What Are Crêpes? And a Recipe for Savory Crêpes

June 18, 2020  |  By Peg Kern
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Eating crepes in Paris on a Paris culinary tour.What is a crêpe? Many cultures have a form of pancake, and the French are no exception. crêpes are a thin, unleavened, and can be served in a multitude of ways! They originally hail from the Brittany region of France, where they are made of Buckwheat flour. The recipe below, like many others, uses wheat flour, but if you are gluten free, using a buckwheat flour is a great alternative.

Learn more about cooking in Brittany.

Legend has it that the first crêpe was made my mistake – a housewife accidentally dropped a bit of buckwheat porridge on a hot pan and, as the French say, voilà! Whether it is true or not, crêpes are an undeniable part of French culture. My children have fond memories of eating crêpes from a street vendor on the side of the Seine to fortify ourselves before tackling the Louvre.

Delicious crepes made during our Paris cooking classes.Crêpes are also associated with the holiday of Candlemas, or “La Chandeleur.” Originally a religious festival in honor of the Virgin Mary, this February 2 is now known as “Le Jour des Crêpes.”

Check out our recipe for Tuscan-style chestnut flour crêpes, called “necci.”

Once you master the basics of making crêpes you can fill them with virtually anything – or even nothing! One of our favorite ways to eat them is with a simple sprinkling of sugar and a dash of cinnamon and folded up. Here, however, we are featuring savory crêpes, which we usually fill with some combination of ham, mushrooms, onion, and gruyere cheese, but you can also use cooked chicken, roasted vegetables, smoked salmon, crab, sun dried tomatoes, fried or scrambled egg – or almost anything else you can think of!

See our recipe for dessert crêpes.

Enjoying savory crepes with mushrooms, spinach, and cheese during a French cooking vacation with The International Kitchen.Savory crêpes

Serves 4 (8-10 crèpes)
Prep time: 50 minutes
Cook time: 30-40 minutes (total)
Cook method: Pan fry

Ingredients for the crêpes:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp melted butter
  • Butter for preparing the pan

Sauteing mushrooms in a skillet.Ingredients for the filling:

  • Onion, diced
  • Ham, diced
  • Mushrooms, sliced
  • Asparagus, blanched
  • Spinach, sautéed, chopped, the water wrung out
  • Cheese of your choice, shredded (you can also use a creamy cheese, such as goat cheese, cream cheese, or fresh ricotta)

Optional:

  • A sauce such as a Hollandaise or a Bechamel.

A plate of French crepes made during a cooking class with The International Kitchen.Browse all our cooking vacations in France.

Instructions:

  1. Put the eggs, milk, salt, flour, and sugar in a blender and blend for about 30-40 seconds. Next, blend in the melted butter.
  2. Strain the mixture and set aside for at least 45 minutes.
  3. When the mixture is resting, prepare the filling or fillings. Sauté the onion and/or mushrooms, cut the ham, blanch the asparagus, sauté the spinach, etc.
  4. Heat a good, seasoned cast iron skillet over medium heat. (You can also use a special crêpe pan if you have one, or a non-stick skillet). Make sure that it is heated but not too hot. Rub butter all over the surface of the skillet. As soon as the foam subsides, pour a small amount (1/4 to 1/3 cup) of batter into the center of the pan, then quickly tilt the pan around to spread and thin the batter.
  5. Closeup of a freshly made French crepe during a cooking class with The International Kitchen.Wait 1-2 minutes, then use a knife to gently loosen the crêpe. With a thin spatula, quickly turn the crêpe. They should be golden with some golden brown spots. Don’t worry if they’re not a perfect circle.
  6. While the second side cooks (which only takes about a minute) quickly add the filling. Fold up or roll the crêpe, as you prefer, and then place in a baking dish in a 200 F oven to stay warm. Repeat for each crêpe, making sure to butter the skillet between each crêpe.

Bon appetit!

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