Bringing French Cuisine Home
Growing up in a French household, nothing brings a flood of memories back like my mom’s made from scratch French crepes. It was always a special occasion when mom made crepes, not that it was a holiday, just a day worth celebrating when she prepared one of our favorite dishes for the family. It would only happen a few times a year; raising four kids and managing a household had her pretty drained by weekends.
Crepes were served traditionally as a Sunday brunch, though the French would not call it brunch. Each crepe was delivered hot and fresh from the pan. It was a tradition she continued for her grandchildren. Our toppings were simple; homemade fruit preserves, powdered sugar, Hershey’s chocolate syrup, fresh strawberries from the garden, and whip cream if we were lucky.
Over the years, her crepes became like the pied piper, bringing neighbor kids to our table to partake in her delicious crepes. Mom was a gourmet cook, bringing many wonderful recipes from her homeland. We were blessed to have many of her recipes in writing after she passed. I realized we did not have her crepe recipe; she made it from memory from her childhood and had never written it down. It wasn’t until recent years that we learned one of those sweet neighbor’s kids had asked her for her French crepe recipe, and he had kept it safe all these years. He recently had it beautifully laser engraved into a cutting board for my sister and me. Due to him, we have our family crepe recipe to pass down to the next generations.
Uses and tips
Crepes, when the kids were involved, was for a Sunday brunch. For her more formal dinner parties, Mom would make delicious seafood crepes that were a guest favorite. Crepes are versatile that way. It takes a little tweaking to make the proper crepe for the situation.
Crepe batter can be made the night before or just before serving. We prefer to let it sit for a few hours before making the crepes.
The key, I believe, is the pans. Well-used and seasoned pans from France are ideal (the pans can be found online at stores like Williams and Sonoma). Omelet pans work as well. I have the pans my mom used all those years ago, and it brings her right into the kitchen with me every time I use them.
One of the greatest joys of traveling is the country’s cuisine we get to experience. When I think of France and my parent’s homeland crepes, it is one of my most cherished memories. May this French crepe recipe bring France into your kitchen, bring those you love to your table, and inspire travel to the magnificent country of France.
Traditional French Crepes
- 3 Crepe pans
- 2 cups Flour
- 1.5 tsp Salt
- 3 tbsp Sugar
- 1 tbsp Baking powder
- 4 eggs 2 whole and 2 seperated
- 2 tbsp Melted Butter
- 2 cups Milk
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla This can be increased based on preference
- 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- In a large bowl put flour, salt, sugar and baking powder and mix together. Sifting is optional.
- In a seperate bowl put two whole eggs, two egg yolks, vanilla, and one cup of milk and mix well.
- Add the liquid to the dry mix and stir till is forms a thick dough.
- Place the thick dough into a food processor or a blender.
- Set on high as you add the rest of the milk, butter and oil until it has your desired consistency. I prefer thicker crepes, so my batter is slightly thick.
- Place crepe batter into an easy pour container. Idealy refridgeate for at least an hour but not required.
- Heat the crepe pans, regular omelet pans can work but not ideal, with a small amount of vegetable oil. When heated pour out the vegetable oil in a bowl. You will repeat this every several crepes. How often will depend how seasoned your pans are.
- Pour the desired amound of crepe batter into the pan. (I prefer my crepes a bit thicker). Immediately lift the pan and swirl the batter around until it covers the base of the crepe pan.
- Watch closely the lower base of the crepe by lifting with a wooden spatula or fork. Once cooked to your preference, flip. Cook for about the same amount of time as the first side.
- Serve immediately
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