The holiday of Shavuot (my favorite dairy time of year!) is just a few days away and it is not too late to to brush up on crepe-making techniques…cuz’ if you are going to spend the time trying to make them, you might as well be happy with how they come out!
It’s that subtle flick of the wrist that quickly and evenly coats the pan before the batter quickly sets that is the defining moment.
There is little difference between a crepe and a blintz. The French crepe may be a little less eggy and a hair thinner than the bletlach (pancakes) we use for blintzes, but the main difference is that since blintzes are filled and rolled, their crepes only need to be cooked on one side prior to filling; the uncooked side gets finished when the rolled blintzes are fried or browned in the pan before serving.
A French crepe is usually flipped and cooked on both sides, then used as a blank canvas to be casually filled and folded envelope-style, stacked as a cake, or folded in quarters (and sautéed a la Crepes Suzette).
Keep it as simple as a smear of Nutella and some sliced bananas, or get creative with more substantial fillings like Sweet Potato-Ricotta (recipe to follow). Plain or fussy, everybody feels better after a good blintz or crepe…especially if you observe the tradition of learning Torah on Shavuot night. A few of these babies, and you’ll be well fueled to enjoy learning the Torah this holiday is celebrating.
Top 10 Ways to Conquer Crepes:
- Use a good, non-stick crepe pan (see pictures below). It is not an expensive purchase and will pay you back with a million perfect crepes (and an easy clean-up, too).
- Crepe batter is no-fuss in the blender or using an immersion blender. So make a double recipe.
- Allow batter to rest for at least 20-30 minutes before using. This will allow all the air bubbles to surface and settle resulting in a much smoother crepe.
- Batter will freeze well; and will stay up to 5 days in the fridge.
- Cooked crepes (cooked on both sides) can be stacked and wrapped in plastic wrap for 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months
- Cooked blintz pancakes (cooked on one side) tend to stick to each other, so it is best to fill and roll prior to storing in the refrigerator or freezer (see step-by-step photos).
- Cut down your stress by preparing fillings or accompanying sauces ahead. Most fillings can be made at least 1-2 days in advance of finishing crepes in the pan.
- Use a ¼ cup measuring cup instead of a mixing spoon or ladle to pour batter into the pan. This will always give you the right amount in your pan.
- Crepe-making is super-fast! Get yourself ready with everything you need within arm’s reach of your pan. And no texting or phone calls while cooking!
- Master the circular swirling motion that quickly distributes the batter over the pan’s surface – it’s all in the wrist! Practice and you’ll get it…
Master Crepe Recipe
Yield: 12-14 (6-inch) or 8-10 (9-inch) crepes
3 large eggs
1 cup milk
2 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. melted butter or oil (plus more for coating pan)
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor for 5-10 seconds, or until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for at least 20-30 minutes.
Gently stir batter if it has separated. Heat a non-stick crepe pan over medium heat until hot. Brush pan lightly with melted butter or oil. Lift pan from heat and pour in about ¼ cup batter for a 9- or -10- large crepe (use about 2-3 tablespoons for 6- or 7- inch crepe). Quickly tilt and rotate pan to completely cover pan’s surface. Return pan to heat. Continue to cook for about 1 minute – crepe should be set and almost dry, with edges lightly browned and beginning to come away from the pan.
For blintzes, turn crepe out of pan onto a large plate (cooked side up).
For other crepe dishes, loosen edges gently with spatula and flip crepe over using spatula or your fingers. Cook on other side for about 15 seconds or until lightly browned. Turn crepe out onto large plate.
Repeat with remaining batter. Brush pan with more butter or oil as needed. Continue stacking crepes as they are cooked.
Crepes with Sweet Potato-Ricotta Filling
Gingered Sweet Potatoes make for a satisfying entrée option topped with a sweet drizzle of honey and pecans.
Yield: 8-10 large blintzes
1 batch Master Crepe recipe (see recipe above)
2 large sweet potatoes
1-2 tbsp. butter
½ tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
½-¾ tsp. freshly grated ginger root
1 tbsp. honey plus more for drizzling
¼ cup ricotta
Garnish: ½ pecans, toasted and chopped
Prepare Master Crepe recipe (crepe variation) and set aside.
Scrub sweet potatoes, pierce with fork, and pre-cook until tender (microwaved or baked).
Scoop the warm flesh out of the sweet potatoes into a large mixing bowl. Mash with butter until smooth and butter is melted in. Add salt, pepper, cinnamon, ginger, honey and ricotta. Mix until well blended.
Brush crepe pan with butter or oil. Warm a prepared crepe in the crepe pan over medium heat with 2 tablespoons of filling placed in the center of the crepe. Fold sides of crepe inwards over filling. Remove from heat when warmed through. Transfer to serving plate. Drizzle with honey and top with toasted nuts. Repeat with remaining crepes and filling as needed. Serve with sour cream or whipped cream.
May your crepes be unbroken and filled with sweet goodness, and may the sweetness of Torah overflow in your homes!
Chag Sameach! A Happy Shavuot to all!
Photography by Baila Gluck