TIP OF THE DAY: DIY Crêpes - THE NIBBLE Blog
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TIP OF THE DAY: DIY Crêpes

Today’s tip was inspired by this yummy photo from Wife Mama Foodie.

Here’s her recipe for easy homemade crêpes. You can also purchase ready-to-heat-and-eat versions (photo #6).

Crepes are thin pancakes made from flour, eggs, milk, butter and salt. The word was derived from the Latin crispus, curled. There are two principal types:

  • Sweet crêpes made with wheat flour.
  • Savory crêpes (a.k.a. galettes), made with buckwheat flour.
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  • In Brittany, crêpes are traditionally served with apple cider.
  • In areas of Central Europe, variations of the thin, filled pancakes are called blintzes (Jewish), palacinka (Czech and Croatian), palatschinka (Austrian German), palacsinta (Hungarian), etc.
  • Elsewhere in Europe, you’ll find Greek kreps, Italian crespelle, Russian blini and Scandinavian plattars.
  • Though crêpes are now considered fancy fare, they were originally an inexpensive meal for poor.
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    We have ideas below for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. Whatever ingredients you choose, place them on the table with a plate of crêpes, and let everyone fill and roll their own.

    THE HISTORY OF CRÊPES

    Crêpes originated in Brittany, the region comprising the northwest France. They were originally made with buckwheat flour and called galettes, meaning flat cakes. The term is still applied to savory crêpes, which remain buckwheat-based.

    Around the 12th century buckwheat, was introduced to Brittany. Common buckwheat was domesticated in Southeast Asia, at least by 4000 B.C.E. [source]. The plant, Fagopyrum esculentum is a member of the Polygonaceae family, which also includes edibles such as rhubarb and sorrel.

    Buckwheat—which is not a cereal and thus is gluten-free—has been grown in Tibet and northern China for millennia, used to make noodles. It is a boon, since wheat can not be grown in mountainous regions. It is the world’s highest-elevation domesticated plant.

    Buckwheat spread to Central Asia and Tibet, and then to the Middle East and Europe. It thrived in the Breton moors, where is was called sarrasin or blé noir (black wheat—from the dark specks that often show themselves in the milled flour). It is high in fiber, has easily digestive protein, and contains all eight essential amino acids.

    Crêpes were initially cooked on large cast-iron hot plates, heated over a wood fire in a fireplace. Today they are made on the stove top in special crepe pans: electric heated. The batter is spread with a tool known as a rozel and flipped with a spatula.

    In Brittany crêpes were (and are) served with the local beverage, hard cider.

    Modern Crépes

    White flour crêpes appeared only at the turn of the 20th century. White wheat flour, which had been very costly—as expensive as sugar, honey or meat—became affordable.

    In Brittany, both crêpes and galettes are traditionally served with cider.

    February 2 in France is a crêpe holiday, variously known as Fête de la Chandeleur, Fête de la Lumière, or Jour des crêpes.

    The feast has a tradition: Hold a coin in your dominant hand and a crêpe pan in the other, and flip the crêpe into the air. If you manage to catch the crêpe in the pan, your family will be prosperous for the rest of the year [source].

    O.K., sure, but can we have some more crêpes, please?

    YOUR DIY CRÊPE SPREAD

    Pick your fillings of choice. Does it need a filling sauce, e.g. mustard sauce for the sausage? Does it need a garnish—for example, whipped cream or raspberry sauce for a banana crêpe?

  • Savory helpers include cheese sauce, crème fraîche, tomoato sauce and vegetable purée.
  • Sweet accompaniments include crème pâtissière, fruit purée, whipped cream and cream-based sauces (butterscotch, chocolate, caramel…).
  • BREAKFAST CRÊPES

  • Eggs Benedict (the crêpe replaces the English muffin)
  • Farmer’s cheese or small curd cottage cheese, with cinnamon sugar or honey, and lemon zest
  • Fresh fruit and yogurt
  • Jam and cream cheese
  • Sweet sausage (photo #4)
  • Smoked salmon, dilled yogurt, sweet onions, capers
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    LUNCH & DINNER CRÊPES

    You can serve one crêpe as a first course or two as a main. Most work great with a béchamel (white sauce) or Mornay sauce (cheese sauce, a béchamel with gruyère).

     

    DIY Crepes
    [1] DIY crêpes: ready to fill, roll and eat (photo courtesy Wife Mama Foodie | Facebook).

    Banana Crepes
    [2] Banana crêpes, to which you can add caramel or chocolate sauce, chocolate chips, even peanut butter sauce (photo courtesy Dairy Info).

    Seafood Crepes
    [3] The lap of luxury: lobster, caviar and smoked salmon crêpes (photo courtesy Caviar Russe | NYC).

    Sausage Crepe
    [4] Sausage, onion and greens for breakfast, lunch or dimmer (photo courtesy Rolf And Daughters | Nashville).

    Asparagus Crepes
    [5] Goat cheese with asparagus (photo courtesy Spice Islands).

    Jacquet Crepes

    [6] Better food stores sell packaged crepes (photo courtesy Jacquet Bakery).

  • Cheese, plain or with ham or spinach/kale/broccoli
  • Chicken, artichoke or goat cheese, and sundried tomatoes
  • Chicken, fish, mushrooms in cream sauce
  • Feta, hummus, olives
  • Fig, prosciutto and gorgonzola with a balsamic drizzle
  • Goat cheese with asparagus, spinachs or other vegetable
  • Ratatouille (vegetarian) crêpes with eggplant mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini
  • Sausage with onions and greens (photo #4)
  • Seafood in brandy of sherry cream sauce (photo #3)
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    DESSERT CRÊPES

  • Crepes Suzette, plain crêpes with orange liqueur sauce
  • Ice cream with chocolate or fruit sauce; banana split crêpe
  • Jam or fruit curd and whipped cream
  • Sautéed apples, bananas or other fruit with caramel sauce, Grand Marnier sauce, Nutella (photo #2)
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