These days, my refrigerator shelves are overloaded with jars and small bowls of ingredients waiting for someone to eat them: extra-ripe raspberries, pulled chicken breast, roasted tomatoes, wild blueberry fruit sauce, and grilled summer veggies. All delicious when first served up, but what to do with them now?
The French word for pancakes, crepes are just that, only paper-thin. Some crepes are sweet, and filled with sweetened creams and fruits. Or crepes can be savory, filled with ham and cheese, or creamed chicken and mushrooms. Here in Maine, we often regard crepes as a restaurant-style dish.
My theory is that frugal French matrons created crepes. Just like an omelet, or a sandwich, the crepe is the perfect delivery system. It can hold most anything, and its contents create a meal.
Once you’ve mastered the art of crepes, those leftovers too good to compost become a quick and easy repast. Crepes filled with chopped grilled vegetables and tomato sauce, topped with grated cheese, and heated are a hearty supper. Lobster salad flavored with fresh herbs and rolled inside crepes is uniquely delicious for lunch.
For dessert, I like to combine whipped cream with perfectly ripe raspberries or wild blueberries and fill my crepes. Sweetened cream cheese or goat cheese with jam rolled inside is a quick snack.
Making crepes is a fun family activity, no special equipment needed. Although crepe pans are nice, a good, well-seasoned skillet works. The key is to use a pan without hot spots, where the heat on the surface is evenly distributed. The size of the pan varies the size of the crepe. Traditional pans are usually 6 inch or 8 inches in diameter. The larger the diameter of the pancake, the more filling needed. I like smaller crepes for desserts, larger ones for casserole style dishes.
Crepe batter will keep in a jar in the refrigerator for several days. Bring it room temperature and stir well before using. Because crepes dry out quickly, use them right up or stack the thin cakes between waxed paper and wrap tightly. A stack of crepes in the refrigerator or freezer is like money in the bank.
BASIC SWEET CREPES
- 1½ cups milk
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg (scant)
To make the crepe mixture::
- Gather your ingredients and tools.
- In the bowl of your blender (or mixing bowl), mix together the milk and eggs until well blended.
- Add the vanilla and grated nutmeg.
- Gradually blend in the flour until the mixture is smooth. Let rest for 20 minutes.
To prepare the crepes:
- Lightly spray a crepe pan or nonstick fry pan (8 inches in diameter). Add about ¼ cup of batter.
- Swirl to completely cover the bottom of the pan. Cook until the edges start to brown and curl up.
- Using a spatula (or cast iron finger tips), gently remove the crepe and turn it over, cooking until lightly browned.
- Remove from pan, and continue cooking the rest of the crepes. Be sure to grease the pan before making each crepe.
WILD BLUEBERRY CREPES
- 12 6-inch crepe shells (Try My Basic Sweet Crepes Recipe)
Wild Blueberry Filling:
- 1 cup Wild Blueberry Fruit Sauce
- 2 cups frozen or fresh wild blueberries
Maple Syrup Whipped Topping:
- 3 tablespoons Maine maple syrup
- 1 cup whipping cream
To prepare the filling/topping:
- Combine the wild blueberry fruit sauce and wild blueberries in a saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat until bubbly and the berries are soft. Set aside.
- Beat the whipping cream until soft peaks form. Beat in the maple syrup. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
To Assemble with Filling/Topping::
- Spread about ¼ cup of wild blueberry filling on ½ the crepe.
- Roll and transfer to a plate.
- Spoon the maple whipped cream over the top.