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Crepes: Savory & Sweet

July 19, 2011

DECEMBER 25th, 2010 — Crepes have been a part of life for a long time. I think it might have been the first thing I learned how to make seriously. After those infantile cooking classes I enrolled during the summer when I was 7 years old, I was taught to make those flat European pancakes in 4th grade. My teacher, Mme Truyens [try-ONZ] showed us in class that you would scramble your eggs (hard) in the bowl first, and then add milk, and then add your dry ingredients. And that’s how I started to make them at home.

When I started, I would get spoonfuls of brown sugar, spread a thin layer across the whole crepe, and roll it up. That’s how I was taught (by a Belgian lady). Soon, I found that you could stuff more if you didn’t roll it, but just folded it over in half. (Some European restaurants will do this.) I don’t really have a preference. Rolling takes more time and effort, and also since I tend to make thicker crepes (because I don’t have the fancy squeegee that real crepe places have) so I never roll my crepe up too thinly.

That’s about as thin as I can get.

I’ve come a long way since then, and if you ask me what’s my favorite thing to make, I’ll say pancakes and crepes. Pancakes, because I can get more creative and actually put stuff in the batter because they’re puff and can hold stuff like nuts and cranberries. Crepes, not so much, but you can fill them with anything. I would start with fruit & sugar, because as kids, we’re all sweet tooths when you think of pancakes. I would make apple crepes or banana crepes often on weekends when I lived in Overijse, Belgium. Now I think I actually prefer savory crepes. I love the wide diversity of ingredients you can put into a savory filling (without it tasting too crowded), and then I absolutely the slightly sweet contrast the crepe wrapper provides.

So what did you do?
Crepe batter is incredibly simple: flour, sugar, milk, and egg. No baking powder. (That makes a pancake.) Crepe batter should be pretty runny compared to a pancake batter. They’re often noted for an eggy flavor at times.
When you drop it into the pan, I’ll often use the spoon / ladle to spread it around byhand as soon as I can, but just tilting the pan around is also always helpful, though you might get weird raindrop stream patterns.

For adding fillings, you can just plate the crepe, put the filling in, and roll it or fold it up. I did that with sweet crepe, which has a mashed banana mixture with toasted walnuts and cinnamon and a little brown sugar.
However, for the savory crepe, because it has cheese, (and because cheese must be melted at all costs,) I put the filling inside the crepe and fold it over while it’s in the pan. (I do this with my fingers. Yes, the pan is hot, so don’t be stupid.) This savory one has spinach, scrambled eggs, sauteed onions, and Monterey Jack cheese.

Lessons learned?
After having returned to the United States, I’ve learned that I say “crepe,” and y’all say “crape,” like morons.

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