The French Foodie: Crepes à votre goût (to your liking)

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Tia Patsavas

What could be more delightful than a light-as-air crepe filled with some of your favorite flavors?

Crepes are an incredibly versatile staple in French cuisine. If you’ve never had one before, think of it as a very thin pancake that can be filled with meat and vegetables or whipped cream and fruit. The best part is that they’re made with ingredients even newbie chefs have on hand.

Try my two favorite crepe recipes—one sweet, one savory—and eat like the Parisians do.

To start, here is my standard crepe recipe:

Basic Crepes 

Once you get the basic batter down, your options will be endless. This recipe will yield about 20 eight-inch crepes.

You’ll need: Flour, eggs, milk, water, sugar, butter and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk ¾ cup milk, ½ cup water and 2 eggs until well combined. Gradually add in 1 cup flour. Add 3 T melted butter and a pinch of salt. Beat well until mixture is thin and very smooth. Refrigerate for one hour.

Melt ½ T butter in a small, nonstick pan over medium heat. Pour 3-4 T batter into the pan, tilting the pan so the batter evenly coats the pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes per side, so the crepe is slightly browned. Flip and repeat on other side. Continue this process until all the batter is gone, adding a dab of butter to the pan as needed.

Savory Crepes: Chicken, Mushroom and Spinach Crepes with Hollandaise Sauce

Though I love the filling of these crepes, the hollandaise sauce is the best part: creamy, rich, decadent—I could pour this stuff over anything. If you have leftovers, pour some on top of an egg, ham and English muffin in the morning for a quick eggs benedict.

You’ll need: Olive oil, chicken, mushrooms, fresh spinach, egg yolks, lemon juice.

Heat 1 T olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add 4 chicken breasts, cut into strips; brown on one side, then flip over to continue cooking. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in a 12-oz. package fresh, sliced mushrooms; cook until chicken is cooked through. Remove from heat, and stir in 1 ½ cups fresh spinach.

For the hollandaise sauce, combine 3 egg yolks in 1 T lemon juice in a blender; blend for about five seconds. With the blender on medium-high speed, slowly pour in ½ cup melted butter. The mixture should now have a thick, sauce-like consistency.

Spoon about ¼ cup of the chicken mixture onto the center of each crepe. Fold both sides over and top with hollandaise sauce. Serves four.

Sweet Crepes: Dessert Crepes with Mascarpone and Strawberry Filling

Mascarpone is a soft, Italian cream cheese starring in Italian favorites like tiramisu. Here, it’s whipped up like cream cheese, making a fluffy filling for these sweet and creamy dessert crepes.

You’ll need: Mascarpone cheese, milk, strawberries (or desired fruit), Nutella (or other chocolate topping) and whipped cream.

In a mixing bowl, blend ¼ cup mascarpone, 1 T milk and 1 ½ T honey with a rubber spatula until light and fluffy.

To assemble, spread a spoonful of cheese mixture onto a crepe; top with sliced, fresh strawberries and fold both sides over to close. Drizzle with chocolate sauce and top with whipped cream. Serves four.