The flour is the binder. It gives the crepe toothsome ness. Too much and your crepe is heavy, too little and it's too delicate. How nimble you are clasping the crisp edge of the crepe, in order to flip it over, will most likely determine how much or little flour you want present.
The eggs are a two part affair.
The white is the strength, literally the protein. It is also the binder. The white gives the crepe bounce. So it looks happy and well conditioned, even on a humid day.
The yolk is the fat sack. It adds richness that emulsifies seamlessly with the protein of the egg white and milk. It adds flavor and toothsome ness at the same time.
The sugar softens the pancake a bit, and of course adds sweet flavor. It also attracts color; the way fat does, helping to create a lacy pattern we associate with crepes' pretty lacy pattern.
Salt enhances, backs up the yummy fat flavors from the butter and egg yolk, and balances. Without it your beautiful crepe will fall flat in someone's mouth like the wafers one swallows in Catholic churches.
And the butter, ahh lovely butter, adds smoothness, rich deliciousness, and a fat to help keep the crepe lift up from the pan when it's done. Very Important. Unlike the yolk, the liquid butterfat in the butter does not emulsify completely into the batter. This is so that it can keep the crepe from sticking. There's only so much butter the batter can take. Extra yolks, on the other hand, are what you would add if you wanted a heartier, richer crepe.
Crepes are fabulous for breakfast. But only if you really love the people you're making them for, or you love watching the sunrise. I had a crepe party once. With three pans going I spent five hours in the kitchen, watched my friends interact with each other, and ten minutes after sitting down to let everyone begin eating, the crepe plate was empty.
But crepes are also a great vehicle for fillings. Feeling productive? Make a lovely sweet or savory filling, plop it in the middle of your finished crepe, bring up the ends and tie your "purse" with a strand of chive or ribbon, and there you have a precious little food for a party or your own amusement.
Want something more complicated to keep you occupied on a rainy Sunday? Make ganache, when it has thickened, dollop onto crepe in straight line, but leave a little bit of a border, as if you were making ravioli. Roll crepe around ganache, leaving it to lie on its seam. Freeze absolutely solid. Deftly cut into "coins" with a sharp, non-serrated knife. When ready for dessert, scoop little balls of ice cream on top of coins. Voila! Something impressive for the person who's eaten everything.
After all the work a crepe takes, I prefer to eat them, as is, with simple toppings. In cooler weather I'll substitute a portion of the all purpose flour with chestnut or buckwheat flour. Inside these warm flavored crepes I'll spoon on brown sugar sauteed bananas, buttered pears or apples tossed in caramel. In summer I love simply cut strawberries tossed in sugar and whipped cream. And for you salty folks, there are always mushrooms, cheese, eggs, ratatouille and anything meaty.
Whatever your preference: diffident or toilsome, this crepe recipe should surely be kept in the recipe standards file.
1 1/4 CUPS WHOLE MILK
3 EACH LARGE EGGS, room temperature
3/4 CUP ALL PURPOSE FLOUR
3 ounces MELTED UNSALTED BUTTER,
+ more for the making of the crepes
1/2 teaspoon KOSHER SALT
3 TABLESPOONS SUGAR
1 TABLESPOON VANILLA EXTRACT
1. Combine all ingredients except flour and melted butter in a blender.
2. Sift flour.
3. Turn blender on low speed. Uncap lid and, while blender is going, add flour a little at a time.
4. When all flour is added, add butter and turn blender up in speed for 1-3 minutes.
Pour into measuring cup, or pouring vessel. Do not wash blender just yet...
You may use a nonstick pan for crepes, but you may also use any pan. Because my cast iron skillet is in great shape, I can use this. I also like my big, flat saute pan.
Heat pan slightly. "Paint" a small amount of melted butter in pan with paper towel or pastry brush.
Ladle or pour in a small amount of batter to your pan that you are holding up at one end and swirling the batter around in as soon as you have stopped pouring. Swirl until the batter has stopped moving.
When the edges have begun to brown, pull, with both sets of nimble fingers, an edge towards you.
The first crepe is the test, so no need to make it perfectly round or completely even.
Taste this crepe.
Do you want it to be sweeter? Add more sugar. More toothsome? Add a touch of flour or another egg yolk. Thinner? A splash more milk or melted butter may do the trick.
Create the crepe you want to eat.
If your pan is not well seasoned, you should be brushing a little butter in before each crepe. The more or less butter you put in will define how crisp and lacy your end result will be.
If your fingertips are sensitive, buy a "baby offset spatula." When working, I keep one in my back pocket at all times. Use the spatula to gently bring the crispy edge of the half done crepe towards you. You'll still need to flip the crepe by hand, but this wonderful little tool means you don't have to put your fingers in the pan itself!