Basic French Pancake Batter (Pâté à Crêpes)
If France had a national fast food, it would have to be crêpes. Don’t think of the crêpe as a pancake; rather, think of it as a round, soft piece of flatbread to be filled with an endless variety of fillings or stacked and cut into wedges like a torte. Crêpe batter needs to rest for at least 2 to 3 hours before being used, so plan accordingly.
Preparation time: 5 minutes, plus at least 2 to 3 hours resting time
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Yield: Approximately 12 crêpes (4 to 6 servings)
1 cup cold milk
1 cup cold water
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons (1⁄2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Combine the milk, water, eggs, and salt in a blender jar and blend until smooth.
Add the flour and butter and blend for 1 minute or until smooth. Pour into a large bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
Remove the batter from the refrigerator and check the consistency; it should be thick, like heavy cream.
Heat a nonstick 8-inch crêpe pan or skillet over medium-high heat.
Hold the pan with one hand and lift it off the burner.
With the other hand, pour 1⁄4 cup of batter in the center of the hot pan and quickly begin to tilt the pan and swirl the batter so that it covers the bottom evenly in a thin layer. Place on the burner and cook for about 1 minute or until the edges begin to brown and the batter seems set on top.
Flip the crêpe.
Cook for no longer than 30 seconds and remove to a plate. The top or good side of the crêpe should be evenly golden; the other side will be lighter in color and look different.
Repeat with the remaining batter.
Fill and roll each crêpe, or spread with a favorite filling, stack, and cut into wedges to serve.
Even though you use a nonstick pan to make the crêpes, you may need to occasionally brush the bottom and sides of the pan with a little butter so that the crêpes don’t stick.
Crêpes are also served in France for dessert. To make sweet French pancake batter (crêpes fines sucrées), add 5 teaspoons sugar and 3 tablespoons orange liqueur or brandy along with the eggs. Increase the melted butter to 6 tablespoons.