I remember the first time I had crêpes, more than twenty years ago at The Magic Pan on Boston's
Newbury Street. Of course I loved them; who doesn't? Savory or sweet, crêpes are lovely little
wrappers for dinner or dessert. Back then, I was a semi-starving college student with limited
kitchen privileges, so the idea of making crêpes myself never occurred to me.
Nearly Nina's Chocolate Crêpes
Fast forward to a few years ago, when Alton Brown, the chef-scientist of the Food Network, devoted
an entire episode to crêpes and some wonderful, innovative things you could do with them — like using
them as crusts for individual-serving-sized quiches. I was well into low carbing by then, and immediately
realized that low carb crêpes would be awesome. But with the easy availability of
low carb tortillas, my motivation to make low carb crêpes quickly slipped away.
Crêpes reappeared on my culinary horizon early last year when Nina Camic, a "blog friend" who loves
food and cooking at least as much as I do, posted her recipe for chocolate crêpes and sautéed strawberries.
I was intrigued.
I'd seen Alton Brown make crêpes and he made it look downright easy, but that's what Alton always does.
I'm relatively fearless in the kitchen, but I've learned from experience that I'm no Alton Brown. But
Nina's description of the process sounded simple, too, so maybe I really could make crêpes. I printed
out her recipe and filed it in my "ideas" folder, and that's how I ended up in the kitchen this week,
swirling crêpe batter in my smallest frying pan and seeing if I could ever flip one without ripping it
to shreds (answer: yes!).
Now, I feel silly for not attempting them before. It only takes a few minutes to put the batter together.
I thought it would take hours to cook up a batch of crêpes, but these were done in about 30 minutes, and
it doesn't take long to establish a rhythm. The first one or two weren't pretty, but they still tasted
good. Crêpes don't require a tremendous amount of skill, just a little patience and the will to experiment.
My husband and I enjoyed these very much, but my kids, who were, I think, expecting something like
chocolate chip pancakes, did not. These are a grown-up treat, not too sweet, and not overpowering with
their chocolate flavor; they present an array of possibilities.
Serve these as Nina did with sautéed strawberries, or even blueberries (I would add a tiny pinch of
cinnamon to sautéed blueberries), or filled with macerated berries and topped with whipped cream, ala
Strawberry Shortcake. Spread a crêpe with sugar-free jam or orange marmalade, or with a tablespoon or
two of ganache, then roll them up and sprinkle with some powdered erythritol. They'd be lovely drizzled
with Grand Marnier or another chocolate-friendly liqueur, too.
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 C heavy cream
- 1/2 C water
- 3 T low carb beer or seltzer water
- 2 T unsalted butter, melted
All of the ingredients should be at room temperature before you begin. If you take your eggs out of
the refrigerator, measure out the cream and the beer, and melt the butter, just leave them out for a
half-hour or so to warm up before you continue.
Fast method: put all the ingredients into your blender or food processor and process for about a minute,
until well blended.
By hand, sift the dry ingredients together into a small bowl.
In a larger bowl, beat the eggs with a fork or a whisk until they are light-colored and slightly foamy,
then add the cream, water, beer, and melted butter. Whisk thoroughly. Dump the dry ingredients into
the wet, and stir well, making sure there are no lumps.
Transfer the batter into a container you can easily pour from (a large measuring cup is ideal for this),
cover, and refrigerate. Let the batter rest for at least an hour, and up to 24 hours, before you cook
the crêpes. If you try to use the batter too soon, there will be too many bubbles and the crêpes will
tear more easily.
When you're ready to make the crêpes, take the batter out of the refrigerator and allow it to warm up for
15 minutes or so; room temperature is fine, too.
To cook, heat a small non-stick frying pan or crepe pan over medium-high heat, and spray liberally with
no-stick spray (canola oil). Alternately, you can brush the pan with butter, but I've found spraying to
be much less hassle. Let the oil heat for a moment, then swirl a small amount of batter, between 2 and
3 tablespoons, into the bottom of the pan. Tilt the pan all around to distribute the batter in an even
layer, then let the crêpe cook undisturbed for a minute or two until the top is set.
Now, comes the tricky part: because these crêpes are not made with regular flour, they are not as flexible
and strong as regular crêpes. That means they'll break easily. So, it's up to you whether or not you
want to attempt to flip them over or not. The best method for flipping is to loosen the crêpe all around
the sides, then tilt the pan and slide the crêpe about a third of the way down the side of the pan. Slide
a wide, thin spatula under the main part of the crêpe, then lift it up and flip it over in one motion.
Nina recommends using your hands as the crêpes aren't really very hot, but these crêpes are more fragile
than those in her original recipe.
If you decide to flip them, let them cook for about 30 seconds on the other side before sliding the
finished crêpe out of the pan. If you decide not to flip them, just let the crêpe cook until the top
is set and dry, then slide the crêpe on out.
Allow the cooked crêpe to cool while you give the pan another coating of oil spray or butter, and allow
the pan to heat up for a few seconds before swirling in another dollop of batter. Stack the crêpes
with wax paper or parchment between them so they don't stick together.
Wrap the stacked crêpes tightly in foil or plastic wrap, and store leftovers in the refrigerator for a
few days, or in the freezer for longer storage.
APPROXIMATE NUTRITION INFORMATION PER CRÊPE:
94 calories; 7 g fat; 3.6 g carbohydrate; 0.8 g fiber; 4.5 g protein.
Next month, I'll share some of your favorite lunches. In the meantime, if you have questions, comments, or suggestions,
I'd love to hear from you. My email box is always open.
Copyright © May 2006 Joan Hedman and Low Carb Luxury