Crepes Tutorial

  • Serves: Makes about ten 7 1/2-inch crêpes
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This recipe for sweet and simple crêpes features the classically decadent combination of strawberries and chocolate! It couldn't be more perfect for a summer dessert!
Crêpes are best made and filled just before eating.  
QUICK-BREAD RECIPE HELP

Recipe used with the:
Chocolate Caramel Mille Crepes Cake Recipe
Light and luscious, this ethereal dessert is a classic in the fine bistro tradition. The cake is composed of twenty layers of thin French crepes and is SO delish.
It makes a great dessert when you want to impress.

INGREDIENTS
ORANGE SCENTED STRAWBERRIES
1 pound strawberries, washed, stemmed and hulled, and cut into quarters
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice or lemon juice
1 teaspoon orange zest or lemon zest

NOTES:
Stem and hull, then, and cut strawberries into quarters:


CHOCOLATE SAUCE 
8 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate; chopped into evenly sized 1/4-inch pieces
1 cup heavy cream

NOTES:
Chop chocolate into 1/4-inch evenly sized pieces with a sharp knife:

CREPES
INGREDIENTS 

3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour or 1/2 cup buckwheat flour and 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose; spoon into measuring cup and level to rim
2 - 3 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 cup whole or 2% milk
1 tablespoon cognac or brandy or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the pan:
about 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil or clarified butter, or more, if necessary; do NOT use unclarified butter

 STORAGE
Clarified butter keeps for up to 3 weeks, well covered, in refrigerator or freezer.

GARNISH, OPTIONAL
Powdered sugar
Whipped cream
10 perfect whole strawberries

INSTRUCTIONS
STEP I: MAKE THE ORANGE-SCENTED STRAWBERRIES
1. In another bowl, combine the strawberries, sugar, orange juice, and orange zest.






2. Set aside for about 15 minutes.

STORAGE
Cover and refrigerate for up to a day. Stir before using.

STEP II: MAKE THE CHOCOLATE SAUCE
1. Put the chopped chocolate pieces in a heat-proof bowl.

2. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it reaches a simmer.

3. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate.

4. Stir gently until the mixture is smooth.

STORAGE
Set aside until needed for the recipe. For longer storage, the recipe can stay at room temperature for a day and then, must be refrigerated.
To rewarm, gently reheat in the top of a double boiler with previously simmered water. Gently stir.

STEP III: MAKE THE CREPE BATTER
1. After measuring, sift the flour, sugar, and salt into a medium size bowl. Set aside.


 2. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, yolks and milk.

3. Add the dry mix to the wet ingredients in small increments, whisking after each addition, until just combined.

4. Stir in the cognac.

5. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the mixture to rest for at least 30 minutes to an hour.
SARAH SAYS: This allows for the gluten to relax and for the flour's starches to fully absorb the liquid in the recipe.

STORAGE
For long term storage, refrigerate the batter for up to two days. Remove from the refrigerator an hour before using.
Then, stir it briskly and adjust the consistency of the batter right before using; it should be the consistency of heavy cream.
If not, you can add a tablespoon of milk or flour.

STEP IV: COOK THE CREPES, FILL AND SERVE
Cook the crepes:
SARAH SAYS: You'll probably mess up a couple of the crêpes when you make a batch; no need to worry!
1. Heat a 10-inch non-stick pan over medium to medium-high heat until fairly hot.
NOTE: The actual base (the cooking surface) of the pan is about 7 1/2-inches, though.
SARAH SAYS: You don't need a special crepe pan.
You can also test when the pan is hot enough - sprinkle with a few drops of water and they should sizzle.

2. Once the pan is hot, drop about 1 1/2 teaspoons of clarified butter into the pan and move it around to coat.
Use either a paper towel or pastry brush to wipe off the excess; you should leave the thinnest of films.
SARAH SAYS: It's important that you put a little bit of fat in the pan for the FIRST CREPE ONLY, to prevent sticking and burning.
Only re-oil your pan in between crepes, if necessary.

3. Pour about 1/4 cup (about 3 - 4 tablespoons) crêpe batter in the pan at once and do not add more; there should only be just enough batter to lightly cover the bottom.
It will make a hissing noise when it hits the pan if the heat is high enough.
The heat should be around medium to medium-high. Holding the handle with a potholder, quickly swirl it so the batter thinly and evenly coats the bottom of the pan.
Move quickly, or the batter will set before the bottom of the skillet is coated, and the crêpes will be thicker than desired.
Fill any holes with a few drops of batter from a spoon.

4. Cook for 45 seconds to 1 to 2 minutes or until the batter is glossy (but not runny) on top and the edges begin to brown.
Use a spatula to turn the crêpe over.

5. Cook the crêpes for an additional 45 seconds or so, briefly allowing it to take some spots of color and to dry out any moist spots.
Transfer the crêpe onto a plate, browned side down, so that when they are filled and folded this nicer side will be visible.

6. Repeat for the rest of the batter, stacking the crêpes like pancakes to keep them warm and stirring the batter every so often as you go.

STORAGE
Crêpes should be served warm. To rewarm them for serving, fold the crepes and put them in a baking dish. Cover with foil and heat in a moderate oven until warmed through.
They will keep in the freezer for a couple of months. Once cool, wrap securely in plastic, then foil.
Crêpes can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days, well-wrapped.

Fill and Serve the Crepes:
1. Using one warmed crêpe at a time, place a heaping spoonful of strawberries in its center.
NOTE: You want the pretty side of the crêpe to be on the outside, so make sure and put the filling on the not-so-pretty side.

2. Fold the two sides of the crêpe towards the center.

3. Starting with the edge nearest you, roll the crepe over in thirds - kind of like a letter - towards the far end.

4. Center the filled crêpe on the plate. Make sure the seam side is down.

6. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

For each crêpe, I put a little of the chocolate sauce in a squeeze bottle, and drizzled a little on top, then finished it off with a little whipped cream and a perfect strawberry.


VARIATIONS
SAVORY CREPES by Sarah Phillips:
Savory crepes can be bland. I like to jazz mine up a bit. These are delicious when paired with savory fillings!

Flour: You can use a mix of stuff - 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose PLUS 1/4 cup ground flax seed or bran
I would omit the sugar, and instead, add in 1 to 2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup (or sugar). You need some sweetener for flavor and browning in savory crepes.
Omit the cognac or brandy or vanilla.

Add in 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled or even two teaspoons melted and cooled butter with one teaspoon melted and cooled bacon fat is delish! (Strain away the bits of bacon and browned bits)

And 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper (I like to use ground white pepper).

I also like to add in 1 to 2 teaspoons finely, finely minced fresh parsley leaves or fresh herbs, but it is optional!

Even 1 or 2 teaspoons orange peel is WONDERFUL added to a savory crepe batter, too, otherwise it becomes very bland!

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