Sweet or savory, filled or simply sauced, crepes are delicate, elegant, delicious, and very easy to make. When I need to make a dessert in a hurry, I whisk together this batter, make some crepes, and slather them with Nutella, an Italian chocolate-hazelnut spread.
INGREDIENTS | YIELDS about 8 crepes
- ½ cup flour
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Whisk together the flour and eggs until they form a smooth paste. Gradually whisk in the milk, olive oil, and salt.
Heat a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add some butter, and spread it around the pan with a brush or the corner of a towel. Add ¼ cup of batter to the pan. Swirl the pan around in a circular pattern to evenly distribute the batter.
Cook undisturbed until the edges become visibly brown. Using a wooden or rubber spatula, lift the edge of the crepe from the pan. Quickly flip the crepe using your fingers or a wooden spoon.
Cook for 30 seconds on the second side, then slide onto a plate; keep warm while you repeat the procedure with remaining batter. Crepes can be stacked 1 atop the other for storage.
Leave Brown Enough Alone
Top tip for getting beautiful golden-brown color in a pan: Don't touch. The main culprit in washed-out looking sautéed foods is that the cook shook the pan, flipped the food, or stirred too early. To properly brown, “caramelize,” or sear, the pan must be very hot, with a small amount of oil or butter, and the item being cooked must be left undisturbed until it has colored. I find that starting items, such as mushrooms, in hot oil, and then adding a nugget of butter partway through (without stirring!), browns best.
Great Crepe Fillings
Mushroom and Cheese Crepes: Spread 1 teaspoon condensed cream of mushroom soup onto a crepe. Add 2 tablespoons sautéed mushrooms and ¼ cup shredded Swiss cheese. Fold and heat in a lightly buttered pan until the crepe is slightly crisp and the cheese has melted.
Ratatouille Crepes: Spoon 2 tablespoons of warm homemade or store-bought ratatouille or caponata onto each freshly-made crepe. Roll cigar-style, and serve with a little extra ratatouille on the side.
Poached Egg Crepes: Spread 1 tablespoon of homemade or store-bought cheese sauce, such as Alfredo sauce or béchamel with addition of shredded Gruyère cheese, onto each crepe. Top with a poached or over easy egg, and any of the flavored “compound butters” discussed on. Fold into quarters and serve warm.
Banana-Chocolate Crepes: Spread 2 teaspoons Nutella or other chocolate-hazelnut spread (or chocolate icing) onto each crepe. Cover with 6 or 7 thin slices of banana. Fold crepe in thirds, forming a wedge shape. Serve dusted with powdered sugar and/or cocoa powder.
Hot Apple Crepes: Sauté 2 peeled, sliced Rome or Golden Delicious apples with 1 tablespoon sugar in 2 tablespoons butter until browned. Spoon apple mixture into 4 freshly-made crepes; fold in half. Wash out the pan with ¼ cup brandy, and ignite it with a match; pour the flaming brandy onto the crepes at the tableside.