French crepes with 'The Bonne Femme'

February 23, 2012 9:45:54 AM PST
Crepes are good for casual meals -- and, of course, dessert! 'The Bonne Femme' cookbook dishes up delicious, easy, everyday French recipes- including crepes.


From the Bonne Femme Cookbook: Simple, Splendid Food That French Women Cook Every Day, by Wini Moranville (Harvard Common Press; Boston; $24.95).

Crepes, like fondue, go in and out of fashion in our country. But make them at home, and you'll find they're worth keeping at the top of your mind for light, casual dinners and, of course, desserts. Crepes with leftover ham or chicken in béchamel sauce, invigorated with a sprinkling of fresh herbs, make an incredibly satisfying lunch or supper.

When serving crepes as a savory course or side dish, you can just roll the crepe around the filling. However, when serving crepes as a dessert, the French often fold each crepe in half and then in half again to form a wedge, then top the wedge with the featured ingredient (rather than tucking it inside).

  • 3/4 cup 2 percent or whole milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus additional melted butter for the pan
  • Pinch of salt

1. Place the milk, water, eggs, flour, melted butter, and salt in a blender in the order given. Pulse until blended, scraping down the sides of the blender container once. Refrigerate the batter for at least 1 hour and up to 48 hours. (This allows the bubbles to settle out so the crepes are less likely to tear dur¬ing cooking.)

2. If the batter has separated during refrigeration, stir it gently to blend. Because each crepe needs to cool individually on a plate, set four plates (at least 7 inches in diameter) on a countertop, ready and waiting to receive the just-made crepes.

3. Brush the bottom of a 6- to 7-inch nonstick skillet with melted butter to coat it lightly. Heat over medium-high heat. Remove the pan from the heat and pour a scant 1/4 cup batter into the hot pan, quickly swirling the pan to coat the bottom with batter. Return the pan to the heat and cook until the crepe is lightly browned on the bottom and loosened from the pan, about 30 seconds. Using a thin pancake turner or heatproof spatula, flip the crepe and cook for about 30 sec¬onds more.

4. Slide the crepe out of the pan and onto one of the plates. Repeat with the remaining batter, buttering the pan only if necessary. (Reduce the heat to medium if the crepes start to brown too quickly.) Once you've made 4 crepes, you can start stacking the cooled crepes, freeing up a plate for stack¬ing the next one hot out of the pan. 5. For savory crepes place about 1/4 cup of the filling in the bottom third of a flat crepe, then roll it up. Place the crepe on a plate seam side down. For dessert crepes, fold each crepe in half and then in half again to form a wedge, then top the wedge with the featured ingredient.

Find out how to freeze crepes at

  • Crepes freeze well up to 2 weeks.
  • Thaw in the refrigerator or in the microwave.
  • Once thawed, reheat crepes in the microwave, 15 to 30 seconds each, or warm gently in a skillet.

    Serving Ideas for Crepes:
  • Butter and Sugar. This is the simplest way, and perfect for after-school or tea-time snacks. Drizzle the folded crepe with a little melted butter and sprinkle it with sugar and, if you like, a little cinnamon.
  • Nutella. Slather the crepe with some of this much-loved chocolate-hazelnut spread, then fold. Top with bananas, if you like.
  • Chocolate-Almond. Fold the crepe and drizzle with chocolate sauce. Top with whipped cream and toasted sliced almonds.
  • Pineapple-Caramel. Warm some caramel sauce and pineapple chunks together; fold the crepe, then top with the sauce, vanilla ice cream, and chopped toasted macadamia nuts.
  • Strawberry-Orange. Fold the crepe and sprinkle with Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur. Top with sweetened fresh strawberries and whipped cream.
  • Fôret Noire (Black Forest). Fold the crepe and sprinkle with cherry liqueur or brandy. Top with sweetened fresh cherries, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and chocolate shavings.

About Wini Moranville, author of "The Bonne Femme" cookbook

Wini Moranville is the author of The Bonne Femme Cookbook (Harvard Common Press; October 2011; Boston), which she wrote after nearly 20 years of spending major stretches of her summers in France, where she learned an easy-everyday side of French cooking. In her book, Wini has combined her expertise as a food writer and editor with her culinary experiences in France to come up with more than 250 recipes that reveal the simple yet life-enhancing appeal of French home cooking. Wini writes a monthly wine column for Relish magazine, a monthly food magazine with a circulation of over 15 million. She has also contributed to many cookbooks and food publications, including Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, and Country Home, Creative Home, and MasterChef magazines. Find her online at

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