When you want to bake like a French, the first rule to observe is : use good products ! So say good bye to baking mix and other processed food. Use whole milk instead of skim milk, fresh eggs and not powdered ones, and use a good flour, all-purpose, or pastry flour. Using good products means having a good result, so why don’t start at the beginning?
It is hard to avoid lumps in a crepes batter. Though, solutions do exist. The first one is to sift your flour, even if you think that is not essential. Then, pouring milk at the same time as you are briskly mixing will help you avoid those ugly little lumps. Finally, you can choose to mix all the ingredients at the same time. If it didn’t work, don’t worry, a quick trip to the blender, and your batter will be as smooth as silk.
Usually, Frenchmen add ham and cheese for main dish crepes, and sugar or jam to get a delicious sweet snack. But you can also make them in a million ways :
Salty : add avocado, tomato slices, goat cheese, cucumbers, mushrooms, eggs, etc…
Sweet : you can add orange or lemon peel to the batter, or orange blossom water, some vanilla extract or cinnamon. Once cooked, you can complete your crepes with banana and chocolate, fresh fruits, or anything you like.
A lot of French people have a tendency to replace half the milk by...beer! It makes the batter lighter and fluffier. You can also replace it with cider, and get thinner crepes.
If you think your batter is too thick, don’t add milk or you will make it stickier. Au contraire, pour some water (or beer) to keep the batter fluid. To make sure your crepes preparation is perfect, dip a spoon in it, then draw a line on it with your finger. You should see a clear mark.
Because it has been under a lot of stress, you should really allow your batter to rest. From 30 minutes to 1 hour at room temperature, this step will help the gluten to relax, and makes sure your crepes will have a better shape after cooking. This will also help to get moist crepes.
If you are in a hurry, use warm to hot milk while preparing the batter.
Pouring the batter in a hot pan with a ladle is the traditional way. But if you get sick of all the batter drops all around your stove, just use this little trick : use a funnel to pour the preparation in a empty plastic bottle. Then you can safely pour it in a pan without soiling your kitchen.
First of all, the best way to cook crepes is to use a non-stick pan. Then, oil a paper towel and rub it on the pan. Make sure it is really hot before making the first one. In French Britanny (the mother region of crepes), it is said that the first crepes is always ruined, so don’t worry about it. When the pan is hot enough, pour a ladle of batter in it and spread it while making circles with the pan. Turn it over when the edges detach themselves from the pan.
There is nothing better than to eat a warm crepe. To avoid having to heat them one by one, put them on a plate laid on a pot filled with boiling water. Put a lid on it, and leave for a few minutes. There you are, your crepes are ready to be eaten hot !