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How To Make Perfect Traditional Belgian Crepes
What Do You Think?
A sweet, satisfying treat!
It’s just my humble opinion, but for me if you want to identify a culture’s “comfort foods”, all you need to do it observe a few mothers or grandmothers and see what they decide to whip up in their kitchens on a Sunday afternoon when they have an army of little mouths and stomachs to satisfy. In the case of Belgium (and several other countries in Europe, for that matter), one of the things you’re bound to see sooner rather than later are crêpes. Perfectly golden, melt-in-your-mouth sweet and piping hot so the smell arrives at the table well before they do, you’ll find crêpes served in the Ardennes in the East, on the North Sea coast in the West and pretty much everywhere in between.
As with national favorites everywhere, there are surely dozens of variations to making crêpes. Myself, I’ve opted for my on inherited family recipe, which is fairly straight-forward and simple to cook, meaning less time spent in the kitchen and greater likelihood that your crêpes will not disappoint you in the least.
The following should yield 6 yummy crêpes (for a hearty afternoon snack or a light, sweet dinner, this is probably good for 2 people). NOTE: if the pan that you use has significantly different dimensions from a typical crêpe pan, you may need to adapt the quantities per crêpe a bit (see details further on).
Everything You'll Need
- 330ml/1 1/4 cups Milk
- 2 Eggs
- 180g/ 3/4 cups All-purpose flour
- 10g/2 teaspoons Vanilla sugar
- 10g/2 teaspoons Baking powder
- Vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon for the batter + more for cooking
- 1 Large mixing bowl
- 1 electric mixer or wisk
- 1 crêpe pan (23cm/10 inch diameter), Any flat frying pan with the same dimensions will work
- 1 crêpe spatula, If using normal spatula, make sure it is long enough to reach across whole pan
Preferred Cooking Gear
- Combine the milk, eggs, flour, vanilla sugar and baking powder in the bowl and mix well with the electric mixer, being careful to occasionally turn the bowl and work along the sides to make sure there are no lumps (2-3 minutes should do it). Take notice that the batter isn’t too thick or your crêpes will be too heavy. The batter should drip rather freely from the beaters without seeming watery. Mix in a teaspoon of vegetable oil in once you’re happy with the consistency. (see illustration 1 below)
- Heat your pan (medium heat; if in doubt, it is best err towards being under heated rather than over heated). Once hot, add a teaspoon or so of oil and swish it around once it’s warm.
- Ladle in the batter (about 100ml per crêpe), turning the pan off the heat as to make sure the entire bottom is covered evenly.
- Cooking times will vary by expect about 2 minutes on the first side and slightly less on the second side. You’ll know when to turn it when most of the surface except for the very middle is covered with little bubbles and the edges are just starting to brown. If the crêpe sticks at first, don’t force it. Let stay on for another minute until the edges curl a little more. In this event, you may need to turn down the heat a little. When turning, try to work your way under and across the width of the pan. If you’ve done everything right, you should not feel too much resistance and will flip the crêpe in a single motion. (see illustration 2 below)
- Once flipped, the cooked side should be a even, golden brown. Because you partially cooked the second side already, the second side doesn’t need to cook as long. A minute or so should do it. (see illustration 3 below)
- When a crêpe is done, slide it off the pan into the serving plate and stack them on top of one another as you go. If you serve them immediately, they should keep themselves reasonably hot so you do not need to bother warming the serving plate.
- In serving the crêpes, there are two traditional options. You can prepare them exactly as noted above and serve them at the table with assorted sweet spreads (jam, honey, chocolate spread and so on). Or you spread 2-3 tablespoons of sugar on each crêpe as you layer them on the serving plate (I suggest alternating between white and brown sugar for best results). When you are done, cut the stack into 4 like pizza wedges.
- After that, simply enjoy! :-)