Crépes are a type of very thin pancake, traditionally made from whole wheat or buckwheat flour. The word 'crépe' is of French origin and comes from the Latin 'crispa', meaning 'curled'. Crépes originated in 12th century Brittany, a region in northwest France, which is when buckwheat was introduced into the area. It wasn't until the 20th century that white flour became affordable and then used to make crépes. Prior to that time, white flour was as expensive as sugar, honey or meat. Today, white flour crépe consumption is widespread in France, Belgium, Quebec and many part of Europe and North Africa.
Crépes while most commonly associated with France are also popular elsewhere in Europe by other names and with certain adapatations, such as Italian crispelle, Hungarian palacsintas, Jewish blintzes, Scandinavian plattars, Russian blini and Greek kreps. In France, they actually have a day called 'Le Jour des Crépes', also known as 'Virgin Mary Blessing Day' and 'Fete de la Chandeleur', which occurs on February 2nd. On this day, the French also indulge in a little fortune telling. It is believed if you can catch a crépe with a frying pan after tossing it in the air with your writing hand, holding a gold coin in your other hand while doing so, your family will be very prosperous that year.
Perhaps the most familiar crépe recipe is Crépes Suzette, a French dessert consisting of a crépe with beure Suzette, a sauce of carmelized sugar and butter, tangerine or orange juice, zest and Grand Marnier or Orange Curacao on top, served flambé, or set on fire. The origin of Crépe Suzette and the name is highly disputed. One claim is that it was created purely by accident in 1895 when a 14 year old assistant waiter, while preparing a dessert for the Prince Of Wales, the future King Edward V11, whose guests included a beautiful French girl named Suzette. Fumbling to make the dessert, the 14 year old assistant accidentally spilled cordials onto the dessert and not having time to prepare something else, set it on fire and hoped for the best. Others believe that Crépe Suzette were named for French acturess, Suzanne Reichenberg (1853-1924).
Crépes can be served with a wide variety of fillings, from the most simple with only sugar to flambéed, or elaborate galettes, which was the original name for crépes meaning 'flat cakes'. Savoury crépes are often served for lunch or dinner and contain cheese, ham, eggs, ratatouille, mushrooms, artichokes, asparagus and various meats, poultry or seafood. The fillings are commonly added to the center of the crépe and served with the edges partially folded over the center.
When sweet, they can be eaten as part of breakfast or as a dessert. They can be filled and topped with various sweet toppings, including Nutella with bananas and walnuts, or fresh berries and berry glaze and whipped cream.
Perhaps our favorite way to have crépes is Chicken and Mushroom Crépes with White Wine and Thyme Sauce. Whether its for lunch or dinner, these crépes are scrumptious and relatively easy to make. The first step is to prepare the Basic Crépes. Cooking crépes takes a little practice and perhaps the most common error in making them is trying to flip the thin pancake before it's ready to be flipped. But if you follow the basic recipe, make sure your skillet is nicely heated, and swirl the batter around until its thinly spread, then letting it cook until the edges just start to turn brown and curl up, you'll be making crépes like a pro in no time!
Basic crépes take a little practice, but with patience and determination, you'll be making crépes like a pro in no time!
Chicken and Mushroom Crépes with White Wine and Thyme Sauce...the perfect light lunch or dinner!
Breakfast Crépes...filled with scrambled eggs, sauteed green pepper, red pepper, onion and mushrooms, and topped with grated aged cheddar...all rolled up as one!
We had Chicken and Mushrooom Crépes for supper Saturday evening and then for Sunday brunch, I made more crépes and filled them with scrambled eggs, sauteed vegetables and topped with shredded cheese. Easy, inexpensive, healthied-up AND delicious!