Until we bought 30-Minute Vegan, making crêpes had never crossed my mind. I mean, why? They had milk and eggs in them, right? And they’re thin and flimsy and easy to burn and I would just tear a hole in one trying to flip it and it would suck and I would have nothing to eat except self-pity and a big bowl of crêpe batter.
Ahem. You see my dilemma.
Luckily, I have Red to encourage me in my more adventurous culinary pursuits. Plus, 30-Minute Vegan has been pretty reliable during the two months we’ve had it, so we finally took the plunge and made crêpes.
Dudes. SO not hard. I have no clue what I was so afraid of.
Crêpes are weird, to be sure, but the terrifying ultra-thin-pancake-of-doom scenario I had anticipated failed to materialize. Basically, you mix up a thin batter. Preheat two skillets on medium, add a few drops of oil if you’re nervous, then tilt each skillet as you pour in a ladle of batter and it spreads out in a nice circle. Give it three or four minutes, and when the edges start to peel up and the center is firm-ish, you get to flip it. (I’m told that bubbles will form, like with pancakes, but my crêpes must like to misbehave.) This is the kind-of-tricky part.
My flipping method is totally amateur, so use it at your own risk. I try pulling up one edge of the crêpe with tongs, and if doesn’t fall apart, I slip a wide spatula under there (this is where holding up the crêpe with the tongs helps) and flip the whole thing over. If it’s ready to be flipped, it won’t fall apart. If it does, oops.
I have also experimented with lifting the pan like I’m trying to flip the crêpe in midair, like fancy-ass French chefs do on TV. You know what I mean, right? Act like something’s in the pan and you want to fling it out of there. If you do this and the crêpe starts to come free of the pan (you’ll feel it), it’s ready to flip.
Give ‘em another couple minutes on the flipped side, then slide them onto a plate and into a warm oven while you do the rest. Monitoring two pans at a time can be tricky, but I haven’t burned anything yet. If you need to do one at a time, no worries. It will just take longer. I did tear an epic hole in my first crêpe last night, but I have a theory on this: 1) I was impatient. 2) The gluten hadn’t relaxed yet. I know, whaaaaa? Stay with me. In Vegan with a Vengeance, Isa suggests letting your pancake batter sit for about 10 minutes before starting to cook. This allows the gluten to relax, giving you a fluffier pancake. I have a hunch that something similar is in play with crêpes, because the first two are always tougher than the rest. Maybe they also need time to chill out before meeting their delicious destinies.
Now comes the fun part: filling your crêpes! So many wondrous possibilities. For our first crêpe experience, since we were having them for dinner, Red and I whipped up 30-Minute Vegan’s savory mushroom-spinach crêpe filling. Highly recommended. I like sweet things, even for dinner, so last night I re-heated some diced apples I had cooked with cinnamon and brown sugar and wrapped them up snugly in my crêpes. I drizzled a little maple syrup over them, which sort of tied everything together. For breakfast, I like to spread my crêpes with Tofutti cream cheese, sprinkle with brown sugar, then top with maple syrup. I’m thinking that cream cheese + jam would also be a good combination. The crêpes keep well in the fridge, so don’t worry about resurrecting a soggy, falling-apart crêpe for breakfast the next day.
Photo ripped from Finest Chef.