Crepes: doesn’t sound too manly; sounds like quiche, and sounds like a whole lot of work. But these thin French pancakes are easy to prepare and extremely useful when making game dishes. With so many types of crepes, they are great for utilizing leftovers, they offer recipe options for those less tender cuts of meat. Crepes are fun to prepare, gather family and friends together and make a large batch. Then freeze in packages of 8-12 crepes. These packages freeze fast, thaw fast and you only take out what you need. They can be stored in the refrigerator and used at your convenience. The ingredients used to prepare these thin French pancakes can easily be found in almost everyone’s pantry. They consist of milk, eggs, flour, cornstarch, oil, and sometimes a bit of salt and/or sugar. If you choose not to prepare crepes from scratch, you can always purchase them at your local supermarket.
Types of Crepes
Crepes can be used to line pie tins and use as a pie or tart shell. Line a muffin tin for small appetizers, fold like a wonton and fry, wrap like a burrito, or shape like a ravioli. Many pasta-style dishes can be prepared using types of crepes, such as manicotti and cannelloni. Crepes can be used in lasagna or used as layers to assemble a cake. These flat pancakes can be used as breakfast and lunch wraps. Crepes are most often filled, rolled, baked, and served with a sauce. The gazillion-type fillings are what makes crepes so versatile. I’m sure everyone has had the opportunity to attend a nice Sunday brunch. Many times you will find beautifully arranged chaffing dishes filled with a variety of different kinds of crepes. Crepes are presented elegantly, they are easy to serve, and can be prepared ahead, sauced, and heated for service. The choice of fillings is what is exciting, you can fill with smoked salmon, crab, spinach, cheese, and top with sour cream. I like to fill it with a combination of rabbit and pheasant, mushrooms, and Boursin cheese. Crepes can be used in place of tortillas for sandwich and breakfast wraps, they can be used in place of lettuce for crepe wraps. The more you use your imagination the more uses you will create. I almost forgot to mention there are always the classic dessert crepe dishes such as crepe suzette and blintzes. Fill them with your favorite sweet cheese and fruit preserves, roll like a burrito, and fry in butter.
For hunting camp, prepare a filling using a combination of all your small game meat. Cook the birds and rabbit in broth, simmer until meat falls off the bone, and cool. Pull the meat and reserve, and strain this fortified flavorful broth. Sauté some onions and mushrooms, thicken the broth into a sauce, and add the pulled meat back to this thick mixture. Roll the filling in any of the types of crepes you prefer, butter shallow Pyrex dish or low roasting pan, saucepan, add filled crepes, and top with sauce and cheese. Freeze. When in hunting camp and you get back from a cold day in the woods, through this pan into your oven, go get cleaned up, put your guns and game away, and dinner will be served; the same type of presentation as would be for enchiladas!
Other Uses of Crepes
Sometimes we end up with broken, torn, folded-not-perfect crepes. These misfits can be utilized such as-slice thin and use soft as-is, or fried, and made crispy. Use as an ingredient or garnish for soups and salads. The crispy strips work well as the crunch component for a hot entree. These crisps can be used as ingredients in vegetables, omelets, and starchy dishes. The soft crepe strips can be prepared like leftover spaghetti, or as an ingredient like breadcrumbs in meatloaf.
Crepes are fun, fast, and easy to make. There are many videos out there on different techniques when cooking them.
When I worked in a Greek and Italian restaurant I would prepare a five-gallon bucket of crepe batter and use six blue steel sauté pans to prepare crepes. It takes a bit of time to manage more than one pan, but it sure is fun trying.
Prepare the batter, using melted butter or oil. Mix the dry ingredients, add the liquid to the dry ingredients adding the oil or butter last. Mix the eggs well before adding the milk so you get the yolks broken and totally mixed before adding milk. Let the crepe batter rest for half hour before using.
Things to Keep in Mind
Here are the key steps in crepe preparation:
- Have all your mise en place (everything in its place) ahead of time.
- Have one or two seasoned (so nothing sticks) or nonstick sauté pans. The size of the pan will determine the size of the crepe, example 6” pan= 6” crepe. I prefer an 8-10” pan for entrée crepes and a 6-8” pan for dessert and appetizer crepes.
- I like to use a squirt bottle with oil. Use oil that has a high smoke point like avocado or canola oil
- Paper towels or side towels to wipe pans, be careful when using paper so you don’t start a fire.
- Have 2-3 cookie sheets with wax paper or parchment paper or a lot of counter space lined with parchment. Because you need this space to spread out cooked crepes for cooling.
- The correct size ladle is one of the most important tools when preparing crepes. The correct size for the pan surface will make cooking crepes much easier and more consistent. It’s all about the amount of batter, time, and temperature.
- Heat-resistant rubber spatula to aid in flipping and removing crepe from the pan.
- Heat the pan.
- Lightly coat the pan with oil, either by squirting and pouring off excess oil or rubbing with oil saturated towel.
- Pour the correct amount of batter into the pan as you twirl the pan so the batter cooks as it rolls around the bottom of the pan. The batter should be used up as it covers the entire bottom of the pan and slightly up the beveled edges.
- The batter should be used up once the bottom of the pan is covered, it should cook away from the pan within a minute of pouring the batter into the pan. I flip the crepe by using a sauté flipping action but if that doesn’t work, use a heat-resistant spatula. Flip the crepe keeping it fully round and not folded anywhere. Cook on the second side for a minute. Once fully cooked slide out onto parchment to cool. Do not stack while warm.
- Place the pan back on heat immediately, the key is keeping the pan at the same consistent temperature so it does not cool down. Add more batter and repeat. Once you get good at it, try adding a second pan. The crepe is cooked once all moist spots are congealed. The first side bottom will sometimes be slightly brown, no problem, just don’t brown too much.
- Once crepes are cooled. You can stack in piles of four-six crepes before placing wax paper in-between stacks. Now you have a separation point when removing it from the freezer. I like to use parchment paper which is stronger than wax paper and will be easier to separate when frozen.
Check out various types of crepes recipes we have by clicking here or the button below. Take some photos of your crepes and send them to us!