Thursday, June 19, 2014

A French Creperie in Your Own Home


Everybody knows you can get a good crepe in France...and in Belgium...and in Quebec...  Even the Chicago area has its share of good creperies.  But, did you know that it’s quite simple to make crepes in your own home—at the last minute, without any mixing of batter or fumbling for a crepe pan?

Let me backtrack.  If you look at the picture at the top of this post, you see one of the most delightfully cheap meals Will and I enjoyed in Montpellier.  Would you believe Will’s lunch of a bowl of old-fashioned cidre, the special salad of the day (a minty tabbouleh), special crepe of the day (a delicious savory mix of thin ham slices, beautifully melted Reblochon cheese, and thin potato slices flavored with rosemary), and a dessert crepe of choice (Will selected the salted caramel crepe) together came to 13.50 Euros?  That is roughly $18.50 in US currency for a meal that included alcohol.  Moreover, this being France, tax and gratuity were INCLUDED in that price already.

I’m not sure that we can top the quality (and quantity!) of that amazing meal in a touristy city in the US for anything close to $18.50 (including tax and tip).  And all run by the friendliest group of people you could imagine!  But, of course, we don’t have access to that creperie back home.  So, we must make do with our own efforts here.

Dessert crepe options are easily achieved, so let’s start with those.  If you go to a reasonably well-stocked grocery store (try to go to ones with an international clientele), you should be able to find frozen pre-made crepes.  They tend to be very thin and delicate, so you need to be careful when handling them. 

1) Let the frozen crepes come to room temperature, and then gently slide a thin spatula underneath one to separate it from the rest of the crepes.  Repeat with as many as you need before putting the rest in the freezer, well sealed.

2) Decide on your filling, making sure that you already have some whipped cream ready to go (or ice cream, or sweetened mascarpone, or whatever you desire as your cream topping component).

3) In your largest, shallowest non-stick pan, melt ½ teaspoon of butter over medium heat.  Then take your spatula and spread the melted butter all around so that the entire bottom surface of the pan is buttered.  Then place your pre-cooked crepe in the pan and slide around for 1-2 minutes to warm. 


4) Carefully fold one-half of the crepe over the other half and then turn off the heat.  Now is when the filling goes in if you have a filling of choice (chocolate, caramel, or my nostalgic favorite the French cream of chestnut).  Spread a bit of the filling on half of the semi-circle you now have.  Then place the crepe on a plate and fold again at a slight angle so that you can see a bit of the filling (look at the picture above).  

5) Then garnish with your whipped cream, a drizzle of caramel or chocolate sauce (depending on your crepe—and your preferences), and a sprinkling of chopped toasted nuts if you’d like.

Will is not a big fan of chestnut and leans towards fresh berries, so I made him a blueberry one instead.  Contentment all around! 





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