Honey, You Had Me at "Let's Make Crepes"

Barely into the beginning of our relationship – long before I had even discovered just how much I enjoyed cooking – LB and I went with about 20 other graduate students to Sun River, Oregon to partake in a yearly event: Free Ski Friday. On Free Ski Friday, Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort opens its doors and lets anyone ski on their magnificent slopes for an entire day – for the “cost” of brining 2 cans of food to the ticket counter. It’s a fund-raiser for Neighbor Impact, a coalition that raises money and food to feed the needy and less fortunate of Central Oregon. Being that graduate students often have a surplus of canned foods, and are always on the lookout for a bargain, everyone pitches in to get a rental house for the weekend, loads in cars and drives the four hours from Eugene to spend a rowdy three days drinking, eating, skiing, laughing and lauding until we’re all utterly and happily exhausted.

Usually, the cooking gets divided amongst the revelers and people pair up in groups to buy and feed the masses. Newly dating, LB and I ended up with breakfast the last day. In trying to decide what we wanted to make, we came across a worn copy of The Joy of Cooking in one of the cupboards of the rental house. For whatever reason, we settled on making crepes – something neither of us had made before. We drove to the one grocery store in Sun River, loaded up on fruit and Nutella, milk, butter and flour and set off to impress the rest of our cohorts.

Somehow, it worked. We did it without a crepe pan, with zero kitchen skills between the both of us, and with only the rental house's available kitchen tools. And they were fabulous. Ever since then, LB has been the crepe man of the house and we often make crepes for friends and house guests – filling them with homemade jams, seasonal fruit, chocolate wine sauces, and Nutella. A savory crepe or two has even occasionally graced the table (eggs studded with homemade sausage or thinly sliced steak with ginger shitake cream sauce), although the sweet fillings reign supreme in this house. The ingredients are almost always in the cupboard and the refrigerator, and the only garnish needed is a sprinkling of powdered sugar.

In Hawaii, there is no shortage of sweet, tropical fruits to fill crepes with and they don’t even need chocolate sauce to satisfy. There is also no shortage of beautiful weather with which to enjoy a long, leisurely Sunday breakfast of crepes on the lanai with either. The raspberries are not local, and were certainly a luxury at $4 a 1/4 pint (on big, huge sale - they are normally $6.99 or more), but they were a colorful, flavorful addition that helped round out the sweetness of the other fruit - as did the magical, organic starfruit from our CSA, whose gentle astringency was also a welcome addition - plus, how cool is it to have a fruit shaped like a star?! It's just purrty! Just don't stick it in the fridge or it will get mushy and turn brown around the edges - oops.

While we now use our own worn and dog-eared copy of The Joy of Cooking (one of the first gifts I got LB), we make our crepes with whole wheat pastry flour (and sometimes vegan butter) and LB has tailored the recipe to make crepes that are delightfully thin and just lightly crisp around the edges, every time we enjoy them the taste still brings me back to that first shared kitchen experience. Who could have known that nearly six years later we’d still be making crepes together? But then again, maybe I did...

Crepes a la L.B., makes approximately 7-8 crepes
adapted from a recipe by The Joy of Cooking

  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for coating the pan
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup of cold water*
Mix all the ingredients together in a blender and pulse until smooth (we've also just whisked them together and they turned out fine; plus, less dishes!). Pour into a bowl and cover with saran wrap - let it stand for 30 minutes in the fridge, or up to 2 days. Test the consistency of the crepes and add the cold water, a splash at a time, until it's a very loose batter (LB describes this as "add water until you think that the batter is so loose that it's about to 'break' and then add one splash more" - see note below).

Preheat oven to 200F or just barely on (for keeping crepes warm). Coat a nonstick saute pan or a crepe pan (about 9" across) with butter. Then pour a nearly full 1/4 cup of batter into the pan, circling your wrist and moving the pan about so that the batter completely coats the bottom of the pan in a single, even, thin layer (*note: you can play around with the consistency of the batter here - if your first crepes come out too thick, add a splash or two more of water until they spread easy and come out thin and just ever so slightly crisp around the edges). Cook until the top is set and the underside becomes golden. Turn the crepe over - fingers work best - and cook until lightly browned and cooked through. Place the crepe on an oven-proof plate or dish and put in an oven at 200F to keep warm. Repeat for the remainder of the batter. Fill with yummy fillings of your choice and top with a sprinkle of powdered sugar.

Some of our other favorite crepe fillings:
Merlot chocolate sauce and raspberries
Homemade strawberry jam and whipped cream
Sliced bananas and a light smearing of Nutella
Apple or pumpkin butter, with a bit of maple syrup
Apples stewed with cinnamon, topped with whipped cream
Lemon curd (or vanilla yogurt) and blackberries
Cherries cooked down with a little sugar, almond extract and lemon zest, then sprinkled with toasted sliced almonds

10 comments from you:

Ann said...

Okay, now I want some crepes, dammit! Yours look FABULOUS and I will be trying them just as soon as I can stand the weather (it's miserable here).

genkitummy said...

those crepes and fruit look beautiful!!!

Nerissa said...

Dang! Now I know I'm coming to your house! Those fillings sound delicious. Do you only make the sweet kind of crepes? In Brittany they make both sweet and savoury. The savoury I've had are often made with buckwheat flour. It creates a nice flavour in the savoury ones.

Michelle said...

Hi Ann,
Aw, thanks, I hope you do! And I hope the weather straightens up - it's summer, after all!

Hi Genki Tummy, Thanks for the compliment!

Hi Nerissa,
Done! I'll ready the room!! We normally make sweet crepes, but have occasionally made savory too - just decreasing the sugar in the recipe. But I love the idea of the buckwheat flour! We'll definitely have to try that next time! Thanks for the tip!

vlb5757 said...

Your crepes look great. I love that you have all that great fresh fruit! You look like you are well and thriving in Hawaii. I am so jealous! I am going to Tucson. How exciting is that?

Leah said...

The whole wheat pastry flour is a good idea for improving the nutrition of crepes. I love to make crepes for the masses and often end up making a triple-batch of that Joy of Cooking recipe. ;)

Michelle said...

Vickie! Hello dear! So good to see you! Thanks! We're doing well here - adjusting to the new life and lifestyle! You know there is always a room for you at our house! (Maybe after Tucson? Have a lovely trip!)

Leah, And it actually worked in this recipe! (sometimes not so much in other bread-type recipes) We love it too (and the Joy of Cooking!). Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Julie said...

Oh, I love crepes! And I love these glimpses of life in Hawaii. Star fruit in your CSA box? Sunday breakfast on the lanai? How heavenly!

Michelle said...

Me too! It really is a great place to live for a while!!

Sally Parrott Ashbrook said...

Cute story!

Chicken and mushrooms in a cream sauce with chives--that's one of my favorite crepe fillings.

Crepes are one of the top foods I miss. Gluten-free crepes are easy enough, but gluten-free, egg-free crepes are a bit of a different matter. There is a gluten-free, dairy-free crepes recipe that includes an egg sub in this month's Living Without, and I'm gung-ho to try it. But I'm terrible--terrible!)--at flipping things on the stovetop, so it will be an adventure when we try them. ;)