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Sweet or Savory Applications

Just the word crepes seems to invoke something special. Unfortunately, it also seems to invoke the feeling that this is something too difficult to attempt. In reality, the only thing really necessary to making crepes is a good nonstick skillet with about a crepe 0 inch base. The ingredients are extremely basic with eggs, flour and milk. They can get fancier with the addition of things like vanilla or lemon zest for crepes used in a sweet application. Pureed fresh corn can be added to the batter, making something special for a savory application.

Basic Crepes

1/2 cup all purpose flour

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

Pinch of salt

Butter for cooking

Combine first 4 ingredients in a blender and whirl briefly to combine. The crepe batter can also easily be whisked together by hand. Allow the batter to rest at least 30 minutes before making the crepes.

If you intend to use the crepes for a sweet application, you may add in 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar and a half teaspoon of vanilla or other flavor when the ingredients go into the blender, though this is not a necessity.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium or medium high heat. Add in a small knob of unsalted butter to the pan and as soon as it melts, add in 1/4 cup of the batter. Lift and swirl the pan around and around so the thin batter completely covers the surface. Set back on heat and let cook for about 1 minute. You will see the edges begin to lift away from the pan. With a spatula, lift the edge to check that the crepe is very lightly browned. Flip the crepe over and allow to cook for a few seconds longer. Remove to a plate. Repeat with the rest of the batter. This should make about 8 crepes. Count 2 crepes per serving.

Some ideas for making a meal with crepes are shredding chicken and rolling into the crepes with a little shredded cheese. They can be set into a casserole and covered with a gravy or cream sauce and baked to heat through. Creamed spinach can be rolled into the crepes for lovely presentation. Another way to present the crepes is to layer them. Place one crepe onto a plate. Layer on a filling of choice, either savory or sweet. Place another crepe on top, then another layer of filling, continuing until the last crepe is the top layer. This can be sliced like a cake, and served in wedges.

An easy filling idea for use as an appetizer course is to place a dollop of mascarpone cheese in the center of the crepe and sprinkle on some scallions and capers. Fold the crepe in half, then in half again and serve 2 per person. A beautiful dessert application using the stacking method is using a lemon or orange curd. Use whipped cream in between some of the layers, or just serve whipped cream on the side. Garnish with mint sprigs for a lovely presentation. Another idea for dessert is to sweeten some ricotta cheese and place a dollop into a crepe and spoon on some fresh fruit. Either roll the crepes or fold in fourths for serving. You might use canned pie filling over the top and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Use them for a special breakfast for the children with a little jam spread inside.

One more way to serve these crepes as a dessert is one that I had while strolling along the Seine River in Paris many years ago. Find some sweetened chestnut paste and spread into the crepe. Roll or fold the crepe in fourths and serve. To make this into a spectacular and beautiful presentation as a dessert for guests, sprinkle on some powdered sugar and drizzle some chocolate over top. No matter how you choose to fill and use them, do try making them to see how simple it is. Use your imagination and whatever you have on hand to fill and try them.

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