Since going to Paris in high school, I have been in love with crepes. The almost paper thin, pancake like vehicle for anything from Nutella to chicken in a cream sauce (two of my favorite fillings). They can be filled and rolled or folded into a crude triangle shape, or even layered like a cake. No matter how you fill them or layer them, I love 'em.
Some people find making crepes to be a daunting task. It's a little intimidating, but once you get the technique down it's a cinch. I learned my crepe making technique from Alton Brown (one of my food heros). His was the first recipe I used before creating my own. I recommend watching this video of Alton making his crepes. Video works better than just pictures in this case.
Traditionally, crepe batter has a lot of butter in it (it is French after all). My batter is fat-free. I do, however cook it in a little butter so the end result isn't completely fat-free but it's definitely low-fat. You could eben cut out more fat and calories if you use no-stick spray instead of butter for the pan.
Now, don't turn your nose up. It's good. I promise. The crepes are tender and light and you won't miss the fat one bit - I promise. What? You're still skeptical? Well, just try them and see.
It comes together in just a couple minutes in the blender.
Here's what to do:
Put the eggs in the blender. The recipe calls for 2, but I am making more (I ended up making 5 times as much) today because my friend asked for fresh crepes for a party she is throwing tomorrow. So, for 1 batch you won't have this many eggs in your blender. . . just 2.
Then a dash of salt - maybe 1/4 tsp.
3/4 cups non-fat milk. (This is where you can add more fat if you want. You can add whole milk, and even replace 1/4 cup of the milk with butter if you can handle all the extra calories. I can't, so I'm staying with the non-fat milk.)
1/2 cup flour. This is where I would stop normally. This crepe batter can be filled with anything savory or sweet. But, my friend wants sweet crepes for her crepe bar, so I'm making Sweet Vanilla Crepes for her. Only 2 more ingredients to add. . .
2 Tbsp sugar
and 1-2 tsp of vanilla. This is my dad's homemade vanilla, so it has lots of pretty black vanilla beans in it.
Now just blend it all up. After a few seconds, make sure to scrape down the sides and get the flour that has stuck.
Then just blend for another second or so and the batter is done! You can use it right away, but I recommend letting it rest for a bit, so the bubbles go down. - An hour is good enough if you have the time. My wonderful husband always just uses it right away. So, do what you have time for, but waiting will ensure that your crepes don't tear as easily later on.
When you are ready to cook you could break out a crepe pan (which I don't have, and don't think I will ever own) or a small non-stick skillet. I love my non-stick skillet. Coat the pan with a little butter. I usually just hold the whole stick, half unwrapped, and just wipe the hot pan with it. You could also just use a pastry brush (which I ended up using after the melting butter stick was too hard to work with). You just want a light, even coating on the pan. This will give you nice browning on the crepe and of course taste good. If you wanted to cut out even more calories, you could use a non-stick spray here.
I find it easiest to just pour straight from the blender, and swirl the pan as I go. I pour the batter in the middle of the pan (off the heat and tilted on it's side), and then swirl around until the pan is evenly coated with a thin layer of batter. (My handsome man took this picture. He's my extra camera man when my amazing husband is at work.)
If you are too intimidated to pour straight from the blender (if you pour too slowly, the batter will cook on the hot pan before you can swirl it evenly; and if you pour too fast your crepe will be too thick) you can always use a measuring cup. You'll need about 1 oz of batter. That's an 1/8 cup or you can fill up half of a 1/4 cup measure.
Same as before. Just pour in the middle of the pan, off he heat and tilted slightly, and swirl the batter around the pan until you have an even layer.
The batter will start to set immediately. I cook mine over medium high heat, so the first side is done in about 45 seconds.
When the edges start to curl away from the pan, and are browned slightly, I go around the edges with a very thin, silicone spatula - to make sure nothing sticks.
This is where you can flip how you like. My crazy husband, with his asbestos hands, just reaches in there and flips the crepes with his fingers. Not me. I would like to save the feeling in the tips of my fingers.
So, I use a silicone spatula. I place it on top of the crepe . . .
then I flip the whole pan upside down. The crepe falls onto the spatula . . .
and I gingerly lay the crepe back into the pan (cooked side up), and place the pan back over the heat.
The second side is done in about 10-15 seconds.
When the second side is done, just slide the crepe onto a plate,
and cover with a towel to stay warm. Take the pan off the heat, and let it cook slightly before buttering and pouring in more batter for the second crepe. If the pan is too hot, you won't be able to swirl it properly.
Just pile the cooked crepes up (like a stack of pancakes) until they are all cooked and serve immediately.
If you are planning to keep the crepes for a later time (such as my friend who wants the crepes for the following day), just put a piece of wax paper between each crepe. Seal it up in plastic and they will stay good in the fridge for a couple days, or in the freezer for at least a month.
Here's the recipe:
Mama's (Low-fat) Crepes
dash of salt (about 1/4 tsp)
3/4 cup non-fat milk
1/2 cup flour
butter for pan
For Sweet Vanilla Crepes add:
2 Tbsp sugar
1-2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Scrape down the sides and blend again. Let batter sit for 1 hour. Heat a small non-stick skillet and brush with a little butter. Pour 1 oz (also known as 1/8 cup or 2 Tbsp) of batter into the center of the warm pan (off the heat, and tilted slightly), and immediately swirl the batter around the pan until there is an even layer. Place the pan back over the heat and cook on medium high heat for about 45 seconds. The edges will start to curl away from the pan and they will be faintly browned. Loosen the edges with a very thin rubber or silicone spatula and very gently flip the crepe over to cook the second side. The second side cooks in 10-15 seconds. Transfer the cooked crepe to a plate and cover with a towel to stay warm until service. Cool the pan slightly before buttering and adding more batter for each subsequent crepe. Serve warm. Makes about a dozen crepes.