Mastering classic French cooking at home: crêpes
Oh, to have a repertoire of French cuisine classics that you can whip up at home and know that they’ll be fantastic – every time!
Have you always dreamed of mastering French cuisine? Years ago I attended a course with Le Cordon Bleu in London and I have a very early (1978) copy of Julia Child’s ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking‘, now very yellow and food stained by successful and not so masterful attempts!
Like many of you, I’ve also read the book and seen the 2009 film Julie & Julia, with Amy Adams as Julie Powell and Meryl Streep as Julia Child. Upon hearing about Powell’s attempt at replicating all her recipes, Child was reported to have been unimpressed, viewing Powell’s attempt to be a stunt, and that Powell wasn’t serious about doing it.
We’re passionate about continuing the challenge of mastering classic French cooking at home without having professional training. In this series we bring you tips and recipes from others who share our passion.
Janelle’s husband Scott is a real fan of street food and he’s also been in the kitchen taking the photos. She says: “No matter where in the world we visit, trying the local street food is high on his list of things to do. I, on the other hand, can take it or leave it. Most of the time I leave it, preferring to eat my food from a plate, while sitting down (preferably in a restaurant, with a decent wine list).
However, there is one place in the world where I am more than happy to dine on the street food…
Whenever we are in Paris, the temptation to pick up a Breton style galette or crêpe is ever present. In Montmartre in particular, there seems to be a crêpe window on every corner and their toasty scent of fills the air. It is almost impossible not to buy one.
There are sweet and savoury flavours to suit all tastes, although I can never go past a crêpe au citron et sucre. Yep, plain old lemon and sugar. In my mind, nothing can beat it.
Just one bite of a crêpe transports me to Paris. And the best news is that crêpes are so easy make at home. No special ingredients or equipment are required. Having said that, I must confess that I love my little crêpe pan and my batter spreader – but you don’t actually need either of them to make authentic crêpes.
“I’m quite sure that everyone reading this understands that there is not too much variety in crêpe recipes – but I’ve shared my favourite anyhow. The fun comes with choosing the topping. Chocolate, banana and rum all seem popular. Or you could just go with my favourite – lemon and sugar.”
This recipe serves 3 but can easily be scaled up if you want to serve more people (or are feeling particularly hungry).
- 1 cup of plain flour
- Pinch of salt
- 1 egg
- 1 cup of milk
- 30g of melted butter
- Toppings of your choice
- Sift flour and salt into a bowl (ideally a bowl with a pouring lip).
- Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, milk and melted butter.
- Pour milk mixture into the well, and whisk ingredients together until you have a smooth, thin batter.
- Cover batter and refrigerate for at least half an hour, although longer is better.
- When it is time to cook the crêpes, heat a lightly greased frypan or crêpe pan over medium to high heat.
- Pour a small amount of the batter into the hot pan and swirl the pan around. You want a thin, even circle of batter on the bottom of the pan.
- Keep an eye on your crêpes, which are relatively ‘see-through’. As soon as the crêpe is starting to look golden brown, flip the crêpe and lightly cook the second side.
- Repeat the process until you have used all your batter.
- If you are feeling especially communal, you can keep your crêpes warm until you have finished the entire cooking process. But I prefer topping each crêpe as soon as they are done and serving them folded, hot, fresh and yummy.
This recipe was originally published on DistantFrancophile.com. Thank you for collaborating with us Janelle.
What is your favourite crêpe topping? Do you have any tips to share on cooking this sweet treat? Share your thoughts and experiences with us below!
Indulge yourself with more delicious recipes in our series of how to Master French Classics…