Cooking Class #2 -- Crepes

How to Make Successful Crepes

Few foods have the grace and style of crepes. These noble little pancakes are so incredibly versatile, it is a pity there are still a few who are afraid to tackle them.

Let me assure you, that underneath their delicate and dainty appearance, lies a staunch and sturdy character. They are really not as fragile as they appear.

When you serve crepes, mealtimes can never be boring for crepe dishes range from a triumph of simplicity to dishes of regal splendor. Crepes can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner and for any course during the meal. They can be rolled, folded or stacked with an amazing variety of fillings.

And, to add to their numerous virtues, and best of all, crepe dishes are a grand choice for entertaining, for so many of them can be prepared in advance. This allows for just a quick trip to the kitchen to start reheating, eliminating any last-minute worries and jitters.

Read the instructions carefully and once you have mastered the technique (which is not difficult) you will prepare these majestic little pancakes often.

You will notice that there are two important changes in the technique of making crepes. First, the resting period (to relax the gluten in the flour) has been eliminated. Very often I have omitted this step and differences in the results are imperceptible. Secondly, no more need to grease the pan after the first crepe. The butter has been added to the batter and that eliminates another pitfall, of improperly greasing the pan.


CREPES - GENERAL ADVICE

1. Crepe batters can be made in a mixer or a blender. You can use a rotary beater or a wire whip.

2. Batter can be allowed to rest for 1 hour (optional).

3. The success of your crepes will very much be determined by the quality of the pan you are using. It is essential that you use a fine quality pan, about 6 to 8 inches wide. It should have rounded sides. If you are a beginner to crepes, I would recommend that you use a good-quality Teflon-coated pan. It is very easy to use and almost assures you of success. It eliminates the problems of crepes sticking to the pan or being difficult to turn. Furthermore, Teflon-coated pans usually have a heat-resistant handle which is very helpful when you are working quickly, tilting and turning.

4. Unfilled crepes may be stored and frozen betwen layers of waxed paper.


CREPES - TECHNIQUE

1. Crepes are made over moderately high heat. Heat pan and butter it with a napkin or paper towel. Wipe off any excess butter. Pan should be very hot, but butter should not brown.

2. Lift pan off heat. With the other hand, pour 1/8 cup of batter into the pan. Quickly tilt and turn the pan, so that the bottom is completely covered with batter. Pour out any excess batter.

3. Place pan back on the heat and continue cooking crepe for about 45 seconds or until top looks dry. Turn and cook other side for about 15 seconds. Remove crepe onto a platter.

4. Heat pan and start again from Step 2. (Batter recipes that follow contain extra butter.) This eliminates greasing the pan after each crepe.

THE CRUCIAL POINT IS THAT THE PAN MUST BE HOT WHEN THE BATTER IS POURED. PAN MUST THEN BE TILTED AND TURNED IMMEDIATELY TO COVER THE BOTTOM WITH A THIN LAYER OF BATTER.

Basic Crepes

3 eggs
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
pinch of salt

Make crepes as directed under CREPES, TECHNIQUE. Makes about 16 7-inch crepes.

Sour Cream Crepes

3 eggs
1 cup flour
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream
pinch of salt

Make crepes as directed under CREPES, TECHNIQUE. Makes about 16 7-inch crepes.

Crepes with Chives

1 cup flour
1 cup milk
3 eggs
1 tablespoon dried chopped chives
pinch of seasoned salt
pinch of onion powder

Make crepes as directed under CREPES, TECHNIQUE. Makes about 16 7-inch crepes.

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