This week's Sweet Melissa Sundays (SMS) recipe was chosen by... me! After joining this baking group in April 2009, I had the honor of hosting back in May 2009 (I chose the Bee Stings). I have to admit that I often feel guilty that I am not able to bake along every week like some of the others in this group do. However, I love that the group only requires once monthly participation so that bakers like me can still join in. So, I am delighted to be hosting again!
There were still quite a few recipes to choose from, but this one stood out to me because I love crepes! I figured this recipe would be quick and easy for everyone (I know many are busy because of the back to school period), and crepes lend themselves to a huge variety of fillings so everyone had the freedom to get a little creative.
I thought it was really interesting that Melissa calls these crepes "French pancakes," especially because my mom used to make crepes for me all the time.... and she never made them from scratch like this. How did she make them? She used Bisquick pancake mix and simply added extra milk to the pancake batter to thin it out! So, the name "French pancakes" seems particularly fitting. Who knew that making crepes was so easy?
The crepe batter comes together in literally minutes. Simply add the ingredients to your blender, give it a whirl, and then refrigerate for one hour or more. It can be a little tricky getting your crepes to be perfectly round... tilt your skillet too quickly and your batter goes all to one side and you end up with a lopsided crepe... tilt too slowly and you end up with a crepe that is too small and too thick. It takes a little bit of practice, but after a little trial and error, you can easily master this technique! And truthfully, a lopsided crepe still tastes just as delicious as a perfectly round crepe ;)
I made a few different kinds of crepes. I started out with your most basic type of crepe - cinnamon and sugar. Simply remove your crepe from the skillet and immediately spread a small pad of butter around the crepe (I prefer to just take the stick of butter and "paint" the surface of the crepe with melted butter while it is still warm). Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, and then fold the crepe into quarters. Top with whipped cream, sprinkle with some more cinnamon on top, and enjoy.
The second type of crepe I made was a caramelized apple crepe. I added about 2 tablespoons of butter to a hot skillet. After the butter was melted I added about 4 tablespoons of brown sugar and 2 diced apples. I sauteed the apples for a few minutes, until the apples were soft and the sugar was beginning to caramelize. I also added about 1-2 teaspoons of cinnamon to the apples. I then filled my crepes with the apples, rolled them up, topped them with more apples, whipped cream, and a sprinkling of cinnamon on top.
The third type of crepe I made was a Nutella crepe. Simply spread a thin layer of your favorite chocolate hazelnut spread onto the crepe and then roll it up. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkling of cocoa powder. I loved all the different crepes I made, but this one was my favorite!
Thank you to all the SMS bakers who joined me in making these "pancakes" this week. I hope that after seeing how simple it is to make crepes, you'll make them more regularly. I can't wait to see how creative everyone got with these. Make sure you check out the Sweet Melissa Sundays Blog Roll to see what everyone else did with their crepes!
Mom's French Pancakes
from The Sweet Melissa Baking Book
1-1/2 cups whole milk (learn how to make your own with low fat or skim milk here)
4 large eggs
1 tsp canola oil or melted butter, plus more for the skillet
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
In a blender, combine the milk, eggs, and oil and pulse for a few seconds to blend. Add the flour, sugar, and salt and pulse again until the batter is smooth. Do not over-mix. The batter should be the consistency of heavy cream. For the best results, let it rest covered in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight before using.
Preheat a 12-inch skillet (a seasoned cast-iron one works well, or a crepe pan, if you have one). Rub the pan with a few drops of oil. Repeat between pancakes if the skillet looks dry. When the skillet is hot (drop a tiny dot of batter on the skillet to check - if it sizzles, it's ready), pour about 1/4 cup of batter onto the pan, then quickly pick up the pan and swirl the batter around, aiming for a round shape (this takes practice, but it is not that difficult).
When the surface of the crepe appears dry, use an angled offset spatula to loosen it around the edges (I have used a metal cake server in a pinch). Quickly slip the spatula under the crepe, flip it, and remove it from the pan almost immediately. Repeat as desired. (You can freeze unused batter in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Whisk together until smooth once defrosted.)
Serve warm filled with jam, fresh fruit, ice cream, or whipped cream and sprinkle with confectioner's sugar. Enjoy!
Crepes can be frozen between layers of wax paper and wrapped in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil for up to 3 weeks. Defrost still wrapped at room temperature.