Crepes

Crepes TutorialA crepe is an unleavened, flat, thin pancake of cooked dough or batter which is used as a wrapper for another food. It is thought that crepes originated in Brittany, a region located in Northwest France. But, some type of crepe is made in most cuisines the world over. There is the Italian crespella, the French crepe, the Chinese mandarin pancake, the Mexican tortilla, and the Russian blinchki. In France the crepe used to be called pannequet; a very thin pannequet resembles the wrinkled, fragile looking fabric which we know as crepe—hence its name. It is sometimes called crepe dentelle because of the tiny lacy holes at the edges.

Crepe batter is generally made from flour, eggs, milk, butter, salt, sugar, water and oil. Crepes are made in a crepe pan or frying pan, both greased with butter or oil. Crepe batter makes a great versatile base for all kinds of fillings; they are flexible and can be easily wrapped around numerous sweet or savory ones. They can be drizzled with sweet sauces and then sprinkled with confectioners' sugar. Crepes are so thin that they are almost always folded, the shape dictated by the dish: flambéed crepes are folded in quarters, the point placed on the plate facing away from the diner. Firm or creamy fillings are rolled in a cylinder, and looser mixtures are contained within by turning in the sides of the crepe, then rolling it like a package called a pannequet. 

The quantity of liquid in the batter can be changed to make the crepe thicker or thinner. Milk or a mixture of milk and water is usually used, but some recipes use cream or even beer. Cream or extra egg yolks make a crepe that is tender, soft, and difficult to turn. The more water and the less fat, the more it is like bread dough, making a crepe that's tougher and more elastic. The number of eggs varies from recipe to recipe as well. 

Crepes are leavened with eggs and with air beaten into the batter. Although you can blend a crepe batter by hand-using a whisk, a blender, or food processor you'll want to be especially careful not to overbeat the batter, or you'll risk creating too much air in the batter. If so, when cooked, large air bubbles will will be visible while cooking; they will pop and leave holes or bumps. 

Crepes and fillings can be prepared well in advance for ease of preparation and heat beautifully in the microwave. As you make them, stack them one on top of the other to prevent them from drying out. Cooled crepes will keep several hours at room temperature, layered with wax paper and wrapped in plastic wrap so they don't dehydrate and absorb other flavors. Well wrapped, they will also last a few days in the refrigerator or 3 to 4 months in the freezer.

Chocolate Caramel Mille Crepes Cake RecipeSHAPES OF CREPES
A variety of shapes can be made depending on the kind of filling or the way you want to present them. Just make sure that the prettiest side will be on the outside when you are through rolling or folding for the best eye appeal. 
Crepe Rolls: Spread the filling on each crepe, pretty side down, and roll fairly tightly from one side. Ends may be tucked under before rolling.
Classic Fold: Place filling in the center and fold one side over the center, then fold the other side over first side.
Crepe Pockets (Blintzes): Place filling in center, fold one side one-third toward center. Fold opposite side one-third toward center. Fold an open side over center three-quarters of the way across the crepe. Fold again to close last open end. This makes a rectangle shape.
Triangle Fold: Place filling in center or spread evenly if desired. Fold crepe in half, then half again forming a triangle.
Gateau (Layered): Place filling evenly over crepe. Place another crepe on top. Spread filling on that crepe and top with another crepe. Continue layering until desired height is achieved. Serve by cutting into wedges.
Cups: Place small crepes in buttered muffin pans and arrange folds nicely. Fill and bake according to recipe you are using. 
Breakfast and Dessert Crepes: The simplest way to serve crepes is to spread them with jam or preserves, roll or fold them, arrange on an oven-proof dish, and then sprinkle with sugar. Use table sugar, brown sugar or powdered sugar. Heat in the microwave under full power for 2-3 minutes. Optionally, place dish midway down under the broiler for 2-4 minutes. Do not put them directly under the flame or they will burn. Also, you can put them to heat in the oven set at 350 degrees F for about 5 minutes or until heated thoroughly.
 
Other Fillings
Jams and preserves: Strawberry, apricot, marmalades, plum, etc.
Pie fillings: Apple, cherry, pudding, etc.
Fresh fruit: Strawberries, apricots, peaches, blueberries, etc. May be cooked or served with a glaze added.
 
Lunch and Dinner Crepes
Seafood: Cooked scallops, lobster, tuna, shrimp - mix with your favorite white sauce, cheese sauce, or canned soup. Add a little white wine for robustness. Fill crepes, fold as desired, top with more white sauce. Sprinkle with bread crumbs, cheese and dill or parsley. Bake 5 to 10 minutes at 350 degrees F or until bubbly. Optionally, microwave 3 to 5 minutes until bubbly.
Chicken or turkey and beef or pork: Cut up cooked meat and add to white or tomato-based sauce. Spice to taste. Add cooked chopped eggs or cottage cheese, or shredded cheese to taste. Keep sauce thick as it will thin when heated. Fill crepes, fold or roll as desired, top with bread crumbs or cheese. Bake at 350 degrees until bubbly, or microwave 3 to 5 minutes.
Vegetables: Al cooked vegetables do beautifully in crepes. It's a good idea to add a little butter or cheese or white sauce to them so they are not too dry in the crepe. Use any vegetable or vegetable-meat mixture to fill crepes. Use your imagination and what's on hand. Just fill and fold, sprinkle favorite sauce, sour cream, yogurt, crumbs, or whatever, and heat in the oven, microwave, or under the broiler.

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