Our trip to Paris this past spring inspired me to perfect my crepe making skills. These simple thin pancakes are just as likely to be sold in upscale restaurants and neighborhood cafes as they are from street vendors. They can be sweet or savory, plain or filled with meats, cheeses, jams, chocolate or fruit. I like to think of a crepe as a blank slate on which to build a masterpiece.
Making a proper crepe takes some practice and patience. Pour too much batter into the pan and you end up with a thick and gloppy mess. Too little and the edges are too crisp and they are too fragile to flip without breaking them. A heaping gravy ladle is usually the right amount of batter to fill a 6 inch crepe pan. I pour the batter into the center of the pan then using circular motions to distribute the batter evenly over the bottom of the pan. Work quickly though since the batter begins to set immediately. Use the pan itself to turn the crepes over using a flipping motion. A spatula or a pair of tongs are unnecessary and only cause the crepes to tear. Take some time to practice your technique and soon you will be flipping crepes like a pro.
This recipe makes a lot of crepes so feel free to cut it in half. The first one or two crepes of each batch are usually “throw away” ones for me as I adjust the heat and perfect my technique to plan accordingly.
BROWN SUGAR BANANA CREPES
For the crepes:
1 cup cold water
1 cup milk
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
- Place all of the ingredients in a blender and puree for 1 minutes. Alternatively, place all of the ingredients in a large deep bowl and use a stick blender to puree for 1 minute.
- Cover and allow to sit for at least two hours or overnight.
- When you are ready to cook the crepes, pre-heat a 6″ crepe pan over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes. When the pan is hot, lightly spray it with cooking spray.
- Lift the pan off of the direct heat. Using a small ladle (a gravy ladle is perfect) place a heaping spoonful of batter in the center of the pan and swirl to evenly coat the bottom of the pan.
- Return the pan to the stove and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the edges of the crepe begin to curl and small bubbles form on the top of the crepe.
- Lift the pan off of the heat again and give the pan a firm shake to release the crepe. If it sticks return the pan to the heat again for a few more seconds.
- Gently flip the crepe with the shake of your wrist. Return the pan to the heat and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
- Turn the pan upside down over a plate to remove the crepe and repeat the process until all of the batter has been used.
Yields 25-30 6 inch crepes (you will have plenty left over)
For the banana filling
2 ripe but firm bananas (the skin should have some brown spots but be mostly yellow)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Cut the bananas in thirds then slice lengthwise. You should get 9 banana slices out of each banana. Set aside.
- Melt the butter in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Once the butter has melted, add the bananas and saute for 2 minutes per side.
- In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Sprinkle over the top of the banana-butter mixture and gently stir to combine. Saute for an additional 1 minute.
- To assemble the crepes, place a crepe on a plate. Spoon 2-3 banana pieces onto the center of the crepe and fold in the top and bottom. Gently turn the crepe over so the seam is facing the plate. Repeat the process with each crepe.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve immediately.