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11/03/2011 05:49 pm ET | Updated Aug 31, 2012

How To Make Crepes

Many people are intimidated by the idea of making crêpes, but they're really just a French pancake, says chef Scott Swartz of The Culinary Institute of America. To begin, he makes a thin batter, starting with the dry ingredients. He adds 1/2 cup of flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a bowl. (The amount of sugar will vary depending on whether you're making a sweet or savory crêpe.) Once he's whisked that together, he adds 1 egg and 1 cup of milk. Basically, the ingredients are the same as if you were making a pancake, but you want batter that's much thinner. The consistency should look like half and half.

To cook the crêpes, he uses a nonstick omelet pan. He says there's absolutely no reason to buy a crêpe pan. He melts butter in the pan, then ladles in about 1 ounce of batter, spinning the pan so the batter runs all around the pan, coating the surface in a thin layer. When he sees the edges begin to brown, he slides a spatula under the crêpe and flips it. The second side just gets a brief time on the heat, about 30 seconds, then, using the spatula, he slides it out onto a plate.

To fill the crêpes, he places fresh blueberries and strawberries in the middle of the crêpes along with a sprinkle of sugar, then rolls them up.

For 60 years, The Culinary Institute of America has been setting the standard for excellence in professional culinary education. In this video series, experienced chefs and educators show you how to tackle essential cooking techniques.

Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Chef Scott Swartz from the Culinary Institute of America, and I'm going to show you this kitchen basic: how to make crepes.

Today we're going to make crepes. Crepes are very intimidating to people, but a crepe is really just a French pancake.

We're going to start by making the batter, and when you make your batter you want to start with your dry ingredients first. I've got half a cup of flour, and I've got about two tablespoons of sugar. The sugar quantity will vary, because sometimes you're going to do a savory crepe with a filling that's not sweet, and you'll want less sugar. So it will vary depending on usage. I've got half a teaspoon of salt - again, if it's a savory crepe, you might put a little more of that. I'll mix my dry ingredients to make sure my salt and sugar are mixed nicely with my flour. To my dry ingredients I'm first going to add one egg, and then I'm going to add one cup of milk. So our ingredients are basically the same as if I was making a pancake, but in this case I want my batter to be much thinner, so I'm just whisking it until its nice and smooth. Once my crepe batter is completely made, to check my consistency I'll use a ladle. When I pour it, it should look like the consistency of half and half - it's not really thick. like a pancake batter.

Today we're going to use a typical teflon omelet pan. There's no reason to run out and buy a crepe pan. I'll melt my butter in my pan first, and then I'm going to add my crepe batter. I want it to be nice and thin, so for a pan this size I'll use probably about one ounce of batter - and then I'll spin my pan so my crepe batter spreads out. That's one of the things that will make a thinner crepe, as opposed to that thicker pancake. I'm looking for it to cook now, to start bubbling up and give me that set beautiful appearance of a thin pancake, and I want it to turn golden brown. Once we get a little golden brown on the edges of the crepe, it's time to flip it. So we get our spatula underneath it, just like we would for a pancake, and flip it over. We've got a beautiful golden brown crepe, and I'm going to let the second side cook very lightly.

After about thirty seconds it's time to take our crepe out, so we'll slide our rubber spatula under it and slide it right out onto the plate. Then while our pan's still hot we want to continue and make another crepe. Again, about one ounce of batter per crepe; this is a two-ounce ladle, so about half a ladle. I'll start to spin the pan again. When it's finished cooking on the second side, I'll slide this on on the plate as well.

Now we'll take our crepes and fill them. We'll do one with blueberries, and one with strawberries. We put our blueberries down the middle, and sprinkle a little bit of sugar on top. You could have marinated your blueberries ahead of time; that would have been fine. Then we're going to roll them, so we get this beautiful rolled fruit crepe. This second one we'll do with strawberries - I have these beautiful fresh strawberries. We'll lay these right down the middle, and put a little bit of sugar on top. If you have a little liqueur, you can put a little liqueur on the berries; there are lots of different ways to flavor them. And then we'll roll this one up too. We could serve all kinds of different sauces with it, and we've got a beautiful dessert.

This is how you make crepes.