We were perusing a book the other day — we won’t name it, because we’re going to say something unflattering about it — and came across a recipe for crêpes. More than a recipe, actually; this author explained the ratio of ingredients in crêpes. Now, you might be saying, “so, what’s the big deal?” Well, by knowing the ratio of ingredients, you can whip up any amount of crêpes, pretty much anywhere; there’s nothing else you need to know.
We tried them, filling the crêpes with raspberries. And they were awful. Rubbery. Too much egg, resulting in something that resembled a thin, lightly floured omelet. Just awful. By the way, you can find that particular ratio being touted on the Internet, but we’re here to tell you, DO NOT USE IT! We’ll show you the proper ratio below.
So, with the experience of the bad crêpes, we headed off to The Joy of Cooking, by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer-Becker, for a recipe. Being overly cautious, we also checked some recipes on the Internet, notably one by Thomas Keller, and those two pretty much agreed (they were significantly different from that other one mentioned above), so we combined the two, adjusting slightly so we could learn the true ratio for the ingredients.
Note the weights for the main ingredients: 110 grams of egg, 110 grams of flour, and 275 g of liquid, or 1 part egg, 1 part flour, and 2.5 parts liquid, by weight. So, when you want crêpes, crack open some eggs, weigh them, add the same amount of flour by weight, and 2.5 times as much liquid by weight. A pinch of salt and some baking powder. Done. See the power of ratios now? Make sure to use this ratio, as it’s correct.
Procedure in detail:
Sift. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder. It’s easiest to do this by weight, where you can put the sifter into the bowl, put it all on the scale, tare the scale, and scoop in flour. Once you’ve sifted, set aside.
Whisk. In a small bowl (we use a measuring cup for easy pouring), whisk the eggs until uniform, then whisk in the milk and melted butter. The butter will help to keep the crêpes from sticking while you make them.
Combine. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the milk-egg mixture. Give it a few quick strokes to combine, but don’t worry too much about the lumps. Mixing too long will develop the gluten, leading to rubbery crêpes. Besides, all but the largest lumps will go away when you cook the crêpes.
Rest. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. When you’re ready to make crêpes, give the batter a stir to recombine the ingredients, as the batter will have separated a bit.
Cook. Heat a 5-inch skillet over medium heat. When hot, smear a bit of canola oil in the pan with a paper towel and pour in a scant 1/4 cup of batter. Swirl the pan to coat the bottom with batter, and cook until the crêpe is mostly dry on the surface, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook another minute. Oh, it’s quite likely that your first and possibly second crêpe will be a disaster. Toss them and try again.
Serve. We placed these on plates as we made them, filled them with some pan-roasted corn and okra, rolled them up, and poured some wild mushroom gravy over the top. Use your imagination to come up with a filling for these wraps.
Now, these are crêpes. Light. Not tough. Not eggy. Basically a thin pancake that you can use as a wrap. If you want to use these crêpes for a dessert, add 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla while mixing and spread preserves on them before rolling and dusting with powdered sugar. Or fill them with a bit of fruit. Rolling in a crêpe is an easy, but elegant-looking, way to present food, so we’ll definitely be making these again. With the right recipe, crêpes are worth four stars.