Crepe, the versatile dish invented by the French in the Brittany region located in Northern France, is now a crowd favorite. It is eaten as a meal in itself, commonly known as savory galletes, or as a dessert, which is called sweet crepes. Savory galletes are often made from buck wheat, a type of flour that is derived from dry fruit seeds of plants and gives a dark, brownish color while sweet crepes are made from all-purpose flour, which is lighter in color and smoother in texture. There are many variations of crepes with different fillings, often combined together, giving customers the freedom to choose what they like to eat. Some are even flamed for added flare and flavor or topped with ice cream to make it more sinful.
The best crepe I’ve eaten was a dessert in a hotel called Domain du Verbois, located near Versailles, 20 minutes away from the best pastry school in the world, Ecole Lenotre. Domain du Verbois was once the home of Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini during his exile in France, and is known for its picturesque view of the French rolling hills and the sweet scents of Grand Marnier, floating in the air and filling the village with its aroma as a nearby factory continues to produce this famous orange liquor. During my stay there, I tasted both the much fancied foie gras (also the best that I have tasted) and an apple crepe with orange liquor which was well constructed, unforgettable in taste, and had a very fine pastry cream — to this day, nothing has come close to it. My attempts to get the recipe proved to be futile as the chef refused to divulge the secrets of his family’s dish, but just eating it was well worth the experience.
To make a good crepe, many chefs recommend mixing the batter together and refrigerating it for at least one hour so the flour will absorb the liquid and expand. This will make it smooth, preventing lumps and huge holes from forming when placed on a hot pan. In my experience, straining the batter before cooking has the same effect, saving you time and still producing perfect crepes. Another technique is heating the pan first, and then lowering the fire before adding the batter to the pan. This prevents it from burning, leaving your crepe light in color. Use a non-stick pan and add very little oil before putting the batter to ensure easy removal. Do not flame using a non-stick pan as you will destroy all the Teflon coating.
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Easy-to-make crepes Crepe batter
Mix in a bowl with a wire whisk then strain: 1/4 cup melted magnolia gold butter salted, 2 cups fresh milk, 1 cup all-purpose flour, 4 whole eggs (1 cup eggs).
Note: For dessert crepes, add 1/4 cup granulated sugar for flavor and to make it brown.
Heat a six- to eight-inch non-stick pan over medium heat. Brush lightly with oil.
Pour 1/3 cup of crepe mixture on pan. Swirl pan and cook until it leaves the sides of the pan. Slide cooked crepe on 8×8 wax paper. Repeat until you have 12 crepes. May be kept in the ref covered with foil for three days or one month in the freezer without the filling.
Cream or custard filling
Put in a Pyrex bowl, mix, then put bowl on top of pan with 2 inches high of boiling water and cook until creamy 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup softened butter, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup granulated (white) sugar, 2 cups fresh milk. Optional: For chocolate custard, add 1/2 cup choco chips before cooking.
Put 1/4 cup custard filling on 1/3 of crepe. Top with thin slices of your favorite fruit (mangoes, fruit cocktail, etc.)
Fold top, then roll tightly.
Put in a 10- or 12-inch skillet, 1/4 cup each of butter and granulated sugar over medium heat until sugar is caramel colored. Remove from heat and pour about 1/4 cup rum or brandy. Return immediately to gas stove and tilt pan to ignite (avert your face). When flame dies down, add 2 cups of your favorite juice (mango or orange) Cook until sugar is completely dissolved. Pour on crepes. Note: Or put 1/4 cup butter and 1-160 grams best fruits (mango or any jam of your choice) with 2 cups fresh milk. Stir until simmering. Omit rum or brandy.
For savory filling
Omit the 1/4 cup sugar. Add 1 cup cooked and chopped chicken or tuna or shrimps or corn beef, or chopped ham or cooked mixed vegetables and 1/2 tsp. fine salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper. Serve warm as is or top with your favorite store- bought spaghetti sauce or 1-290 grams can cream of mushroom soup mixed with 1 cup milk. Stir until boiling.
For buckwheat crepes
Mix and strain: 1/2 cup melted butter, 2 cups milk, 1 cup buckwheat (Santi’s/ Rustan’s Fresh), 4 eggs, 1/2 tsp. salt.
Cook like crepe. Brush both sides of cooked crepe with melted butter before filling with sausage, ham, etc.
Ern’s top six crepes
Cafe Breton’s Galletes Paysanne, super delicious meal that will leave you full. Sausage is terrific, and definitely value for money. Located at the ground floor, Podium Mall, ADB Avenue, Mandaluyong.
Crepes and Cream’s Pork Floss Cheesy Omelet is one of my favorites; a great merienda, the cheese complements well the egg and floss, and can be eaten any time of the day. Located at the ground floor, Podium Mall.
EDSA Shangri-La Hotel’s dessert crepes are not too sweet, with great mango flavor.
InterContinental Hotel’s Crepes Samurai are truly delicious, very consistent, I’ve been eating their crepes since I was seven years old.
Nu Vo’s Crepe Suzette reminds me of France, very tasty and also value for money.
Diamond Hotel’s crepes are smooth, creamy, not sweet. Located along Roxas Boulevard.