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Hot French Crêpes Action!

Pancake - Crepes with berries, mint and honey

Are you done scrubbing chocolate batter from the walls since my last recipe? Excellent. Today we’re making French crêpes (note the pedantic use of a circumflex accent, indicating just how authentically French this recipe will be).

You will need, by order of appearance:

  • 1 cup sifted flour
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons granulated or bakers sugar (I find that I prefer less sugar in the batter, but to each their own brand of diabetes)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs (I always see recipes recommending “large” eggs. I use normal, free-run ones. THINK OF THE HENS)
  • 1 ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup beer (Yup, beer. I can only advise to stay away from Bud or Heineken and go for a fruity Belgian ale, like a Grimbergen)
  • 1/2 stick melted butter
  • ¼ cup water
  • Oil for the pan (Canola, corn, sunflower… Anything but olive oil)

But also:

  • A whisk
  • A spatula
  • Two large bowls (Buy another goldfish…)
  • A sifter
  • A mug to melt your butter
  • A decent nonstick crêpe pan
  • A little French magic

So, without further ado…

  1. In your first fishbowl, sift the flour and add the sugar and salt, whisk a bit.
  2. Incorporate the eggs and milk, and whisk like you life depends on it to get rid of as many lumps as possible.
  3. Add the beer (Make sure to angle the bottle so you don’t generate too much foam when you pour it in the cup). Whisk again, you should now have a smooth batter, with a few bubbles and lumps in it.
  4. Melt your butter in a mug, and incorporate it while whisking continually (the idea is to avoid lumps of cooled butter forming  in the batter).
  5. Now, grab your second bowl, place the sifter above it and pour the batter to sift it. Use the whisk to grind the remnants of thicker, lumpy batter through the sifter.
  6. Add the water, whisk again, and you should now have a perfectly smooth and liquid, cream-colored batter.
  7. Some French recommend to let the batter sit for at least an hour, but I’ve never needed to do that with mine. It can’t hurt though, and all you’ll have to do is to whisk it again afterward, as the batter will likely diphase into a watery layer on top of a thicker one.
  8. Now, for the best part: get ready to stand in your kitchen for the next hour or so, cooking crêpes like a robot. (This recipe serves 15 to 20 crêpes, depending on the size of your pan)
  9. Turn on your cooktop to a low-medium heat and grease the pan lightly. The oil should be a barely visible film in a pan that needs to be in impeccable condition: not a single scratch. Keep a paper towel folded and soaked with oil at hand’s reach to grease the pan again every 5 crêpes or so.
  10. When the pan is hot, take it away from the cooktop and pour ¼ cup of batter in the center.
  11. Rotate the pan to allow the batter to cover the whole surface. Be quick and nimble: crêpes cook as soon as they touch the pan, and those lil’ fuckas don’t waste no time. You have a 3 to 5 seconds window to get each crêpe shaped just right.
  12. Place the pan back onto the cooktop, wait a couple minutes, use a non-metal spatula to flip it, wait another minute or two.
  13. Place the crêpe in a plate, cover it with aluminum foil to keep it hot. You’re done. Only 19 left to go…

crepe - pancake

Et voilà! My favorite way to eat those is rolled with sugar, like on that pic. Jam, nutella or chantilly are great too, but you’ll gain 2 pounds just thinking of it.

My mother likes to add a tablespoon of Grand Marnier to the batter, other prefer Rhum, or even orange blossom water: all those taste delicious, but they don’t mix well with jam or Nutella (except maybe Rhum), so if you go that way, the crêpes will be best eaten with just a little sugar.

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