The versatile crêpe
One of the things I remember most about by first visit to Quebec City was ordering crêpes from a street vendor. Once you chose your fillings and placed your order you watched and waited as the crêpier showed off their technique. Then voilà, a delicious treat that you could eat on the go as you explored the narrow streets and picturesque squares of old Quebec.
While crêpes origins can be traced to Brittany, in north western France, they are popular across France, Belgium, and French Canada.
You’ll need to set aside some time for prepping the variety of ingredients for this dish. Depending what you choose to serve with your crêpes, you may be cooking meats, like bacon, shredding cheese or whipping up crème anglaise along with making the crêpe batter. The crêpes themselves, cook rather quickly, normally one at a time. The goal is to make them thin. To achieve this, you need to ensure that your batter is just right. This means a batter with no lumps, no bubbles and the right fluidity. The batter should be allowed to sit for at least 30 minutes in order to let any bubbles dissipate. The batter should also be runny enough so that when you ladle about ¼ cup into the pan you can swirl the pan so that the runny batter spreads out into a thin layer.
One way of serving crepes is to layer them, adding various ingredients between the layers before you pile on the toppings. Sometimes they are filled with ones desired ingredients then folded like a cone, making them easier to eat on the go. The fancy Crêpes Suzette, are covered with a beurre Suzette of caramelized butter, sugar, orange zest and finished with an orange liqueur flambé.
I prefer to fold the crêpe around the filling, like a pocket, especially for the savory crêpes.
For the savory version, that you will serve first, you may offer your guests a combination of ingredients, such as:
- Bacon (cooked)
- Ham (diced or sliced)
- Sausage (cooked, chopped or crumbled)
- Smoked salmon
- Grated cheese
- Cream cheese
- Sliced mushrooms
- Green onions, or chives (chopped)
- Sweet pepper (diced)
- Artichoke (chopped)
These are only my suggestions, and you may prefer to sauté some of the vegetables so that they are tender. To prepare, return one of the cooked crêpes to the pan, add about 4 tbsp of the combined filling in a line along the centre, fold in two edges wrapping the contents in thirds. Heat for about a minute, turning once to allow the cheese to melt.
Choose from a variety of fruits, creams, spreads and even liqueurs:
- Whipped cream
- Chantilly cream
- Crème anglaise
- Chocolate sauce
- Caramel spread
- Maple syrup
- Fruit jam, jelly or confiture
- Orange , hazel or almond liqueur
Sweet & Savory Crêpes
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup flour
- 1½ cups milk
- 1 tbsp melted butter
- ¼ tsp salt
- Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl.
- Stir in the flour and milk followed by the melted butter and salt.
- Beat for about a minute or until frothy.
- Set aside for at least 15 minutes.
- Heat a 12-inch pan on medium heat, melt a little butter and spread evenly in the pan or apply a light coat of cooking spray.
- Ladle out about ¼ cup of the batter into the centre of the pan, then swirl the pan so that the batter runs out to the edges.
- Cook for about a minute, shake the pan to ensure the crêpe is not sticking.
- When ready to turn the edges should appear golden. Flip the crêpe in one motion.
- Cook the reverse side for another minute.
- Remove from the pan, set aside and repeat until the batter is used up.