Every time I reach for a cake pan or a tart pan in my lower kitchen cabinet, this little black crepe pan falls down, and I stick it back in a place it doesn’t seem to fit. This has been going on for years. I have considered getting rid of it, but then I would have this nagging thought, “what if I want to make crepes someday?” Just because I haven’t made crepes since Reagan was president doesn’t mean I’m not going to make them again. I don’t even remember how to make them. So, nearly every day, the little black crepe pan falls and I put it back, and I get closer to making crepes or throwing out the pan.
If you are anything like me, you’ll understand that when you start thinking about a certain food and what it would be like to cook that food, you have to do it. There is no way out. You might not be exactly sure when, but then one day, you find yourself staring at a pile of opened cookbooks, getting ideas, instructions and ingredients.
This time, it was three french cookbooks, and I decided on Le Cordon Bleu at Home, because I liked how the recipe sounded. Reading a recipe is a process all unto self, once you have read or skimmed hundreds. You just “know” it’s the right one.
So like the little engine that could, the little crepe pan came out of hiding and instead of being a daily annoyance, with no real place in the cabinet, it went to work, making the best crepes I ever ate, or I should say DC ever ate. I ate one; he ate all the rest.
We’re both creative types, in different ways, and very compatible in life, love and FOOD. He doesn’t cook very much, but he knew there was cardamom in the recipe and commented on it. I like a man who knows about cardamom.
While the recipe was being selected, my eyes went straight to the 5 very ripe organic pears that I purchased at a bulk discount, with good intentions but forgot about. A saute of sliced pears with brown sugar, some cardamom, toasted walnuts and then just a touch of really good feta cheese packed in brine to offset the sweetness of the pears and I had a filling ready for crepes.
To my surprise, the little black crepe pan, knew exactly what to do. Just a touch of butter for the first crepe and no further seasoning was necessary. The first crepe was not good at all, too thick and rubbery. The second crepe had holes in it because I didn’t put in enough batter. By crepe number three, I found the “crepe zone.” I put in a scant 1/4 cup batter in pan, gave it a swirl, and if I had too much, simply poured it back into the batter.
We decided we will be eating a lot more crepes and the little black crepe pan is here to stay. In fact, the next day, that little black crepe pan came back out and made the most delicious crepes suzette that I will tell you about soon.
Crepes (makes six, adapted from Le Cordon Bleu at Home)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (I used white whole wheat flour)
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- pinch salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk (I used organic skim milk)
- 3 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Sift dry ingredients in bowl. Break eggs and add milk and whisk into flour until smooth.
- Whisk in butter and then whisk in remaining milk. Let stand for at least 30 minutes. Some recipes recommend at least an hour in the refrigerator. Batter should be very thin, and you may need to add more cold milk.
- Place butter in small crepe pan, careful not to over butter. After my first crepe, I didn’t need to butter pan for remaining crepes, as my pan is well-seasoned.
- Pour in a scant 1/4 cup batter, swirl pan, to completely cover. If there is excess batter, pour back into batter. Crepes let you know when it’s time to turn. The edges get browned and they slide over easily.
You can make all the crepes ahead of time, using parchment paper between each crepe, if you are going to freeze them.
Pear Filling Recipe
- 6 pears
- 1 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoons cardamom
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar (more or less, depending upon sweetness of the pears)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, divided
- Peel and cut 6 pears into slices. Heat butter in pan, add pears, cardamom. Add brown sugar. Sauté until pears are softened, but not mushy. Add 1/4 cup walnuts.
- Roll up crepes, stuff with pear mixture. Top with 1 teaspoon pear mixture, remaining walnuts and feta.
Notes: There are many variations you could try. Apples instead of pears, blue cheese instead of feta. To make savory crepes, skip the sugar and vanilla, reduce flour by 1/4 cup.