Let’s face it: Crepes can be intimidating. They’re paper-thin, French, and are sometimes spelled with that intimidating accent – you know the one, crêpes.
But crepes really aren’t that scary. Once you’ve flipped the first few, they’re really quite easy and you can make them while barely paying attention.
(Disclaimer: Please pay attention to the stove at all times. And it’s completely not my fault if you burn down your house or apartment building.)
Before making a single crepe, the first thing to do is say to yourself, “I will not be intimidated by a bunch of flat pancakes!” Don’t let those fancy-schmancy French flat flapjacks push you around! Once you’ve refused to be overwhelmed by fear, the crepe making can begin.
Crepes and I have a long history. As I explained in Nutella and Banana Oatmeal, I visited Paris in 2010 and certainly ate my fair share of crepes. In fairness, I was stuck there in limbo for an extra week, courtesy of a volcano in Iceland.
Long before then, I was familiar with the magic of crepes. Growing up, my family would often eat crepes as a special weekend breakfast. In fact, I was totally confused the first time I tried pancakes – why were they so thick? (Of course, now I absolutely love fluffy pancakes). I’d always watch with awe as my mother would flip the crepes. Actually, make that awe and horror, because my mother would literally pick up the crepes with her hands to flip it. How she managed to avoid burning herself in the process is still a mystery to me. I mean, the skillet was still over the heat when she’d just put her hands in there and grab the edges of the crepe. I swear her hands must be made out of oven mitts.
I, on the other hand, am a firm believer in using a spatula.
Ever since I’ve had to (mostly) give up gluten, I’ve started making a lot more crepes (gluten-free ones, obviously). As gluten-free bread is just so dry and corn tortillas are so small, I’ve enjoyed making batches of crepes and finding all sorts of uses for them. I absolutely love using crepes as though they were giant cannelloni shells – you can stuff them with spinach and ricotta (and pumpkin, if you’re a pumpkin addict like me), cover them in pasta sauce and bake them (for more details, see this recipe). I’ll often use crepes in place of lasagne noodles. And I’m always using crepes instead of flour tortillas for burritos.
Of course, there’s so much more to crepes than just savory food! They’re also wonderful for a sweet breakfast or dessert. The best part is that you can make one big batch of crepes and use them for both savory and sweet dishes. Well, at least you can use this recipe for both savory and sweet food. Isn’t that nice of me? 😉
Personally, if I’m having crepes for breakfast, I’ll go with a generous schmear of Dark Chocolate Dreams, sliced banana and strawberries. While you could use Nutella, as I mentioned in the last post, Dark Chocolate Dreams is a bazillion times better. Some other toppings/fillings for crepes if you’re in the mood for a little sweetness are:
- Maple syrup (and ice cream!)
- Sliced fruit and a drizzle of melted chocolate
- Sautéed apples and a sprinkle of cinnamon
- Any kind of peanut butter, and possibly some jelly/jam or raisins
- Squeeze of lemon juice and some sugar
For some reason that last one’s quite popular. I’ll never understand it.
This recipe uses a mixture of gluten-free all-purpose flour and rolled oats. While some people consider oats as containing gluten, since the general consensus is that they’re gluten-free as long as you buy the certified wheat-free variety, I’m including them. In my experience, gluten-free all-purpose flour can be very bland, so the oats add some extra flavor (as well as some fibre and other nutrients). If you would like to, you can replace the oats with another 1/3 cup of gluten-free all-purpose flour.
So you know, I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour, which is made from chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, sorghum flour and fava bean flour. However, while I haven’t tried it (for obvious reasons), I imagine this recipe would work with regular all-purpose flour.
While crepes may seem like the stuck-up cousin of pancakes, I assure you that once you get to know them, they’re really very nice. Savory or sweet, filled and rolled or just smothered in maple syrup, they’re surprisingly versatile for something so fancy-looking.
Like I said earlier, the key is not to let these seemingly thin, posh know-it-alls push you around. Otherwise it will be high school all over again.
(And more importantly, crepes are delicious!)
- ⅓ cup rolled oats
- ⅔ cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 ¼ cups milk
- In a coffee-grinder or blender, grind the oats into a flour. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Add the all-purpose flour and salt, and stir to combine. Make a well in the center of the mixture, add the eggs, and then beat the eggs with a fork.
- Add in the milk a little bit at a time, while gradually mixing-in all of the flour from the edges of the bowl. Once all of the milk and flour has been incorporated, it should resemble a thin batter.
- Transfer the batter to a blender, and blitz until very smooth. Let the batter sit (covered) in the fridge for 20 - 30 minutes.
- Preheat a skillet over medium-low heat, and then grease with cooking oil spray. For each crepe, add ¼ cup of batter and then swirl the skillet to spread the batter into a thin layer. Cook the crepe for 1 ½ - 2 minutes on one side, flip (use a spatula), and cook for 30 seconds - 1 minute on the other side. Transfer the crepe to a plate.
- Repeat Step 5 for the remaining crepes. Before cooking each crepe, stir the batter to ensure that the oat flour doesn’t sink to the bottom. Also, don’t forget to spray the skillet with cooking oil before each and every crepe.
- The cooked crepes can be covered with foil and kept warm in the oven (on a low heat – approximately 160 - 200°F, or 70 - 100°C). Alternatively, reheat them quickly in the microwave. Enjoy!