These were very popular in Europe in the 70's and now are making a comeback..not just being served on seaside piers, but in the family home they make a great substitute for fresh pastas, stuffed with vegetables in sauces and then topped with a marinara sauce and cheese and baked like cannelloni.
Here are some useful batter recipes and lots of ideas for main course fillings, the important thing to remember is that all the ingredients are at room temp and you have a good heavy bottomed pan, traditionally French crepes are small..just 6-8inches across; today crepes can be 10-12 inches across.
Just use grape seed or peanut oil to cook them as these oils do not break down under high heat, and crepes have to be quickly cooked at high temps.
I also prefer to use vegetable oil (safflower or sunflower seed, or even grape seed) rather than butter as it produces a lighter crepe.
2 large eggs beaten
1 1/4 cups milk (I use almond milk)
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp oil (or same amount of melted, cooled butter)
This method is the same for all the recipes :
In a deep bowl, beat the eggs with the milk and salt.
beat in the flour, use a wooden spoon not a metal whisk..so that you work the gluten in the flour..this makes the crepe tender yet more adaptable.
Work until light and smooth (about 3 mins, beating)
Gently add the oil and work in.
If there are any lumps, strain them out.
Cover with a cloth and allow to stand out of fridge for 1 hour..to "bloom" allows the gluten to swell.
Check the consistency of the batter, it should just coat the back of a wooden spoon.
Oil the frying pans and allow to heat to smoking..drain off the oil and using a ladle, pour a small amount of batter into the middle of the pan and swirl around the edges
the first 2 or 3 crepes are the rejects as you are testing the pan.
Once the crepe begins to curl at the edges,and the top dried out , time to flip them over using a spatula..cook the reverse side for just 15 seconds.
Then slide out to wire racks covered with cotton towels.
As the cooked crepes pile up, cover them with clean towels..this allows the steam to escape and remain soft and tender.
add 1/4 cup cooked minced spinach and 1/4 tsp nutmeg to basic recipe + another 1/4 cup all purpose flour.
Add the spinach and nutmeg when adding the oil
add 1/3 cup wheatgerm, raw or toasted + another 1/4 cup milk
2 cups milk
1 3/4 cups wholewheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tbsp oil
Here are some ideas for savory fillings for any of the above batters, add cooked chicken, beef or even fish to any of these ideas, recipes or just keep them vegetarian..your choice.
Perfect for lunch or supper dishes.
The crepes can be frozen and keep for months, I roll mine in waxed paper and then foil..then defrost overnight in the fridge and fill the next day.
Try these in any recipe that calls for flour tortillas..these are great with chili and cheese!
Curried vegetable crepes (a good use for leftovers)
Saute finely chopped vegetables (onions, garlic, celery, potatoes, carrots, peas &etc) in hot oil or melted butter and add curry powder, turmeric, grated ginger root, ground cardamon salt & pepper.
Remove from heat and cool in a bowl.
Fill crepes with this filling and fold over (crescent shaped).
Fry in hot oil in skillet turning once.
serve with plain yogurt, chutney and chopped tomato, cilantro.
Spinach (any cooked greens) crepes with sour cream sauce
8 -12 crepes depending on size
Sour cream sauce( recipe below)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups sour cream
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Make a roux with the butter and flour and cook for 3 mins..do not color.
Gradually beat in the milk (warmed)..stirring all the time to a thick sauce and then fold in the sour cream salt and pepper and stir until thick and smooth.
Remove from heat and set aside.
2 pounds cooked ( steamed) spinach (field spinach with 3/4 stalks), drained and minced (processed)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup minced parsley
6 scallions minced
salt & pepper
4 egg yolks
Heat the cooked pureed spinach in the hot butter and add the cheese,parsley and scallions, and cook for 3 mins
Season to taste with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
Add egg yolks one at a time beating after each addition.
PREHEAT OVEN 350F MIDDLE SHELF
Fill each crepe and fold over/roll, and place seam side down in a well buttered ovenproof casserole.
POUR OVER THE SOUR CREAM SAUCE and bake for 20 mins or until heated through.
Remove from oven and wait 10 mis before serving to allow contents to settle.
Substitute 1 pound sliced mushrooms, and 1 cup cooked diced potato and cook in melted butter adding 1 cup minced onions..Cook for 3-5 mins before adding the cheese and herbs.
Proceed as for spinach recipe.
Substitute 1pound cooked broccoli florets..sliced thin, for the spinach and proceed as for spinach
add 2 tbsp brandy or whisky to any of the cream sauce recipes,before adding the cheese.