When Robin and I were writing The Lazy Gourmet, we put every potential recipe through a rigorous screening and testing process to confirm three crucial criteria: deliciousness, impressiveness, and easiness. We ultimately decided, after much delightful crepe production and consumption, that while they are technically pretty easy to make, crepes are not exactly a lazy undertaking. So they didn’t make the cut. But in the process we perfected our crepe-making technique and developed some easy and delicious fillings that we’ll share with you here on the blog. Today I’m posting our Basic Crepe recipe, and over the next couple of weeks I’ll be posting some of our favorite fillings.
If you’ve never made crepes before, I think you’ll be surprised to discover just how easy it is. Sure, they do require some extra labor over the stove (which is why they didn’t earn a high score for laziness), but the technique is not much more challenging than making pancakes. And the effort-to-payoff ratio is well worth the extra elbow grease—guests who are served homemade crepes are guaranteed to be impressed.
How to Make Crepes
To make successful crepes, you need to spread the batter out in a thin, even coat over the bottom of your pan. This is done by quickly tilting the pan all around in a circular motion as soon as you drop in the batter, so it spreads out quickly and evenly. (It’s important to use a pan that’s not too big or too heavy for you to lift comfortably with one hand. 9 or 10 inches in diameter is a good size—and non-stick is a plus, too, though not essential.) It might take a little practice to get the hang of it, but once the hang is gotten it’s a snap. It’s also a good idea to stir up the batter occasionally during the crepe-cooking process to prevent it from settling unevenly—I just leave the batter in the blender and give it a refresher pulse every now and then. And finally, don’t let your pan get too hot. If your crepe starts to brown, bubble, and spatter as soon as it hit the pan, turn the heat down a bit.
Use crepes to wrap up just about anything sitting in your fridge: leftover stir-fry or stew, fruit and yogurt, or ice cream and chocolate sauce. Butter, sugar, and lemon juice is a simple classic that I can’t get enough of. And like I said, I’ll be posting some favorite Lazy Gourmet fillings soon, so stay tuned!
Basic Crepe Recipe
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
¼ cup water
¼ teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, vegetable oil spray, or butter for cooking
In a large bowl, blend flour, eggs, milk, water, salt, and melted butter together using an electric mixer until smooth. (Alternatively, batter can be blended in a food processor, blender or stand mixer. You can even whisk the batter vigorously by hand, but you need to take great care to smooth out all the lumps.)
Heat a lightly oiled or buttered 9- or 10-inch pan over medium heat. (If using a good non-stick pan you can skip the oil/butter step.) Using a ¼-cup scoop, ladle batter into the center of the hot pan while simultaneously tilting the pan in all directions, in a circular motion, so that the batter spreads out evenly over the bottom. Cook until the top of the crepe loses its shine and the bottom is dry and very lightly browned, about 1 minute, then turn with a spatula and cook the other side the same way (but for a slightly shorter time). Add more oil or butter and continue until all the batter has been used, stacking cooked crepes on a platter to await their filling. Stir up the batter occasionally during the crepe-making process to prevent it from settling unevenly.
Makes 8-10 crepes
Make it ahead:
Batter may be made a day in advance and kept, covered, in the refrigerator. To make crepes in advance, stack them in a pile and store them in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of days or the freezer for a few months. To reheat, wrap the stack in aluminum foil, and heat in a 350° oven until heated through, about 10 to 15 minutes.