Among the many wonderful dishes we have inherited from fine French gastronomy are crêpes. These paper-thin pancakes are light yet filling, suitable for sweet or savory stuffings, and elegant yet easy to prepare.
OK, they’re not real easy to make, but they’re a lot simpler than you might think.
They’re also a lot of fun and make a nice addition to a weekend brunch menu or a dinner with friends. They can even be prepared in advance and kept between sheets of wax paper for up to three days or so, making them ideal for entertaining.
Crêpes originated in Brittany in northwest France, though they are now ubiquitous throughout the country. They have a respectable following in this country as well. In fact, local crêperie owner Kevin Black decided last summer to expand his Go YAYAs food truck into an established kiosk inside the Main Street Market because dishes like his Grilled Chicken Caprese Crêpe and Vietnamese Crêpe were proving so popular he needed more space.
“I was surprised at how well we did and how much people really like crêpes,” said Black, who first hung out his shingle as a mobile food vendor in August 2010. “I think it’s because crêpes are so versatile. They’re a little different, yet they can be filled with all sorts of familiar flavors.”
GoYAYA’s Vietnamese Crêpe, for instance, is filled with sautéed, diced onions, and shredded pork with bean sprouts, romaine lettuce and Vietnamese sauce. Its Cuban Sandwich Crêpe contains smoky ham and cheese with tangy pickles.
Basically, anything you can cook can go inside a crêpe, which acts like any other starch or bread would in a meal. Dishes with cream sauces make for particularly appetizing fillings, while fresh fruits, chocolate and the French hazelnut cream Nutela are popular for dessert crêpes.
If you’ve never made crêpes before, you may want to practice before trying them out on company, as they are very delicate and tend to break easily.
Of course, even if that happens, it’s not really a problem, at least as far as flavor and consistency go. They’re still just as delicious.
Below are some tips for making flawless crêpes, as well as some recipes for both sweet and savory fillings.