November 14, 2018
Posted By: Jessica Geary-Cecotti
We’ve got just one week until the holiday season kicks off in earnest with Thanksgiving and cocktails and cheese and stuffing and gravy and pie and wine and all the good stuff. This also means we get to talk about food, which is my favorite subject except for when it comes to planning weekly family meals and trying to make everyone happy. Talk about a foodie’s biggest buzz kill.
Sometimes I feel as though cooking dinner for my family is like negotiating a Cambodian minefield (all due respect to those who actually do this for a living, brave souls). But I’m barely exaggerating. Here’s what I mean: My son won’t eat shrimp unless it’s in Pad Thai or salmon unless it’s glazed in Teriyaki sauce whereas his sister loves both. He digs soups like chicken noodle and butternut squash and she can’t abide them. She craves steak, but he only likes the steak at Open Range (not even kidding). She loves lemon desserts and he prefers chocolate. Nobody likes apple pie except the man of the house. They are both partial to pasta and pizza (who isn’t?) but some of us try to avoid carbs . . . and I could go on and on but I’m boring even myself at this point.
I am so desperate that when I do finally find a recipe that everyone likes, I keep it in consistent rotation until everyone tires of it and ends up hating it. First world problems, am I right?
So, with all of this said, there are still a handful of things that are slam dunk crowd-pleasers after all these years, and one of them is crêpes. Now, I was born in France and grew up on crêpes but only started making them myself when my mother-in-law gifted me the Cuisinart Crêpe pan along with a heat-resistant silicon spatula. You can probably make crêpes without these tools, but I do believe you’d be making life harder for yourself. I’ve had my pan for 25 years and still use on a regular basis.
There are three other very important things to know about crêpes. The first is that you must make the batter at least 30 minutes before you plan on cooking the crêpes. You can even do it a night or two before you plan on making them, but the batter needs at least half an hour to set. The second thing to remember is that there are both sweet and savory crêpes and the only difference is that you add three tablespoons of sugar to the batter for sweet ones. You can fill savory ones with ham, cheese, mushrooms, whatever sounds good. The sweet ones can be filled with jam, fruit, Nutella, whipped cream or my favorite – sugar and a squeeze of lemon.
The last thing to know is that crêpes are made for eating right out of the pan. Our family gathers around the kitchen island for weekend breakfasts with everyone taking turns at the next hot buttery crêpe and filling it with whatever they choose. We talk, we laugh, we hoover, we compare folding and rolling techniques and show our friends how to eat crêpes and – for one fleeting moment – everyone in the family is happy.
Here’s the recipe:
Combine in a bowl or blender:
1 cup flour (I use Wheat Montana Prairie Gold, which gives the slightly buckwheat flavor that the crepes have in France)
1 cup milk
½ cup lukewarm water
¼ cup (half a stick) of melted butter
½ teaspoon salt
And if you are making the sweet crêpes:
3 tablespoons of sugar
Place the pan over medium heat and add half a teaspoon of butter. Once the butter is sizzling and turning brown, lift the pan and pour about a third-cup of batter (you will get better at eyeballing the amount with practice) into the center of the pan as you lift and turn the pan to coat the bottom with a thin coating of batter. Pour any excess batter back into the bowl. Return the pan to the heat and let it cook for about a minute (until crêpe begins to bubble) and then gently lift the crêpe out of the pan to flip it over. After about another minute, the crêpe should slide off the pan and onto the plate and . . . Voila!
If you don’t get it on the first try, don’t sweat it because making crêpes gets much easier with even a little bit of practice. And if your kids are old enough, let them give it a whirl—they will love it.