My oldest daughter, Edie, and I took a trip to our local farmers’ market this weekend; we bought beautiful stalks of rhubarb, a bunch of fresh asparagus and a recycled linen bag full of ruby red strawberries. Edie was convinced that we should bake a strawberry cake, the entire ride home she sang, “Strawberry cake! Cake cake cake … straaaaaaaaaawberry cake!” Most days I would be happy to oblige but I had crêpes on the brain and had made a social media promise to post my very favourite brown butter crêpe recipe — the perfect rich, buttery canvas for the spring harvest. After much deliberation with this headstrong five year old, I sold her on this glorious compromise:
Crêpe suzettes (sweetened crêpes) were my childhood specialty. I took such pride in showing off my 9-year-old skills with this French dish to anyone who visited my childhood home. I have no idea if the adult praise I remember was sincere or not, but really don’t care. That rush I got when someone seemed impressed by my prepared food has clearly stuck with me.
Since I’ve been preparing crêpes for 20 some years now, I can honestly say that this is THE BEST crêpe recipe I’ve ever made. By browning the butter you add this great rich, nutty flavour to the thin pancake. These crêpes make the perfect canvas for both sweet and savoury ingredients, ideal for breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack. Try them! I’m sure you too will be using the term “crêpe-tastic” by the end of the season.
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 3/4 cups whole milk
- 4 large farm-fresh eggs
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- In a 1- to 2-quart saucepan, cook the butter over medium heat, swirling it every few seconds, until melted and the milk solids at the bottom of the pan turn golden-brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Immediately pour the brown butter into a small bowl and let cool almost to room temperature.
- Combine the milk, eggs, and salt in a bowl and whisk together. Blend until combined. Add the flour and blend until very smooth, about 40 seconds. Add the brown butter and blend for another 20 seconds. Make sure to whisk out any lumps.
- Pour the batter into a large bowl and let rest for at least 5 minutes and up to 24 hours. (If resting for more than 30 minutes, cover and refrigerate.)
- When ready to cook the crêpes, check the batter; it should be as thick as heavy cream, not as thick as pancake batter. If it feels too thick, whisk in up to 1/2 cup more milk.
- Heat a crêpe pan with an 8-inch base or a 10-inch nonstick skillet with an 8-inch base over medium-high heat until it’s hot enough for a drop of water to sizzle. Using a folded paper towel, grease the pan with about 1/4 tsp. butter. The butter should sizzle upon contact but not instantly turn brown. If it does, reduce the heat as necessary.
- Using a ladle or measuring cup, pour 1/4 cup of the batter into the center of the pan while simultaneously lifting the pan from the heat and tilting and turning it in all directions so the batter spreads evenly across the bottom in a thin circle. If the crêpe has any holes in it, quickly add a few drops of batter to fill them in.
- Cook until the edges begin to dry and lift from the sides of the pan and the bottom is nicely browned (lift up an edge with a small silicone spatula or your fingers to check), about 1 minute. Use the spatula or your fingers to flip the crêpe over. Cook until the second side is browned, about 20 seconds more.
- Slide the crêpe from the pan onto a large plate or cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining batter, adjusting the heat and spreading more butter in the pan every two or three crêpes, or whenever the pan begins to look a bit dry. You can stack the crêpes on the plate as they’re done; they won’t stick. The crêpes will soften as they cool.
- As with pancakes, the first crêpe you make is usually a flop, so count on sacrificing it as you experiment with the heat of the burner and the amount of butter in the pan.
Make Ahead Tips
You can keep crêpes in the refrigerator for up to 3 days by wrapping the stack in plastic, then putting it in a zip-top freezer bag. Bring to room temperature (or reheat) before using.
To freeze crêpes for up to 3 months, lay pieces of waxed paper or parchment between every few so that it’s easy to pry off as many as you need. Wrap the stack in plastic, then slide it into a large zip-top freezer bag. Thaw wrapped frozen crêpes at room temperature until pliable, about an hour.
Spring is the perfect season to fully embrace a crêpe addiction. Now that you know how to make the greatest crêpe canvas (fresh or ahead or time), it’s time to go crêpe-crazy! Appreciate that the canvas is a bit delicate so start small and thin and layer your favourite veggies, fruit, preserves, cheeses, and so on. Enjoy! xoAdd to favorites