The answers are no and yes.
I've gone years not using crepes in recipes calling for them because they aren't an item that's readily available and I always thought they were too hard (and time consuming) to make. I thought crepes were something only professionally trained chefs could make and the average home cook would just have to substitute flour tortillas for real crepes in their recipes. I watched Chef John's video (below) and resigned myself to the fact that I would probably throw out a few crepes as I got the hang of making them. I contemplated buying a non-stick pan, (I cook with professional cookware - the BEST purchase I've ever made - and it's not coated with a non-stick surface) but decided to use my small saute pan instead. I could always purchase a non-stick pan, if need be, right? Against the advice of Chef John, I mixed my crepe batter in a blender because I don't mind cleaning the blender. I followed his instructions and started making crepes.
I'm very proud to report, I didn't ruin a single crepe! Not one. And not a single one got stuck to my non-non-stick pan. My trick? I lightly sprayed my small saute pan with non-stick spray before heating the pan over medium-high heat and then, following Chef John's instructions, coated it with butter before adding the batter. I did not coat the pan with butter with each crepe, but only a couple of times after the first crepe. You'll also want to make sure you watch the temperature. It's a lot like making pancakes - too hot and you'll burn them, too cold and they won't cook properly. The crepes should be very thin. My pan was smaller than Chef John's, so I used about 2-3 tablespoons of batter per crepe which made 14 - 6" crepes. I was nervous in the beginning, but gained confidence after making the first two when I realized crepes are delicate, but easily handled. And NOT hard to make!
I made my crepes a day ahead and wrapped them in plastic wrap before storing them in the refrigerator. I did not put anything in-between the crepes (like waxed or parchment paper). The crepes did not stick together. Another wonderful thing about crepes is they can be frozen: place waxed or parchment paper between the crepes, cover and wrap the crepes with plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn and store in your freezer for up to two months.
All in all, I spent less than 30 minutes mixing and making the crepes (not counting the one hour rest time). Well worth it.
Below, in addition to a great video from Chef John of Food Wishes, you'll find recipes for basic crepes, a savory crepe dish and a sweet dessert.
Crepes Cordon Bleu
1 cup milk
1 garlic clove, peeled & slightly smashed
4 tbsp. butter, softened
4 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
1 tsp. dried thyme
salt & pepper
1/2 cup Swiss cheese, shredded & divided
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1 cup cooked ham, diced
8 basic crepes (see recipe below)
2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped (may substitute 2 tsp. dried parsley)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8" x 8" baking dish and set aside.
In a small saucepan, simmer the milk and garlic clove for 20 minutes. In a larger saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat; add the flour and stir well to combine. Cook for about 30 seconds and add the chicken stock. Whisk continually until the stock thickens. Remove the garlic clove from the milk and add the milk to the thickened chicken stock along with the thyme. Lower the heat slightly and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes until the cream sauce is thickened and bubbly. Taste the cream sauce and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Add 1/4 cup of the Swiss cheese to the cream sauce and stir until the cheese is melted. Remove from heat. Reserve 3/4 cup of the sauce and set aside. Add the chicken and ham to the cream sauce and mix well.
To assemble the crepes, I about 2 tablespoons of the filling in down the center of each crepe, leaving a little room at the sides for folding. You can adjust the amount of filling for each crepe, depending on the size of your crepes. Fold the crepe envelope or burrito-style: fold in the sides of each crepe and then fold up the bottom and roll. Arrange the filled crepes in your baking dish. Spoon the reserved sauce over the crepes and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of Swiss cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.
1 tbsp. butter
I can't think of anyone better than Chef John of Food Wishes to explain how to make crepes. Just turn up the volume on your computer and enjoy his instructions in the video below. I used a slightly different recipe than he did. You can use his recipe, if you like.
Many of us associate crepes with dessert and there are countless recipes for dessert crepes. Here's a quick, easy recipe that's sure to please. These Apple Dessert Crepes can be served with fresh whipped cream and are especially delicious with ice cream!
Easy Apple Dessert Crepes
6 basic crepes
2 medium-sized apples, diced (I used Granny Smith)
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. water
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 tbsp. butter, melted
cinnamon-sugar: 2 tbsp. sugar mixed with 2 tsp. cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Grease a casserole or baking dish and set aside.
Combine the apples, sugar, 1 tbsp. water and lemon juice in a sauce pan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until the apple is tender. Combine the cornstarch with 2 tsp. cold water and mix well. Add to the apple mixture. Cook and stir until the mixture is thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat.
Sprinkle the brown sugar over the bottom of the baking dish. Fill the crepes with approximately 2 tbsp. of the apple filling per crepe. I used the envelope or burrito method for folding the crepes (see Crepes Cordon Bleu above). Arrange the crepes in the baking dish (on top of the brown sugar). Brush the top of each crepe with the melted butter and pour any remaining butter into the baking dish, around the crepes. Sprinkle the tops of the crepes generously with cinnamon-sugar. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving. You can spoon the caramel from the baking dish over the crepes or sprinkle with more cinnamon-sugar before serving.
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