birds are not welcome at breakfast

breakfast on mustique

I thought I would write about waffles long before I put up a post on crêpes.

Which is funny mostly because I’ve been making crêpes for a LOT longer. And because the biggest reason I’ve put off the crêpe post is that I didn’t have a photo – of crêpes – to go with it.

(I already have the waffle photos, and that post hasn’t gone up either, so I’m not sure how much stock you should put in my excuses. Clearly, this is not a photo of crêpes – not even under those stainless covers. It is a photo of a honeymoon breakfast on Mustique. Lovely.)

Two things happened very close together that sealed my crêpe-making future.

First, my mother gave me this book* for Christmas when I was a relatively new mother. The book is filled with recipe ideas for the holiday season, from cookie parties and carolling toddies to Christmas dinner and New Year’s day brunch.

*out of print

We’ve made many of the cookie recipes – more on that at the holidays, I think – as well as some of the savoury items. But the recipe we’ve made the most, the recipe on the pages that have been repeatedly stuck together and pulled apart, is for crêpes.

It’s a simple recipe, really, and hard to screw up.

Second, I acquired a properly vintage cast-iron crêpe pan. This is a flat pan with a slight lip at the edge, a heavy slug of iron, perfectly shaped (and seasoned) for making beautiful crêpes.

I’ve made hundreds – maybe thousands – of crêpes on it. We’ve enjoyed them for Sunday brunches with bananas and nutella, celebratory birthday breakfasts with peaches and whipped cream, stacked like a layer cake with a savoury mixture of dungeness crab, mushrooms, and cheese, folded over with ham and swiss and apple-chipotle mustard.

Crêpes are limited only by the imagination.

Pre-celiac, I made these with wheat flour. It took me a while to sort out the celiac-friendly version that was also taste- and texture-friendly. Once I started mixing my own gluten-free flour blend, I used that with great success.

My blend continues to evolve – I use a larger proportion of whole grains now, and I’ve added some more flours to it. Using both whole grain flours and starches makes a tender crêpe with enough body to hold together when you flip it – no small feat without gluten or gums.

You don’t have to mix your own flour out of a dozen or more ingredients for these to work – there are plenty of pre-mixed blends available to purchase. I would look for a blend that has some whole grains, or these will taste a bit like baked kleenex. Unless that’s what you’re going for, then have at it.

Six Burners Crêpes (adapted from TCLCB above)

This recipe is very forgiving with ingredient substitutions. GF? Change flours. DF? Sub a different milk and use coconut or hazelnut or walnut oil in batter and for the pan. Sometimes I forget the oil in the batter entirely. No problem. The recipe doubles beautifully. You’ll probably figure out something to do any extra crêpes.

90 grams flour
pinch salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk (or alternate)
2 tbsp butter (or alternate)

In bowl, whisk together flour and salt, make well in the centre.

Whisk together eggs, milk, and 1 tbsp butter. Slowly pour into the dry ingredients, whisking to draw in the flour until smooth. This can take a bit – be patient. You’re looking for about the consistency of whipping cream here: you can add more flour or milk if you think you need it, but keep in mind the batter will thicken as it sits.

Cover and refrigerate for one hour (or overnight – makes for easy-peasy morning).

Heat 8-inch crêpe pan over medium heat until a drop of water dances on it. Brush the surface with butter – I usually just rub a cold stick of butter on the hot pan.

Whisk batter again to blend – the flours will have settled at the bottom a bit. Holding pan in one hand, pour 2 tbsp of batter into centre of pan with other, then quickly tilt and roll the pan to spread the batter into a crêpe. Cook until the bottom is golden and top is no longer shiny. The amount of time this takes will vary as your pan continues to heat – you’ll have to experiment with your pan and watch carefully. Turn down heat as needed.

With a thin spatula, loosen crêpe and flip over. Cook a touch more, transfer to plate, and repeat with remaining batter, stacking the crêpes as you go. I have a well-seasoned pan and I repeat butter/oil in between each one.

Makes 12 crêpes – we usually have 3-4 each, depending on how rich the fillings are.

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