Versatile, elegant, and inexpensive to make, crêpes embody a certain je ne sais quoi that the French do so well. Think of a simple scarf worn with a sport coat or little black dress. Like an accessory that completes the outfit, crêpes can make the meal ― whether that’s breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner or dessert.
While crêpes are consumed across Europe and beyond year-round, the French eat mounds and mounds of crêpes every February 2 for the feast day of Candlemas or La Chandeleur. The midpoint between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox, Candlemas emphasizes light in the darkness and hope for the onset of spring. (Sound familiar? Candlemas is the origin of Groundhog Day.) With their large, round shape, crêpes were thought to signify the sun and invoke longer days. It’s also thought that ancient Europeans made mountains of crêpes to clear out the prior year’s wheat in anticipation of another harvest.
Like the ancients, you probably have everything you need to make crêpes in your kitchen. Why not celebrate the coming of spring with our recipe for delicate Fresh Strawberry or Blueberry Crêpes? Use the tips below to ensure your crêpes have that certain je ne sais quoi, every time.
Use the pan you have
With their large surface area and handy flared edge, cast iron crêpe pans can be a great tool for cooks who make a lot of crêpes. But if you don’t have one, never fear: a nonstick 8-inch sauté pan produces a fairly uniform crêpe. If, for any reason, your shape becomes uneven or asymmetrical in the pan, it will likely be disguised when you roll or fold your crêpe, anyway. Just be sure to heat your pan slowly to avoid burning.
Blend, but not too much
Using a blender will ensure that your crêpe batter is silky and uniform, but don’t overdo it. Leaving the batter to blitz for more than 10 seconds can activate gluten in the flour and water and cause crêpes to be tough.
Give it a rest
Allowing the batter to rest for an hour in the fridge accomplishes two goals. First, it lets the gluten relax after being agitated by the blender. Second, it settles any bubbles that formed during blending, so that your crêpes don’t end up with holes that can tear.
After you’ve heated your pan gradually, add a good amount of butter. (In the Fresh Strawberry or Blueberry Crêpes recipe, we call for 1 or 2 teaspoons, but suggest you err on the side of 2 teaspoons or even more.) This will likely be the only time you need to butter the pan. Your first crêpe will probably be a little crisper and more buttery than you’d like, but every following crêpe will look just right.
Stack and save
Our trick for stacking crêpes is 1) placing the first-cooked side of the first crêpe DOWN on a wire rack, and 2) placing crêpes in two different stacks, alternating between them. This method produces crêpes that don’t stick together (and that can even be stored easily in the refrigerator).
Fill and roll
When it comes to filing crêpes, the possibilities are endless. While fresh fruit, cream cheese and powdered sugar are classic choices, savory crêpes can be equally delicious. Try our Curry Chicken Crêpes recipe to cross over into savory territory.
Choose your finish
For our Fresh Strawberry or Blueberry Crêpes recipe, each individual filled crêpe can be lightly sautéed in butter to add a nutty, caramelized flavor and finish. In our Banana Crêpes and Curry Chicken Crêpes recipes, the rolled crêpes are then topped and baked in the oven. Of course, there’s always the option to eat fresh crêpes straight from the pan, accompanied by chocolate-hazelnut spread, jam, powdered sugar ― or nothing at all.