You might know my aunt Masy (pronounced MAH-see) from her kadeh, lawash, kbeibat, kleicha, or chipteh. She’s the most creative and resourceful cook, and the couple of recipes I’ve shared barely scratch the surface. My cousins Kris, Krissy, and Sourma (Masy’s kids) all describe her as passionate and proud, and stubborn yet flexible; she’s so good at throwing ingredients together, making substitutions, and making do with what’s around. Sometimes this results in disaster, but it just rolls off her back (something I aspire to). And sometimes her ingenuity results in the most amazing food you’ve ever had in your life. Take her crêpes, for instance. She’s got them down to a science.
Besides their total perfection, my favorite thing about Masy’s crêpes is that you can make them with just one single bowl. Crêpe batter is super thin, and therefore hard to mix together, so most recipes have you use a blender to make sure it turns out lump-free. Indeed, if you were to just dump and stir all the ingredients together, you would have a really hard time getting a smooth and silky consistency. Blenders work great, and some are even almost easy to clean, but nothing beats a single mixing bowl dirtied in pursuit of breakfast. And if you have a digital scale (or if you have that sixth sense digital scale brain, like Masy), you don’t even need to dirty a single measuring cup. But no worries if you don’t—I’ve provided both volume and weight.
The key to using a bowl instead of a blender is to add the liquid slowly. First, you mix the eggs and butter with the dry ingredients until they smooth out. Then you slowly add half of the milk while whisking, and finish it by adding the rest of the milk and giving it one last whisk. It comes together into a silky smooth batter in no time.
Not only are blenders annoying to clean—they also limit the amount of batter you can make. But using Masy’s technique, you can make as much crêpe batter as your mixing bowl will allow. Crêpes keep super well (I’ve got storage instructions at the end of the recipe), and they disappear quickly, so in this case, more is always better.
One last thing I love: Masy cooks her crêpes over a higher heat than I’ve seen in most other recipes. She really lets the pan preheat, until the butter sizzles and browns almost immediately. They get a slightly caramelized brown butter flavor, which brings out their sweetness.
I’ve been enjoying them with orange blossom-scented passion fruit and a little drizzle of sweetened condensed milk, but they are delicious with just about anything. If you want to adapt this recipe for a savory crêpe filling, add just one teaspoon of sugar instead of three tablespoons, sprinkle on just a pinch more salt, and add some chopped herbs to the batter.
yield: about 12 big or 15 medium crêpes
total time: 30 minutes
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4 tablespoons (57 grams) butter, melted
3 tablespoons sugar (41 grams)
6 large eggs at room temperature* (308 grams)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (2 grams)
1/4 teaspoon salt (1.5 grams)
1 1/4 cup flour (200 grams)
2 cups room temperature milk (470 grams) (which you’ll add in 2 additions)
More butter for the pan (have a half stick ready, although you won't use it all)
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and salt until well combined. Don’t add the milk yet.
Add the flour to the egg mixture, and whisk together until there are no dry lumps (don't worry too much about over-mixing, but do stop when there are no more dry lumps).
Slowly dribble in the first half of the milk, while whisking. Then whisk in the other half of the milk. You should end up with a smooth, lump-free batter.
Place a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, and let it pre-heat for a couple minutes. Get ready to move.
Peel back the butter wrapper halfway, and swipe the butter over the surface of the hot pan. It should sizzle and begin to turn brown after a couple seconds (but it shouldn't burn). Pour about 1/4 cup (more or less, depending on the size of your pan) into the buttered pan, and quickly tilt the pan around to coat the surface evenly. Let it cook for about 1 minute, then flip and cook for 30 more seconds (the fastest way is to flip it mid-air with the pan, but that takes a little practice. Watch some youtube tutorials and give it a try).
Remove finished crepes to a plate to cool, and continue cooking the rest of the batter. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for a few days (reheat in the same pan for about 30 seconds, or microwave briefly). Crêpes have a high ratio of egg:flour, so they do alright in the refrigerator, but for longer-term storage, place them in a gallon-size freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, simply leave them in the refrigerator overnight or gently microwave them.
crêpes with orange blossom passion fruit
1 batch of crêpes (above)
6 ripe passion fruits
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons orange blossom water
sweetened condensed milk
Carefully scrape the passion fruit pulp into a bowl. Add a little orange blossom water, to taste (between 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon per 1 passion fruit—keep it subtle), and gently stir together.
Fold the crêpes up and serve at the table with the passion fruit and sweetened condensed milk on the side.
* Put the in-shell eggs in hot tap water for about 5 to 10 minutes to bring them to room temperature. For the milk, microwave it for a few seconds to take the chill off.