Crepes with Homemade Strawberry Sauce

Warning: This Sunday, May 14, marks the day when most restaurants cater to people recognizing the hard work, love and devotion mothers give to their families. Consequently, most restaurants will be filled to the brim with families wanting to celebrate.

This means if you want to eat at a restaurant and you haven’t set a reservation for at least a couple weeks in advance, you will not be eating. You will most likely be waiting and waiting and then, guess what? You will be waiting some more.

French crepes for four to five people at a restaurant along with some non-alcoholic beverages and the service tip will end up costing $80 at a minimum. And that price will be a lot higher at the restaurants that are more service-oriented and trying to make your experience there worthwhile.

On the other hand, homemade crepes with homemade strawberry sauce for family and friends can cost as little as $10, a price much more suited for a college student wanting to say thanks to Mum or feed some roommates and friends on a day when nobody should be anywhere near a restaurant, let alone inside one.

(Step 1) Let’s get started. There are hundreds of different recipes for making crepes, but let’s avoid emptying our wallets to the used car salesmen of the artisanal flour and vanilla bean world while still using the recipe that would pass the taste test in any fancy Seattle eatery.

In a mixing bowl, add two large eggs, ¾ cup of milk, ½ cup of water, 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 3 tablespoons of melted butter, 2 ½ tablespoons of sugar and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Using a wire whisk, mix the ingredients together until no lumps appear in the batter. Refrigerate for one hour.

(Step 2) While the batter is refrigerating, in a small cooking pot, add 1 pound of destemmed, sliced fresh strawberries, ¼ cup of sugar, ¼ cup of water and squeeze half a fresh lemon, while avoiding getting any of the seeds in. Stir and bring mixture to a light boil for 20 minutes. Set aside. This sauce can be served hot or cold.

(Step 3) Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a small pan on low heat. Then set aside off of the burner.

(Step 4) Place a small- to medium-size non-stick pan on the burner turned to medium heat and allow it to heat up. Once heated, using a pastry brush, coat the pan with the butter you just melted. After stirring the crepe batter just a little bit, place an ounce of the mixture (about 2 tablespoons) in the middle of the pan. Then immediately swirl the pan to spread the batter evenly into a circle.

Depending on how hot your pan is, it shouldn’t take more than 30 seconds to cook on the first side. You will see bubbles forming in the batter and the sides will turn dry and become slightly golden brown.

Flip it over using a thin silicon spatula. Personally, I like to use a thin wooden chopstick to flip it over by going under the crepe in the middle and raising it up as it folds in half.

You can also try the pan flipping method to see if the ceiling does, in fact, get in the way. Disclosure: it might.

Once flipped, it should only take about 10 more seconds. Using the pan to guide your crepe to a waiting serving plate, slightly tilt the pan to allow the crepe to slide out.

The first crepe is sometimes referred to as the sacrificial crepe as it will burn due to excessive heat being stored in the pan.

Note that cooking the first crepe will cool down your pan a little bit, so don’t turn down the heat too much if you make any adjustments based on the outcome of your first crepe.

Your ideal cooking temperature should coincide with the crepe cooking to a golden brown color in 30-45 seconds on the first side. The second side is always going to be about 10 seconds.

Repeat the steps while adjusting the heat as needed. Go ahead and place the cooked crepes on one plate on top of each other as the most recently cooked crepe will keep the others below it warm.

(Step 5) Serve the stacked crepes in the middle of the table with whatever accompanying accoutrements you desire. Your homemade strawberry sauce will be a hit for sure, but there are many other options to consider. These include any fruit jam or preserve, Nutella, peanut butter, fresh cut fruit, canned peaches, vanilla yogurt, whipped cream and so much more.

Spread on a thin layer of whatever you decide and either roll your crepe or fold it in half once and then in half again. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if you want. Enjoy.

Recipe Box

Ingredients to have on hand: 1 cup all-purpose flour, 2 large eggs, ¼ cup milk, 1 cup of granulated or raw sugar, 1 pound fresh strawberries, 2 tsp vanilla extract, ½ fresh lemon and 1 stick of butter.

Optional: powdered sugar, your choice of fresh or canned fruit, vanilla yogurt, whipped cream, Nutella and/or peanut butter.

Step 1: Whisking together eggs, flour, butter, water, sugar and vanilla to make the crepe batter.
Step 2: Making fresh strawberry sauce using fresh strawberries, sugar, water, lemon and heat.
Step 3: Slowly melt butter that will be used to cook the crepes in a pan.
Step 4: In a preheated pan, cook crepes to a golden brown color and flip to finish.
Step 5: Many serving options other than strawberry sauce like vanilla yogurt and fresh fruit.

-Martin Musialczyk