Crepe Maker

Neither my schedule nor budget has room for a trip to France anytime soon. So if I want to enjoy my favorite Parisian street food–Nutella crepes–I’ll have to join the (very) long line at the crepe stand at the Sunday farmers’ market or make them myself.

Happily, it’s incredibly easy to make crepes crepes at home. If I can do it, you can, too.

I wanted to experiment with using whole wheat pastry flour instead of all-purpose flour in the batter. As I’ve noted before, whole wheat pastry flour is a fantastic find. It has all the fiber and nutrients of regular whole wheat flour, but because it’s made from soft white wheat, it has less protein (and therefore less gluten development) than regular whole wheat flour. Its soft texture makes it ideal for delicate baked goods or uses where you don’t want a lot of gluten development–like crepes.

Here are 6 steps to making crepes at home:

Mix your batter. Crepe batter is much the same as standard pancake batter except it doesn’t have a leavener like baking powder. So, instead of fluffy flapjacks, you’ll get a thin, flat pancake. Also, classic crepes aren’t typically sweetened, but you can add a tablespoon or two of sugar to the batter if you prefer them sweet.

Let it rest. Cover the batter and let it stand at room temperature at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. This allows the flour to absorb all the moisture, which ensures the crepes cook evenly with tender results.

Choose a pan. Sure, you could use a dedicated shallow crepe pan, which might be a nice investment if you make crepes often. Otherwise, a nonstick skillet does the job beautifully. The number of crepes this recipe yields depends on the size of your pan. I used a 10-inch nonstick pan and got a dozen 7-inch crepes.

Heat the pan over medium heat. Don’t use a higher temperature, or the batter will start to set before you have a chance to swirl it around in the pan.

Brush the bottom of the pan with a thin layer of canola oil. Then use a small ladle to pour in just enough batter to coat the bottom of the pan–2 to 4 tablespoons should be plenty. Again, how much depends on the size of your pan.

Swirl, cook, flip. As soon as the batter is poured in, swirl the pan to distribute the batter evenly over the bottom. Cook for about 2 minutes or until the edges of the crepe are light brown and the bottom is golden (use a thin rubber spatula to gently lift the crepe and peek at the bottom. Flip the crepe with the spatula and cook the other side for another minute or until golden. Turn the cooked crepe out of the pan onto a wire rack. Practice makes perfect with this process, and you’ll find the results become more evenly round as you progress from the first crepe to the last.

Crepes are a perfect make-ahead component, since they refrigerate and freeze beautifully. You can thaw them at room temperature, then reheat them in a low oven or warm pan. Fillings are limited only by your imagination, since crepes can envelope both savory and sweet fillings deliciously. But you may want to gobble your first batch hot out of the pan with just a dusting of sifted powdered sugar.

Whole Wheat Crepes

Traditional French crepes get a healthy upgrade, thanks to whole wheat pastry flour. You don’t need a dedicated crepe pan for this recipe; any nonstick skillet will do. The number of crepes you get depends on the size of the skillet. I used a 10-inch skillet and ended up with 12 (7-inch) crepes. You can double this crepe recipe and freeze the leftovers. Thaw them at room temperature and warm them up in a low oven or in a nonstick skillet over low heat. Serve with savory (try our Cabbage Saute with Shiitakes and Crispy Tofu or Spicy Sweet Shrimp) or sweet fillings (like fresh fruit and a dollop of our Kitchen MacGyver Lemon Curd). Of course, it’s a classic with bananas and Nutella. Don’t worry if the first crepe isn’t perfect–French cooks call that the “sacrifice.”