Image © Kyla Zanardi
My students LOVE to make crêpes (it’s part of a research project I do with my Grade 4s every year) and the boys in my cooking club tested the recipe which appears in In the French kitchen with kids (it really helped me with writing the recipe directions, watching how kids interact with a recipe!) but there’s another recipe (they tested that too) which didn’t make the cut for the book (that thing where the publisher and editor want a certain amount of recipes but you know it’s too many for the page count and that you’re going to have to make some hard decisions later in the editing process 🙁 ) but which I absolutely think deserves sharing for this week’s French Friday!
One Christmas a few years ago, Neil and I spent a week with some friends in windswept Brittany, where we fell in love with the butter (some of the best butter in the world comes from both Brittany and neighbouring Normandy), salted caramel and crêpes, both sweet and savoury. Savoury crêpes are popular across France – I have a few favourite places to enjoy them in Paris when I visit and we even have a local crêperie in Nérac that we try to get to on every visit.
The good news is that they are super easy to make at home! Note that this batter requires an overnight rest in the fridge but it’s perfect to make the night before so you can enjoy a no-fuss brunch the next day. This recipe is also a great one to make with your kids – let them have a go with the crêpe making part and you’ll be surprised at how adept they are (my students were much better than me!).
Happy (French) Friday!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Chill Time 12 hours
Total Time 13 hours
For the batter:
- 3/4 cup (105 g) buckwheat flour
- 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt
- 1 cup (250 mL) water
- 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) water
- 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
For filling the crêpes:
- 2 cups (120 g) grated Swiss cheese
- 8 thin slices ham
- 8 large eggs
- Flaky sea salt, for seasoning
- Freshly ground black pepper, for seasoning
Make the batter:
- Whisk the flour and salt together in a large bowl.
- Beat the water and egg together and then slowly pour this into the flour, whisking constantly. When you have a smooth, lump-free liquid, add the melted, cooled butter and whisk to combine.
- Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour or overnight. This will help ensure a better texture for the finished crêpe, and some say that chilling the batter reduces the chance of the crêpes tearing when you cook them.
Cook the crêpes:
- When you’re ready to cook the crêpes, remove the batter from the fridge and whisk it to loosen it. Add the 1/2 cup (125 mL) of water and whisk until smooth. This is a very thin batter, so don’t worry if it looks runny.
- Place a 9-inch (23 cm) nonstick skillet on the stovetop. Pour the oil into the skillet and use a paper towel to coat the bottom of the pan evenly. Heat the pan over medium-high heat. You’ll know it’s ready if you drop a tiny amount of batter in the pan and it sizzles and starts to cook.
- Lift the pan off the heat and, using a 1/3-cup (80 mL) measure, pour the batter into the middle of the hot pan. Swirl the pan around in a circular motion so the batter evenly covers the surface.
- Once the crêpe has been cooking for 1 to 2 minutes, you should see the edges start to harden and curl up. Run a nonstick, heatproof spatula around the edges of the crêpe to loosen, then flip it.
- Cook the crêpe on the other side for 1 to 2 minutes. Check to see if it’s done by gently lifting it up with the spatula, then slide it onto a plate. Cover with a piece of parchment paper and continue to cook the rest of the crêpes (layering them with parchment paper so they don’t stick to each other) until you have no more batter left. You shouldn’t need to add oil to the pan after the first one. You might need to whisk the batter periodically so it doesn’t get too thick at the bottom of the bowl.
Fill the crêpes:
- Place a 9-inch (23 cm) nonstick skillet on the stovetop over medium-high heat.
- Place a cooked crêpe in the pan and scatter 2 tablespoons of grated cheese over the surface of the crêpe, leaving a border of about 1 inch (2.5 cm) around the edges. Place a slice of ham over the cheese and top with 2 more tablespoons of the cheese. Cook until the cheese is melted.
- Meanwhile, in a separate pan, fry an egg.
- When the cheese in the crêpe has completely melted, slide the crêpe onto a plate and fold the four edges in slightly to make a square shape. Press down slightly on the crêpe to stick it to the cheese.
- Top with the fried egg and season to taste. Repeat with the remaining batter and eggs.