This is my husband’s basic recipe for making French crepes, he makes an easy crepe batter with flour, sugar, eggs, milk, vanilla, and butter. Before I met Nicolas, I always thought of crepes of something that I would mainly order at a restaurant or when eating out. I remember that on one of our first trips to visit his family in France, his younger sister Caroline, who was about 12-13 at the time, made crepes and was flipping them in the pan like a pro.
I realized that it must be something in their French genes to make crepes so easily. Of course, this meant that I immediately delegated all crepe making to my husband (and I focused on the ceviche/empanada/plantains). I’ve made crepes on some occasions, either when Nicolas was traveling or just to prove that “hey I can make crepes”. But I have to admit that he’s much more efficient and faster at making them. When making a couple dozen crepes, that makes a difference. On occasion, I’ve been known to add a savory/Latin touch (try guava jam and queso fresco) to our crepe fillings, and of course, dulce de leche has become a must-have filling option at our table.
How to make French crepes
- 2 cups of flour all purpose
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 6 eggs
- 3 cups of milk
- 4 tablespoons of butter melted (or melt it in the pan that you will use for the crepes – see more below)
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
Suggestions for toppings:
- Fresh fruit: strawberries blackberries, raspberries, banana, mango, etc
- Dulce de leche
- Nutellla or your choice of chocolate hazelnut spread
- Homemade strawberry sauce or your choice of strawberry/fruit jam
- Place the flour, eggs, sugar, vanilla and 1 cup (30% volume) of the milk in a large mixing bowl.
- Use a whisk, immersion blender or electric mixer to combine and mix all the ingredients until you have a smooth mixture.
- Add the remaining 2 cups of milk (70% volume) and mix until completely smooth. This crepe batter can be refrigerated until ready to use.
- In the frying pan you will use for the crepes, melt the butter over low heat. Then pour the melted butter into a small bowl and let it cool a little. Your pan will be nicely greased with the butter and ready for cooking the first crepe.
- Add the cooled down melted butter to the crepe batter and mix well.
- Heat the pan to medium heat. Each stove and pan is different, so you need to learn the ideal temperature and heat setting. Generally, for a gas stove it’s at 50% to 75% of maximum. Using a ladle to pour the batter in the pan with one hand, while holding the pan and inclining it on all sides quickly to distribute it across the surface.
- Cook the first side for about one minute or until the edges of the crepe start to get golden brown, checking with a flat spatula for the right time to flip it. Slide the flat spatula gently underneath the crepe, flip it (carefully use your hand if needed to assist) and cook it on the other side for about 15-25 seconds. Remove it and put it on a plate. Repeat until you are done with all the batter.
- The crepes can be served immediately with your choice of topping options.
Crepes have become a Sunday family tradition for us. With our busy schedule (i.e. kids soccer games/events) we don’t have them every Sunday. But it’s frequent enough that our youngest son sort of expects them if we don’t have anything else going on. Sometimes it’s just us, and sometimes we invite friends to join us for a crepe brunch. This means Nicolas will make a double or triple batch (the kids usually end up having more than the adults).
Nico’s tips for perfect sweet crepes:
- Use a regular frying pan, no need for a special pan, most French households do not own a crepe pan.
- For best results, make the batter ahead of time. It can be refrigerated overnight. Mix in the melted butter right before cooking the crepes.
- The first crepe is usually the test crepe, it’s usually the less good looking one and serves to make sure you find the right temperature for your pan.
- When you remove each crepe from the cooking pan it might feel stiff. Stack them on top of each other, this will help them become soft and flexible.
- Have a selection of crepe topping options, from the simple basic items like plain sugar and chocolate hazelnut spread to fruit jams or homemade fruit sauces, fresh fruit, dulce de leche, whipped cream, etc. Let each person mix and match their favorite toppings.
Step by step photos for preparing French crepes: