Basic French Pancake Batter (Pâté à Crêpes) - dummies

Basic French Pancake Batter (Pâté à Crêpes)

By Mary Sue Milliken, Susan Feniger, Helene Siegel, Cesare Casella, Jack Bishop, Tom Lacalamita, Heather Dismore, Martin Yan, Dede Wilson, Joan H. Moravek, Kristin Eddy

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.

Pancake batter in a mixing bowl.
Credit: ©

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

4 eggs

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

2 cups all-purpose flour

4 tablespoons (1⁄2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

  1. 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.

  2. Remove the batter from the refrigerator and check the consistency; it should be thick, like heavy cream.

  3. Heat a nonstick 8-inch crêpe pan or skillet over medium-high heat.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Repeat with the remaining batter.

  7. 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.