May 11, 2020
When we made pancakes I mentioned you could make a thicker batter for waffles or a thinner batter for crepes. Today let's make crepes.
It's funny, for me, both pancakes and crepes are tied to memories of loved ones.
Ever since she died fourteen years ago, I make multi-colored pancakes every year on Elena's birthday.
For even longer, I've made crepes for Mother's Day.
On her first Mother's Day I asked Kim what she wanted and she chose pear crepes. Each year she asked if we could have it again and so every year I make them for her. It's a tradition I've continued even though she's been gone nearly four years.
Yesterday I made crepes for one - you can multiply it up for as many people as you have.
For the batter beat one egg together with 3/4 cup of milk in a separate bowl. I use cow's milk but I've been told this works fine with non-dairy milks as well. I've not tested it. Keep the milk container out as you may want to add more. Add a tablespoon of melted butter or vegetable oil. The crepes taste slightly better with the butter but I never remember to melt it ahead of time so I often use the oil. There's plenty of butter in the rest of the dish.
In a large bowl mix 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, a pinch of salt, and a teaspoon (or so) of sugar. Pour in the wet ingredients and mix until smooth. With pancakes we don't worry if the batter isn't completely smooth - with crepes it's important that it be very smooth.
Put the crepes in the refrigerator or set aside to rest for at least half an hour. You can also mix this the night before and leave it in the refrigerator over night so that it's very easy to cook these off in the morning.
For the filling, I use pears which I cut (I don't peel them) and sautee slowly in butter until the outside is brown and the texture is soft but not mushy.
I also whip up some whipping cream. You can buy it in a spray can or use a plastic-tasting famous non-dairy version.
Finally, I make caramel sauce. This is the hardest thing to make. You might find butterscotch sauce easier. For the caramel sauce, combine a cup of sugar, a pinch of salt, and a cup of water and stir together in a small pot (don't use non-stick for this) over a low heat. Once the sugar is dissolved stop stirring. Heat the mixture until it starts bubbling and darkens to a caramel color. This takes a while - you are essentially making candy.
Here comes the dangerous part. Take the mixture off the stove and add 1/4 of cream a tiny bit at a time. The picture will froth up dramatically and the cream will seize. It solidifies. You need to slowly mix it back into the hot sugar mixture until it begins to loosen up and incorporate. Put it back on a low heat and continue to stir until it becomes a smooth sauce. Turn off the heat and let it come to room temperature.
Now let's make the crepes!
I use a non-stick pan. The key is low heat. If you don't use a non-stick, melt a little butter on the pan before cooking the crepe.
Add batter to the pan. How much depends on the size of your pan. You'll figure this out after your first crepe.
Working quickly pick up the pan and swirl the batter around to cover the bottom of the pan. I keep swirling until the batter stops moving. You want a very thin crepe that completely covers the bottom.
Put the pan back over the low heat and wait until the bottom has cooked and has just begun to color. Flip the crepe over and cook the other side - this second side won't take very long. Again, your first crepe is where you are learning how long this will take. You may have to turn this first one a couple of times.
Often, in my house, the first crepe is set aside and given to the dog later. This year I happened to get it right so the poor dog got nothing.
When the crepe is done, lay it on a plate. Spoon the pear filling in a vertical line along the center. The whipped cream tastes better if you put it inside with the pears but it looks better if it is on the outside of the crepe so you decide. Fold over the crepe and drizzle caramel sauce over the top.
Make (and eat) many more.