Crepes

(a late post but hey)

While most spring-breakers head for the warmth and sands (Costa Rica, Florida, Mexico), I had decided to head north into our neighbor country, Canada! As soon as the weather here started to reach 50 degrees Fahrenheit, my petit-ami and I left for ever-romantic Montreal, in the heart of freezing, snowy Francophone Quebec.

The drive to Montreal from Connecticut is about six hours, either through the verdant New York Adirondacks or through the equally green and tranquil Vermont forests. It was nice to have a passenger to switch driving duties with this time. Upon arrival in French Canada, I felt confident about my French-language skills (Arrête means stop. Duh!).

When we got to Montreal however, my confidence drained. (Yes, my French is awful.)

Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal

Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal. C’est belle, n’est-ce pas?

Don’t be discouraged though. Montreal is a very bilingual city so if you know no absolutely no French, you’ll still be able to have a fantastic visit (‘parlez-vous Anglais?’). We indulged in the sights and the sounds of the City of Mary. The architecture was fantastic, the people and their chipper French, and the food. On our second day, we took a trip to Crescent Street for some shopping. We stopped at a small crepe cafe for a bite to eat and rejuvenate from the walking. The crepes were good enough, the coffee much needed, and there was a 2kg jar of Nutella that I was tempted to run away with. I was inspired, nay, more like convinced to make better crepes on my own.

Crepes from Paris Crepe

Crepes from Paris Crepe. Nutella goodness.

However, it took me a while to fulfill this inspiration. I bought milk, nutella, and frozen strawberries to make these crepes shortly after my return to the States. But soon followed the I don’t have enough time, I already made cookies, well I’ll just go to Usdan… So I finally ended up making crepes during finals week as an outburst of stress cooking/eating.

Crepes are easy to make and can be made sweet or savory to suit your taste. At best, crepes are soft and pliable, and have a delicate eggy-batter taste gives way to your desired filling. At worst, they end up as crispy, thin crackers, still edible, and still delicious with just plain old powdered sugar. A crepe pan isn’t needed if you have a reliably good non-stick skillet.

As I’ve mentioned, crepes can be either savory or sweet. I’m a Nutella fan, so naturally I opt for a smear of Nutella and a sprinkle of powdered sugar. Choose from any combination of fruits you’d like: strawberries, blueberries, stewed apples, you name it. For savory crepes, soft cheeses and sauteed greens such as spinach or kale come to mind. There are also Indian crepes called dosas, which are either filled or served alongside a sambar or chutney. Also delicious and a delight to order since they get huge!

 

Basic Crepe Recipe

Adapted slightly from AllRecipes

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1 cup milk*
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Optional flavoring**

*Personally, I’ve found that cow’s milk makes the best crepes and pancakes. Perhaps it’s something to do with the additional fat that gives body to the result. However, almond/soy milk are acceptable substitutes!

 **Optional I say, because this recipe makes pretty good crepes on its own. However, as you’ll see in pictures below, I’ve used pandan extract for some green crepes and almond extract in the plain-looking ones. Experiment as you will, perhaps with  a 1/2 tsp of vanilla or almond extract for some sweet notes. Or if you’re hankering for something savory, a dash of dried or chopped fresh herbs can speckle your crepes.

Start heating the skillet of your choice over medium-high heat.

Whisk the wet ingredients together — the eggs, the milk, and melted butter. Sift together the flour and salt in a bowl. Whisk the wet into the dry ingredients.

Grease the skillet lightly with some butter or cooking spray. Pour just enough batter to coat the surface of the skillet and swirl the pan around. If you’re not sure, use a ¼ cup measuring cup and adjust on future crepes as needed. Cook for about a minute or two, until the bottom is a light brown.

Plate the freshly cooked crepe, top with your desired toppings, and fold as you desire. Munch away!

Here are my crepes. Not as pretty as the ones from the cafe but hey, they were tasty.

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