One of my favorite restaurants back in San Francisco was a place called CREPEVINE.  It was on 9th and Irving – a block from my house – and just funky enough.  Great food, great atmosphere, excellent staff… And reasonably priced.  They have grown over the years but the focus is still on really good, fun food.

So it was with great joy that I received the latest copy of Fine Cooking magazine and see a whole section on crêpes.  I looked at the recipes but mentally went back to Irving Street and started plotting a recipe.

One recipe that caught my eye in the magazine was for a chicken cacciatore crêpe with a cheese sauce.  Looked really good – but I had taken cubed steak out of the freezer last night thinking I’d do a swiss steak of sorts for dinner.  In just a few minutes the swiss steak morphed into crêpes with a chopped steak and mushroom filling and a mushroom sauce.

I got to work.

I sauteed onion and garlic then added chopped carrots, and chopped mushrooms to the pan.  I cooked it all down and added a splash of red wine and some salt and pepper.  When the wine cooked down, I put everything into a bowl.  Next – in the same pan – I cooked off the beef that I had chopped into pretty small pieces.  When it was cooked, I added some beef broth. cooked it down a bit, and then thickened it with a bit of cornstarch.  I then mixed it all in with the vegetables and set it aside while I made the crêpes.

These really are easy to make.  I should make them more often.

My complaint with this magazine – and a lot of cooking magazines , lately – is putting measurements in as weights.  I know that weighing is a much more precise measurement, but, c’mon… they give half the measurements in weight, half in volume, and then give you a range with an ingredient, telling you that you’re going to probably have to tweak something, anyway.  So much for their precision.  It’s pretentious and annoying.  It also annoys me when the recipes are overly-detailed.  Yes, I realize that many folks are not as confident in the kitchen as others, but I don’t need to be told I have to use a folded paper towel to butter my crêpe pan.  Really.

But I digress…

Basic Brown-Butter Crêpes Recipe

Fine Cooking Magazine
Yields about fourteen 8-inch crêpes

  • 3-1/2 oz. (7 Tbs.) unsalted butter; more softened for the pan
  • 1-3/4 cups whole milk; more as needed
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 6-3/4 oz. (1-1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour

Tip: As with pancakes, the first crêpe you make is usually a flop, so count on sacrificing it as you experiment with the heat of the burner and the amount of butter in the pan.

In a 1- to 2-quart saucepan, cook the butter over medium heat, swirling it every few seconds, until melted and the milk solids at the bottom of the pan turn golden-brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Immediately pour the brown butter into a small bowl and let cool almost to room temperature.

Combine the milk, eggs, and salt in a blender. Blend for a few seconds to combine. Add the flour and blend until very smooth, about 20 seconds. Add the brown butter and blend for another 10 seconds.

Pour the batter into a large bowl and let rest for at least 5 minutes and up to 24 hours. (If resting for more than 30 minutes, cover and refrigerate.)

When ready to cook the crêpes, check the batter; it should be as thick as heavy cream, not as thick as pancake batter. If it feels too thick, whisk in up to 1/2 cup more milk.

Heat a crêpe pan with an 8-inch base or a 10-inch nonstick skillet with an 8-inch base over medium-high heat until it’s hot enough for a drop of water to sizzle. Using a folded paper towel, grease the pan with about 1/4 tsp. butter. The butter should sizzle upon contact but not instantly turn brown. If it does, reduce the heat as necessary.

Using a ladle or measuring cup, pour 1/4 cup of the batter into the center of the pan while simultaneously lifting the pan from the heat and tilting and turning it in all directions so the batter spreads evenly across the bottom in a thin circle. If the crêpe has any holes in it, quickly add a few drops of batter to fill them in.

Cook until the edges begin to dry and lift from the sides of the pan and the bottom is nicely browned (lift up an edge with a small silicone spatula or your fingers to check), about 1 minute. Use the spatula or your fingers to flip the crêpe over. Cook until the second side is browned, about 20 seconds more.

Slide the crêpe from the pan onto a large plate or cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining batter, adjusting the heat and spreading more butter in the pan every two or three crêpes, or whenever the pan begins to look a bit dry. You can stack the crêpes on the plate as they’re done; they won’t stick. The crêpes will soften as they cool.

I made a quick mushroom sauce and poured it over them and baked them at 350° for about 20 minutes.

They were really good.  REALLY good.

And coming up is Lemon Meringue Pie from the same issue!