Making light, airy, evenly browned crêpes that are just a little crisp around the edges is no harder than making pancakes (I actually think it's easier). Here are 5 tips to ensure things go smoothly.
5 tips for making perfect crêpes
- Refrigerate the batter for at least one hour. Gluten, a cross-linked chain of two proteins, forms when wheat flour and water are agitated. It's a desirable reaction when you're making things like bread, but is not so desirable in cakes, pie crusts and crêpes. Refrigerating the batter after it's been mixed, "relaxes" the gluten and makes for light, airy crêpes.
- Use a heavy bottomed stainless steel pan. A specialty crepe pan is not necessary. Your pan needs to heat evenly, so it's important that it has a thick bottom that will achieve this. Also, I've found that non-stick pans don't evenly brown the crêpes (leaves a weird mottled pattern), so I prefer using a pan without non-stick coating.
- Slowly heat the pan to the desired temp. If you try to heat it too quickly you'll constantly be fiddling with the temperature knob because it will start burning or get too cool. On my gas stove, I put the pan on the large burner and have the heat set a smidge below medium heat, but you'll have to figure out what works best for you. Also, make sure the pan is hot enough, otherwise your crêpe will stick to the pan.
- Over-butter the first crêpe. By "over-butter" I don't mean deep fry, but you want to make sure you have enough melted butter to thinly cover the bottom of the pan and part of the sides. Usually I just unwrap one end of the stick and make a swirling motion around the pan (kinda like applying deodorant). Your first crêpe will be a bit crisp and buttery (not that that's even a bad thing), but your following crêpes should come out perfect. You shouldn't need to re-butter the pan for at least 5-6 crêpes and you'll only need a quick swipe.
- Don't flip it too early. Wait until the surface of your crêpe is no longer shiny and the edges are starting to brown before you try and flip your crêpe. If you flip it too early it will tear.
The crepe recipe below will make about 12-16 crêpes depending on what size pan you use. Apples tend to have a subtle flavor so I like using a couple forms of apple to make sure it's got plenty of flavor. If you don't have Calvados (apple brandy) feel free to substitute for brandy.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups milk
- 2 large eggs
- pinch salt
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
for buttered apples
- ¼ cup apple juice
- ¼ cup cultured unsalted butter (½ stick)
- ½ cup evaporated cane sugar
- ½ apple (cut into ⅛"cubes)
- 2 tablespoons Calvados
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Put everything in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl with a spout, cover with plastic wrap or a lid, and refrigerate for an hour. Following the instructions in the tips above, heat a pan and butter. Pour enough batter into the center of the pan to cover about ⅓ of its surface area then quickly pick it up and use a swirling and tilting motion to cover the rest of the pan in a thin layer of batter.
- Let this cook until the edges start turning brown and grab an edge with a flat spatula, then use your fingers to lift the edge and get the rest of the spatula under the crêpe and flip it. Cook for about another 30 seconds or until you see some brown spots when you peak under the crêpe. Transfer to a plate and serve immediately, or you can stack them on top of each other and keep them in a warm oven.
- For the buttered apples, cook everything except the Calvados and lemon juice in a small sauce pan over medium low heat while you cook the crêpes (about 10-15 minutes). Whisk in the Calvados and lemon juice just before serving over your crêpes.