Thursday, February 3, 2011

Oh, Crêpe! (A.K.A. My Crêpe Day Turnout)

Like with any new recipe that I want to try out, I dutifully searched for a crêpe one online.

Specifically, this one.

I would substitute the vanilla sugar for vanilla extract and not add any melted butter. It should work just as well, right? I mean, I should be able to follow all the steps without anything bad occuring during the cooking process, right? AM I RIGHT?!

Ha. Ha.

What the recipe should have mentioned in its list of steps:

If you are a foreigner, first find a French person who knows how to make crêpes. It will spare you a lot of confusion about your failure.

(This is especially true since I had my unforgettable exploding container fiasco around Thanksgiving which proved that I can be a disaster in the kitchen.)

I went to the kitchen and searched for the ingredients in my cabinets. Not only was I able to find everything I needed (Score!) but, to my grand surprise, I found not one, not two but FIVE bags of flour.

Five entire bags of flour. I honestly don't know how I managed to accumulate so much farine in such little time or even what caused me to have a sudden flour amnesia when I went grocery shopping on five different occasions and thus caused me to amass a whole troup weight-inducing powder. I decided to use the farine de sarrasin, buckwheat flour.

The moment had finally arrived. I was going to make my very first batch of crêpes in France. The very first batch of crêpes of my life. I who have never even made pancakes from scratch (thanks Aunt Jemima for depriving my patriotism and valor as an American with your processed pancake mix goodness). I was going to attempt the impossible.

One American. One whisk. One bowl. One frying pan.

This is the army that I was up against:


Not wanting to deviate from the required measurements to potentially jeopardize the batter, I asked my room mate if we had any measuring cups for grams and mL. Oops. We don't.

*piercing scream of horror*

I was suddenly one American trying to estimate how much 360 grams of flour and 750 mL of milk would look like to the naked eye. That's as difficult as creating rocket fuel in the dark while blindfolded with your hands tied behind your back!

Okay, maybe it isn't, but that is what dealing with the metric system is like sometimes to my imperial-system wired brain. I've actually gotten more perceptive with time about how much simpler the metric system is.

There was no time to panic! As I reasoned, if I poured out half of the 1 kilogram bag of sarrasin flour, then I had poured out too much. And my one liter box of milk should weigh as if it had only one cup left in it. I would just have to wing it with the sugar or, as the French say, au pif. Yes, the French tend to measure with their noses rather than their eyes.

I calculated and mixed the ingredients.

It resulted in a gloopy mixture.


I know for a fact that crêpe batter needs to be considerably fluid. Essentially, I needed to have a diluted pancake mixture. So, I added more milk.

Hm, that looks better...

I then let the batter sit in the fridge from 30 to 90 minutes. Since I have the patience of a little kid jacked up on sugar on a 4-hour roadtrip, I waited just the 30 minutes.

I heated the Gleaming Red Element of Doom and swirled some oil into the pan. My room mates told me that crêpes are practically impossible to ruin. It is just one of the most basic French recipes that only a complete idiot would not get it right.

There's no way I can mess this up? Hell, yeah! Only a complete idiot can screw it up? Well, I'm no dummy. That's the sort of encouragement I need. I couldn't wait to make my very first fail-proof crêpe!!!

Uh. Erm. Hmm.

Maybe it will look better on the other side.

Huh. Nope.

This was obviously a fluke. Crêpe #2 will have a better result.

Ah! So far so good! Let's see what happens when I try to flip it over...

Oh, Good Lord. I'll never be French if I can't even concoct the simplest of French recipes. Let me just take a moment to release my pent-up frustration: CRAPPY-CRÊPE-CRÊPE!!! Something told me this was going to be a loooooooong night for me...

I decided to slather Crêpe #1 with apricot jam and Crêpe #2 with dark chocolate. I couldn't help but notice that the consistency was quite spongy, much like the American morning counterpart.

I realized something. I hadn't made crêpes. I had succeeded in making sugary buckwheat pancakes. So, yay for me?

Thankfully, my room mate stepped in to save my feeble inexperienced crêpe-making behind the day and gave me an impromptu French culinary lesson.

"The batter is too thick. You need to water it down. When you are cooking the crêpes, you must wait until the edges start to brown a bit and lift; that's when you will know that it is the moment to flip them. Also, farine de sarrasin is used mostly for salty galettes. Next time, use the white flour for sweet crêpes. And the actual pancake taste is pas mal. "

She said pas mal! She said my pancake taste was pas mal! ZOMG!

The French aren't as ready as Americans to hand out compliments, so pas mal, which means "not bad," is pretty much the highest honor that can be bestowed upon my pseudo-French culinary skill. Anyway, with those little tidbits of French wisdom, I soon created a foolproof batter and I became the quintessential Crêpe-Making Queen of Dijon!


YEAH! Now that's what I'm talkin' about! WHOOOO!!!

I was so tempted to gobble down my treat, but I decided that my two hefty pancakes would be all that I was going to eat for the evening. After all, a girl has to watch her figure to attain Shakira-hotness.

After an hour, I produced a tantalizing vanilla-scented golden mountain of thin wafery goodness. I could feel my mouth salivating at the sight of it, but I swore that I would no longer eat any more crêpes for that evening...

Ah, who am I kidding? Who could possibly resist eating a warm, freshly-made crêpe with apricot jam from Provence?


Happiness is a post-crêpe jam-splattered plate.

I now have 14 crêpes at my disposal, and I am not planning to eat them all. I'm gonna need some of my friends to come over, stat!

Barb the French Bean


  1. Haha, when you typed what your roomate said, I imagined it in a French accent, but somehow I don't believe she actually sounds like a really bad three Stooges french impression.

    I really need to grow up, eh?

  2. I love it:

    "One American. One whisk. One bowl. One frying pan."

    You are awesome. I give up in the kitchen much too easily. You eye-balled it AND scored high compliments. That's pretty rockin'.

    I can't successfully cook the Aunt Jemima pre-mixed ones. FOR REAL.

    Seriously?... Reeeally??... Seriously?

  3. That is vastly better than I can do. My cooking moves only have two words: Eggo waffles.

    My only international experience was in Vancouver. We had some bad ass crepes there -- not as good as those look though :)

  4. So you learned TWO new recipes! Pancakes AND crepes! :D
    I wouldn't worry too much about how many of them you're eating. A day or two of overindulgence couldn't hurt too much. It's when it continues for a longer period of time that it can get unhealthy.
    Besides, last time I checked, homemade food made from scratch is always infinitely healthier, better tasting, and has fewer empty calories than packaged and processed foods. And all the exercise you get from making it probably burned off some calories in advance! ;)

  5. Heh, yeah, buckwheat pancakes are usually dinner. Still sounds delicious, though! I love that you somehow managed to obtain 5 bags of flour.

    We should have a crepe night! Maybe even this Tuesday, since Fat Tuesday is pancake day for the Brits (you were there for that conversation today, yes?).


Apparently, leaving comments on this blog is a hit-or-miss game of Russian roulette: you are either lucky and can comment away, or you are required to log in when the settings are CLEARLY set to allow trouble-free commenting (sorry 'bout that, folks). If anything, the Facebook page is always a viable option. :) -Barb