The first time I went to Paris, I was on the tightest of tight budgets, so I skipped the fancy restaurants and lived on crepes (and quiche) from street vendors. I've been in love with crepes ever since. Not the thick, rubbery ones sometimes passed off as crepes, but the thin, delicate, slightly sweet ones that form the perfect base for nearly any filling I can dream up. You'll fall in love with them, too, with this trio of creative crepe recipes.
I like crepes sweet filled with cottage cheese and lingonberry jam, or savory with wafer thin slices of prosciutto and smoked Gouda, topped with a lightly dressed green salad. I also like them plain, rolled up like a cigar and eaten like a hot dog.
I also like them because they're so easy to adapt to dietary needs. If a friend requires gluten-free, no worries! Just make them with pure buckwheat flour instead of the usual part buckwheat, part white. If someone needs them dairy-free, no problem! Just substitute almond milk for the milk, and nut oil for the butter.
Crepes are comprised of flour, milk, eggs, melted butter, and a bit of sugar and salt. That's it. Whisk everything together until smooth, cover, and set in the fridge overnight. When you're ready to start cooking, preheat your skillet and grease lightly with a bit of oil or butter. Scoop 1/4 cup of batter into the center of the skillet and tilt in a circle to allow the batter to spread thinly across the pan. Leave to cook 1-2 minutes, flip gently, and cook another minute or so. At this point you can stack them to use later, or add your fillings and start eating.
This week I made three different varieties and sat my husband down for a taste test. We both agreed that we would happily eat all three versions again, but the best one? Well, we'll save that for last.
Ham and Smoked Cheese Crepes
I'm a big fan of good ham, and you need good ham for these beauties. Don't settle for the mushy, flavorless, pressed ham product you find in the deli. Insist on a real, off-the-bone ham, full of flavor and good texture. Slice it thinly or cut into batons and set aside. You can use any meltable cheese for this, but I love a beautiful smoked cheese. Slice it thinly or grate it, and set aside. Cook the crepes as described. After you've flipped one, top with ham and cheese and cook until cheese melts. Then fold crepe like a burrito or like an envelope with each side to the center. Serve immediately.
Caramelized Onions and Aged Cheddar Crepes
Caramelized onions and a sharp cheese are a match made in heaven. Slice onions and cook slowly until soft, dark, and sweet. Spread on crepe, sprinkle with grated aged cheddar, cook until cheese melts, fold, and serve immediately.
Sour Cream and Caramelized Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar Crepes
Fill crepe with sour cream, fold, then drizzle with caramelized strawberry balsamic vinegar (or your favorite balsamic vinegar) and prepare to swoon. These are definitely our favorites.
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup white flour
- 3 eggs
Whisk everything together until smooth, cover, and set in the fridge overnight.
When you're ready to start cooking, preheat your skillet and grease lightly with a bit of oil or butter. Scoop 1/4 cup of batter into the center of the skillet, tilt in a circle to allow the batter to spread thinly across the pan. Leave to cook 1-2 minutes, flip gently and cook another minute or so. Remove to platter.
At this point you can stack them to use later, or add your fillings and start eating.