a national dish. Not only popular in France, they also became famous throughout Europe, North America and even Australia.
The word “crêpe” derives from the Latin crispa, meaning curled and its simple preparation makes it a favourite dish for Candlemas – la Chandeleur – or Mardi-Gras. Chandeleur is known as crêpes day and generations have kept alive a variety of traditions and customs around the making and eating of crêpes.
Although in Brittany, crêpes are traditionally served with cider, your imagination is the limit: favourite toppings include chocolate spread (Nutella), jam, lemon and sugar, chestnut cream, etc. without forgetting that crêpes can also be served with savoury fillings: cheese and ham for example.
Crêpes are made by pouring a thin liquid batter onto a hot frying flat pan, previously greased with butter or oil. The batter is spread evenly over the cooking surface of the pan by tilting the pan.
Another standard French and Belgian crêpe is the crêpe Suzette, a crêpe with lightly grated orange peel and liqueur (usually Grand Marnier) which is subsequently lit upon presentation.
In France, crêpes are usually bought in a crêperie, which may be sold as a takeaway in a stall on the street or in public gardens, or a proper restaurant.
Makes 12 crêpes
- 250 g plain flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 600 ml milk or a mixture of milk and water (50/50)
This recipe works equally well with soy milk
- Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the beaten eggs and a little milk. Gradually mix in the flour from the sides, pouring more of the remaining liquid as you go and keeping a smooth batter. Continue until all the liquid is added and the flour is combined. You can use an electric whisk if you prefer, but make sure you incorporate the liquid in gradually otherwise you will have lumps through the batter.
- Cover and let it rest for at least 30-60 minutes or overnight in the fridge.
- When ready to make the crepes, beat the batter lightly.
- Heat the crepe pan to very hot with a small amount of vegetable oil. Wipe with kitchen towel/ pour the excess oil away so you don’t end up with a greasy first crêpe.
- Pour a small amount of the batter in and work quickly, tilting the pan to cover the base with a thin layer of the batter. When it bubbles a little and comes away from the sides of the pan it is ready to turn … either toss if you are feeling confident or turn with a spatula.
- Cook the other side then serve with the topping of your choice.
- Some people cook the whole stack then re-heat quickly before serving, others cook a big stack and keep them warm in the oven with a tea towel whilst cooking them all … or serve people one at a time as you make them and make a social event out of it.
- One is never enough so allow at least 2-3 per person … more if you are having savoury ones to start with.