Friday, May 22, 2009

Crepes Sales, Crepes Sucres

(Literally, salty crepes and sweet crepes, but replace "salty" with "savory" and you get where the French are going with this)

Last weekend was kind of a bonanza of free food:  Van Cheeseman tossed me a head of bok choy with a wink when I told him how much I liked the one I bought the previous week; managed to score some grub gratuit at Barbecue Fest; and the find of all finds:  wild blackberry brambles, somewhere in the downtown region.  Drop your email address if you want to know where.  But this secret is too good to broadcast all over the interwebs!

So say you have an abundance of too-sweet-to-be-believed strawberries (from, I believe, Clark Farms, who were new at the market last week) and some tart, feral blackberries.  Wouldn't you marry them with a white-sugar blessing and plop them down into a francophone honeymoon?  I would.  And I did.

This crepe recipe is my French great grandmother's.  When I was growing up, we called them "French pancakes" and only got them on special occasions, like holiday mornings, or when friends spent the night and we pulled out all the stops.  But now I get to have them whenever I want.  I can deal with that part of living on my own.  

My brother, Alex, was definitely the best French pancake-maker in the house, but even he knows this iron-clad truth about crepes:  the first one is always a test crepe.

French Pancakes
3/4 cup AP flour
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
pinch salt
[plus more milk until the batter is pretty thin -- my mother's modification]

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk with a fork until there are no more lumps.  Lightly oil a griddle and bring to high heat.  Ladle out the batter 1/4 cup at a time.  It's easiest to do this with a small ladle, because you need to use the back of the ladle (or a spoon) to spread and thin the batter on the griddle.  Aim for really, really thin.  I try to get mine about 5-6 inches in diameter.  They should turn brown and lacy at the edges almost immediately.  Watch them closely and flip when the side facing up is firm (as opposed to liquid-y).  The second side takes much less time to cook than the first and the edges will curl up when you flip them.

Butter the inside if you want, and fill with berries and confectioner's sugar.  Fold sides over and enjoy.

Or, goat cheese and a shiitake-spring onion saute.

Or, you could do what we did growing up:  butter and powder-sugar the inside, then roll up very tightly, and top with a little lemon juice and more powdered sugar.  Note: this is easiest to put away when you are ten years old.

Another good idea for fresh strawberries:

Finally, I was so happy to see one of my dearest friends from undergrad, a ms. JoBeth, this past week, when she came through town.  While she was here, we of course had to indulge in a little sweet treat from the Cheesecake Corner on G.E. Patterson.  This picture should have been of a pina colada cheesecake slice:

But instead, it is a picture of the Aftermath.


  1. I made your crepes for dinner tonight for my family. I sauteed some spinach that we had picked at a local hydroponic farm, plus some onions, tomatoes from our garden, and fresh garlic. Added some havarty cheese. Your directions were perfect and so easy to follow. My mom made sure she saved some for desert (butter and sugar) so simple and delicious! Merci beaucoup!

    Bradenton, FL

  2. those sound delicious, and you're inspiring me to make crepes more often than just for special occasions! they really can be filled with anything. also jealous of florida tomatoes. none here yet!

    bisous a toi et ta famille!

    PS il y aura quelquechose dans ta boite aux lettres tres tot!