Crêpes are probably the most common take away/street food in France; you can find a café or stall selling them just about everywhere. They are our go-to snack food bribe for encouraging bored flagging young kids when sightseeing….”cheer up, just another 10 minutes in this gallery/just another few hundred metres to walk, and we’ll stop for a crêpe”! But they are also very easy to make with regular store cupboard ingredients. Read on to find out how to make French crêpes with our traditional family recipe.
The ingredients above make about 24 very thin French crêpes in a 22 cm pan. It’s easier to get the mixture very thinly spread if the pan is very shallow. Special low-sided crêpe pans are easily found in French supermarkets, especially around the main pancake-eating time in early February at Chandeleur. We don’t actually have one as our regular frying pan works well, but every year when I see them on display in late January I’m tempted to get one and somehow don’t.
How to make French Crêpes: Mamie’s recipe:
1. Pour the flour into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the middle. Pour in half the liquid. Gently mix the 2 together by spooning the liquid over the sides of the well making the flour fall into the liquid.
2. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and then pour them into the flour mixture. Add the oil or butter, sugar (if making sweet crêpes) and salt.
3. Slowly pour in the rest of the liquid, mixing as you go, until you have a runny consistency but not too liquid. This can all be done by hand or in a food processor. I do it by hand as it’s very quick it doesn’t seem worth getting the equipment out. Stir in any extras if using them for sweet crêpes (vanilla/rum etc).
4. Cover the bowl and leave the mixture to rest at room temperature for an hour or two if you have the time.
5. Grease the pan with a little butter or oil and once it’s very hot pour in enough to just cover the bottom, turning the pan to cover evenly. After a few seconds the sides of the crêpe should lift up all alone.
6. Turn the crêpe using a spatula and cook the other side. The first one is always hopeless. Don’t count on serving it to guests. Once you get the hang of it it’s fun to try and flip them, though expect some to fall on the floor!
Serve with whatever yumminess you fancy. For sweet crêpes our favourites are Nutella, cherry jam, maple syrup or simply lemon juice and sugar. For savoury the choices are endless though my boys’ firm favourites consist of ham, cheese, mushrooms and an egg on top.
French Pancake Day, called Chandeleur, falls on 2nd of February every year. It’s a great time to feast on these simple but delicious French-style pancakes. You can find out more about Chandeleur, its origins, meaning and traditions here.
Do you like pancakes? Have you ever made French crêpes? What’s your favourite filling?
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