Once upon a time, I lived in Paris. And I discovered crepes. Many, many crepes. Sweet crepes, savory crepes, crepes that made you want to sing and crepes that . . . didn’t make you want to sing.
And then I moved back to America. *sigh* Good crepes were a thing of the past. I couldn’t find any anywhere that lived up to my expectations (same with yogurt, but that’s another story). I tried making my own crepes but they came out more like pancakes, thick and burned in spots, with a delightful cardboard taste. It just didn’t do it for me.
And then! I had a crepe at the Monterey Crepe Factory in California. And it was awesome. Good enough to restore my faith in crepes. I begged the girl behind the counter for the recipe, and she said that while she didn’t know it exactly, she knew it followed the ingredients on the crepe recipe on the Food Network. And thus began my quest for the perfect crepe. It hasn’t always been easy and it certainly hasn’t always been delicious. But you guys, I have got this down! And today, I’m sharing all my secrets with you. So you here you – secrets to making the perfect crepe:
Secret #1: Have a good recipe. Gotcha covered there. The Food Network one really is great. I almost always make the sweet variation (minus the liqueur). But if you’re having a savory crepe, I like that variation too.
Secret #2: Give it an hour. The recipe says to let it sit in the fridge for an hour, and I highly recommend not skipping this step. It makes the batter less likely to tear and way easier to work with.
Secret #3: Preheat your crepe pan. Preheat it over medium heat, nothing higher, ever. Not through this whole process are you allowed to turn it to more than medium-ish (the ish because I know all stoves are different – use your best judgment).
Secret #4 – Have everything ready. You’ll need a stick of butter to coat your pan, your nice and hot crepe pan, your batter, and something to scoop and pour your batter. I’ve found that a 1/2 cup measuring cup works best for my 9-10 inch crepe pan. You don’t have to fill the entire thing, just scoop it out and as long as it’s close-ish to full you should be good.
Secret #5 – Butter your pan, fast. Don’t take more than about 2 seconds to butter your pan – I just take the stick, fold down the wrapper on one end, and swipe it across the whole surface of the pan.
It should give a nice sharp sizzling sound as soon as it touches. That’s a good thing. Grab your pan and take it off the heat immediately, so that the butter doesn’t burn. Then move fast with your batter. Which leads to the next secret. . .
Secret #6 – Pour all the batter in one spot – I always do the top right corner (pretend this circle has corners, ok). Don’t try to coat your pan with the batter just by pouring it all over. In Paris they always had a cool stick thingy to spread it around, but I don’t have a cool stick thingy and have had to learn to do without.
Be sure to pour your batter on all at once, cuz the second it touches that pan it starts cooking. You want it all on there as fast as possible so you can get it moving all across the pan.
Secret #7 – Tilt your pan in a slow circle. This is the trickiest part about making crepes, but I promise you can do it. I think I took about 7 or 8 seconds tilting my pan in a slow circle. I just kind of follow the batter – if you tilt too fast, the batter gets behind and gets stuck, and if you move too slow it all starts cooking in one spot. Be prepared to throw out your first couple attempts, but don’t give up. You’ll get it. Check out the play by play:
Secret #8 – Let it cook until the edges start to curl and look cooked. A few minutes is all. Then it’s about time to check if the cooked side is to your liking. Take a look:
If that cooked side is looking good to you, slide your spatula under and flip it. If you’re having trouble with this part, it’s probably not quite done cooking – it should be super easy to move your spatula underneath. If you find that it’s sticking too much to let you flip it and yet burned when you finally do get it to flip, try turning your heat down for the next one – it might help to cook more evenly.
Secret #9 – Your crepe is probably just about done when you can start to slide it around on your crepe pan using your spatula. It should move nice and easy. Keep in mind it doesn’t usually need to cook as long on the second side as it did on the first.
And voila! Your crepe is finished! Perfected! Delicious! Which leads to the last and most important secret:
Secret #10 – Always put Nutella and strawberries on it.
Okay, okay, there are other good combinations too. But that one’s the best – have at least one of them, ok? And then you can branch out to other things.
Like homemade lemon curd with strawberries and powdered sugar:
Or, if you’re going for a more savory crepe, try it with fried egg, a slice of turkey, and some cheese:
Or, my newest-found combo, a bruschetta-inspired variation with a basic bechemel sauce:
Go crazy! There are a billion awesome crepe combos. In Paris we had a lot of butter and sugar crepes, tuna with lettuce and tomato, and basically anything else you can imagine.
Give it a try! Let me know how it goes! Do you have any good crepe toppings I should try out?
Special thanks to Terry, for his bomb iphone photo-taking skills. You’re the best!