Crepes are fabulous papery thin French pancakes called as crepes which are usually made from wheat flour or buckwheat flour. The word crepe originates from French, deriving from the Latin word ‘crispa’ meaning ‘curled’. The making of this dish originated from Brittany, a region in the northwest of France and their consumption widespread in France. They are traditionally served with cider or with a variety of fillings, from the most simple with only sugar to flambéed crepes or elaborate savory fillings.
The culinary skill in making this is, getting them perfectly round, thin and well colored. Now a days crepes are generally made with light sauces and fillings to suit today’s healthy fare. Traditionally crepes were cooked on large cast iron hot plated heated over a fire wood in a fireplace. Now modern techniques have brought them cooking over gas or electric heaters.
In France, crepes were traditionally offered on Candlemas and Shrove Tuesday to celebrate renewal, family life, good fortune and happiness. It was also a customary to touch the handle of the frying pan and make a wish while the crepe is being turned, holding a coin the hand. In earlier days, farmers offered crepes to their landowners as symbol of allegiance; mainly from the French rural society. Crepes in France are generally made in two types: sweet crepes and savory galettes. Savory crepes are deliciously prepared with buck wheat flour which is gluten free which means people suffering from gluten allergy can happily enjoy eating the savory crepes. The fillings for the savory crepes are deliciously made with ham, spinach, cheese, asparagus, egg, artichokes, sausages, mushrooms and ratatouille. Vegetarian who do eat eggs can enjoy feast their crepes with just the inclusion of milk.
While on the other side, the sweet crepes are made with wheat flour. They can be eaten as a dessert or as breakfast dish. The common fillings in the sweet crepes include maple syrup, whipped cream, fruit spreads, fresh fruit pieces like bananas, strawberries or any other soft fruits, sugar or Nutella spread or freshly grated chocolate. A very popular sweet French crepe is cherries cooked in Kijafa wine sauce. This variety is popularly called as the Cherry Kijafa crepes.
Preparing the crepes is quite easy and they are made of very few ingredients. The common ingredients apart from the flour include eggs, milk, butter and some salt to taste. The ingredients are used to make a thin batter which is then poured over a hot frying pan with a trace of butter or oil on the pan’s surface. The batter is spread evenly over the cooking surface of the pan or plate either by tilting the pan or by distributing the batter with a spatula. A cooked crêpe is a very thin pancake.
For preparing these awesome crepes, select a 7 to 10 inch crepe pan or a nonstick pan or skillet. In a wide bowl or dish, add a couple of eggs (2 eggs) and whisk them well. Add a cup of flour, 1 ¼ cup of milk, 2 tbsp vegetable oil and ¼ tsp salt. Mix all the ingredients really well to avoid any lumps in it. The crepe batter should be thin and if you fell that it is too thick than add a little water and mix well. The crepe batter should have the consistency as thick as heavy cream. Cover and rest this batter in the refrigerator for at least an hour before cooking. This allows the flour to absorb the liquid and the foam to dissipate.
Heat the pan over medium to high heat and once it gets hot, coat the hot pan with little oil or butter. Pour in the batter using a ladle and tilt the pan in all directions so that the batter covers the surface of the pan. When the crepe gets almost dry on the top and turns golden brown on the edges, turn the crepe on the other side and cook. Cook the crepe on the other side for about 15 to 20 seconds or until lightly browned. Once cooked, remove the crepe onto a plat. Repeat the same process with the remaining batter and stack the crepes one onto the other until done.
Crepes are the ideal choice for any kitty party or informal gathering as they are easy and fun to serve and eat. They are delicious and fast to eat. You can place them with enticing and attractive filling (sweet or savory). These can be served as appetizers, first courses or entrees. Filled with seasonal fruits, sauces, soufflés or ice creams make them a sumptuous dessert. The best choice would be to arrange of the fillings well so that the guest can spoon on their own fillings. Wow! That would make it truly delectable and mouth watering.
In India, the dosa is very similar to the crepe made of rice batter and popularly known as dosa. This is often made with a variety of savory fillings (ex: Masala Dosa, Dall Masala Dosa etc). The dosa is generally eaten during breakfast or as snack. Do not miss and do surely try your choice of making an exotic crepe.