I have been craving crepes lately. In Bosnia we call them palacinka (pah-lah-cheen-kah) and Germans have adopted this name as well. They are just like the French crepe but with a bit more flavor.
I like them sweet and savory or just plain, straight out of the pan. Come to think of it, I prefer them plain and I always make more batter than needed just because I can’t stop eating them while I fry them. You can top or fill them with Nutella, jam, chocolate mousse, fruit or cheese and ham, chicken, ground beef, mushrooms and whatever else comes to your mind. They freeze great too, so it makes sense to make big batches. Don’t be intimidated – they are surprisingly easy to make with ingredients that everyone has on hand. If my left-handed daughter who never cooked in her life could make them and even master the flipping at age of 16, so can you. As with pancakes, the first crepe you make will be a flop, so count on eating this one (I dare you to stop at one) as you experiment with the heat of the burner and the amount of oil in the pan.
I never measure my ingredients for crepes simply because you can’t make a mistake. If the batter is too thick add water and if it’s too thin add more flour. You want batter to have a consistency of butter milk. And you need a non-stick pan. Mine is about 6 inch in diameter making 7 inch crepes.
Today I made 18 crepes not counting the ones I ate in the process. I filled half with chicken and half with sweet ricotta and walnuts for desert (recipe to follow in a separate post). Mm-good.
Makes about 18
1 ½ cups all-purpose Flour
¼ teaspoon Salt
¾ cup Milk
1 cup Water
Filling (for 9 crepes):
1 large Chicken Breast, diced
1 cup finelly chopped Green or Red Pepper
1 tablespoon Flour
2 tablespoons Sour Cream
3 tablespoon Butter
Salt and Pepper
1 cup Flour
1 cup Bread Crumbs
1 cup Mayo
¼ cup diced Dill Pickles
1 Garlic clove, minced
¼ cup dry White Wine
1 tablespoon Pickle Juice (from the pickle jar)
In a bowl, beat the eggs, salt and milk. Add flour and mix to a thick batter. This will avoid clumps in the batter. You can also put all the ingredients in a blender if you prefer. Add water and whisk until mixture is smooth and bubbles form on top, to the consistency of thin cream. Let batter sit at least 30 minutes at room temperature or 15 minutes in the refrigerator.
Heat a small non-stick pan over high heat. Add oil to coat, about 1 teaspoon. Oil and pan need to be really hot. Pour batter into the pan with a ladle and angle/rotate the pan in circles to completely cover bottom of the pan. Remember, you are not making pancakes so pour only about 1 ounce of batter into the pan. The key is to keep the crepe as thin as possible. The batter will likely spread up to the sides of the pan, but that’s OK. It makes 7 inch crepe in a 6 inch pan.
|Pouring the batter|
Cook for 1 minute or until the top is no longer liquid and starts “sweating”. It should look like this:
Shake the pan and when crepe is loose and sliding all over, it’s time to flip it. You can use spatula, fingers or flip it airborne and I suggest doing it like a well-seasoned chef. Now, don’t be afraid to try this, it’s actually not very hard. The trick is to tilt the pan and slide the crepe to the border of the pan. Push the pan outward and then pull it back with a bit of a jerk, while using your wrist to flip the crepe upward. Once airborne, catch the crepe by moving the pan backward a little bit. (For practice, try using a pancake in a cold, dry pan). Once you get a hang of it, I promise, you will never want to use a spatula again.
|Flipping the crepe (like a pro)|
Cook crepe on the other side until the surface looks bubbly (see the bubble in the middle?)
Slide crepe out of the pan and repeat with remaining batter using only a few drops of oil for each crepe.
Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and then dust with 1 tablespoon flour. Heat butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped pepper and sauté for 3 minutes. Add chicken and cook for about 10 minutes or until no longer pink. Turn off the heat and add sour cream. Stir to completely coat the chicken. Set the mixture aside to cool. Fill crepes by placing one heaping tablespoon of the chicken mixture in the middle of the crepe. Fold the sides of crepe over the filling then fold the bottom and top and secure with a toothpick.
Place eggs, flour and breadcrumbs in separate shallow dishes. Coat the crepes with flour, roll them over in beaten eggs and finally coat with bread crumbs. Remove the toothpicks at this point.
Deep fry the crepes until golden brown in color. Remove and place on a paper-towel lined plate to drain.
Serve with tartar sauce and oven baked fries.
Mix mayo, minced garlic, diced pickles, wine and pickle juice together until combined. This sauce is also great with grilled meat.