A simple way to dress up a meal
Matthew Kadey, MSc, RD
Despite what many people think, the crepe is so much more than a thin, pliable pancake. Highly adaptable, try both these savoury and sweet crepe recipes
Despite what many people think, the crepe is so much more than a thin, pliable pancake. While they originate from France, their appeal has spread worldwide.
Highly adaptable, crepes can be served sweet or savoury, as an appetizer, snack, elegant entree, or fanciful dessert. As for fillings, they can be stuffed with a voluptuous variety of highly nutritious seasonal ingredients suiting today’s passion for healthy fare.
Fruits, vegetables, nut butters, ice cream (yum!), meats … your imagination is the only limitation. Plus crepes are ideal to make in advance and refrigerate or freeze, ready to fill later for a dinner party or a quick weeknight meal or snack.
Since crepes are much thinner than pancakes, they help you shave calories from your diet and maybe a few inches from your waistline. So fold or roll your way to the array of delicious and healthy possibilities crepes provide.
With a few quick additions you can easily change the flavour profile of the batter, ensuring your crepes are always a fresh experience. Here are some ways to jazz up what you pour into the pan.
Flour power: Try replacing some (or all) of the wheat flour with specialty flours such as buckwheat, garbazano, and quinoa. Whole wheat pastry flour provides more nutrients and richer flavour than all-purpose flour. A boost of heart-healthy omega fats can be had by incorporating ground flax or chia seed.
Spice is nice: For dessert crepes, stir in warming spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. A number of herbs, including chives and parsley, can be used to colour and flavour savoury crepes.
Dark knight: Cocoa powder is a lovely addition to sweet crepe batter, as are vanilla extract, citrus zest, and liqueurs.
Crepes may be filled and folded in various shapes for a decorative presentation.
Fold-over: Spread the filling along the centre of the crepe. Fold one side over, covering most of the filling. Fold over opposite side, overlapping first fold.
Roll-up: Spread the filling over a large part of the crepe surface. Starting at one side, roll up like a jelly roll. Placing parchment or wax paper under the crepe can make it easier to roll.
Pocket fold: Spoon the filling on the centre of the crepe and fold bottom over about half of the filling. Fold the right side over the filling, then fold the left side to overlap the right side. Fold the top of the crepe down over both sides.
Crepe Suzette fold: Spoon filling on the centre of the crepe. Fold in half. Fold in half again, forming a triangle four layers thick.
Handle with care
Once cooked, here’s how to show your crepes some love whether using them immediately or storing for future use.
For immediate use: As the crepes cook and you prepare the filling, keep them warm by stacking on a plate, wrapping in foil, and placing in a 200 F (93 C) oven. Once all the crepes are cooked, you can then fill or top them as desired.
To refrigerate for later use: Wrap stacked crepes well in foil or plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for no more than three days. Let crepes stand at room temperature for about an hour before filling.
To freeze for future use: Separate each crepe with waxed or parchment paper and place in an airtight container. Crepes can be frozen for up to four months. Let thaw completely before separating.