Friday, January 22, 2010

French Crepes

Sometimes as Lewis or I make breakfast on the weekends one of the boys will come in like the small tornadoes they are and upon seeing what we are doing run out to share the good news with the other tornado. Crepes always elicit the excited running to share their good fortune. I love standing in the kitchen with the French recipe, that even my weak language skills can translate, and hearing their excitement. "Julian, Julian, we're having crepes!" Part of my love for this ritual is the culinary knowledge they have unwittingly picked up. Really the batters for crepes, pancakes, waffles and popovers are very similar, and the 2 of them can unerringly tell which one is being prepared. Of course every time they are overjoyed at good food, it makes me happy, helping slightly to erase the times they whine over another dish.

This recipe was taught to us several years ago by a French woman who worked as an ESL teacher to the many refuges who are resettled her in Burlington. She had printed out the recipe from a French food site and on the back written a conversion from weight to volume. In the end she let Lewis and I keep that print out. We used her approximation for over a year before one Sunday morning I flipped over the paper and realized I was perfectly capable of translating the recipe. "3 ouefs" is 3 eggs, "250g de farine" is 250 grams of flour, "30 grams de beurre" is 30 grams of butter.

When made with the volume measurements written on the back the crepes were always good and we happily ate them for many breakfasts and a few dinners. However the crepes made following the french (metric) measurements were far better then the ones we had made before. No surprise really as most of the measurements were very different. The true french crepe we now make are thin, eggy, with a subtly that makes them irresistible. They must be good, or else Sebastian would not have had 9 at breakfast the other day.

Most of the time we spread strawberry freezer jam on each crepe, each of us has our prefered way to spread the jam, roll them up and eat it. They are more decadent with caramel chocolate sauce or chocolate ganache. You can always gild the lily by adding whipped cream. If you leave out the orange extract they can be served with savory fillings, brie and ham, leftover stew, sauteed mushrooms and leeks and a million more combinations. They are a great use for reinventing leftovers.

This is the single recipe, we have had to start doubling the recipe if Lewis and I wish to eat any of them.

French Crepes
Adapted from (Although they have since altered their recipe)

While I have given a version in volume it will be different for every type of flour, to be accurate it is best to use a scale that weighs in grams. Both ways will be delicious.

1/4 litre milk (a glass quart measuring cup should have this as a marking)(lait)
1/2 cup white whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flour (62.5 grams de farine)
1/2 cup unbleached white flour (62.5 grams de farine)
3 large eggs (3 oeufs)
1/8 tsp kosher salt (1 pincee de sel)
1/8 - 1/4 tsp orange extract (Eau de fleur d'oranger)
2.2 Tbsp butter melted (30 grams de beurre)
2 Tbsp butter melted for the pan

Place all the ingredients except the butter in a large mixing bowl and blend with an immersion blender (alternatively you can use a large wire or place in a blender). Once the batter is well blended add the butter in a steady stream while continuing to whisk or blend. Most recipes suggest you allow the batter to rest for 1 hour and up to 1 day before using, if I ever allowed the time for this without people passing out from hunger I am sure it would be a great idea.

Heat a nonstick saute pan or crepe pan over medium high heat and brush with butter. Pour in a ladle or 1/4 cup of batter and tilt the pan to spread the batter around. I then fill in any uncovered areas with dollops of batter. Cook the first side until the edges are dry and curling a little and then flip over. Cook briefly on the second side. Place on a plate and continue to use the rest of the batter to make more crepes, layering them on the plate.

When all the batter is used serve the platter of crepes with the jam of your choice or caramel chocolate sauce or chocolate ganache, or whatever fillings you want.


  1. Yum, Robin! Crepes are always a sure hit around here too. (Can I see that original recipe card some time? I think my French 101 would also be up to the task.)

  2. Cheryl, You are welcome to look at it but I did transcribe all the ingredients with their French metric measurements here. The only difference from mine and the original is I use half whole wheat pastry or white whole wheat and half white flour while the French recipe uses all white flour.


  3. Robin, your crepes are perfect.

    I was going to ask if you froze some, but I guess if Sebastian ate 9 of them, there wouldn't be many left.