Today I thought I’d show you how to make french Crêpes, using the recipe I got from the French family I lived with for a week in my teens.
But first, here’s a little background story about how I came to acquire this recipe.
When I was in my early teens, I attended a Swedish-French school from 10-12th grade. I was thrust into a class full of kids who had grown up speaking French, either with a French parent or having attended the school since kindergarten. I, on the other hand, had very basic skills in the language and during my three years at this school I never managed to come close to catching up to my classmates.
It was three years of pushing through daily french lessons, difficult exams and a near constant inability to communicate. This of course became all the more obvious when my class travelled to France to live with a French family for a week. I got by with gesticulations and charades to make “conversation” with my host family, and they of course did the same in return. The mother would raise her voice more and more as she repeatedly tried to explain something to me in French. The more confused I looked – desperately trying to make out what she was saying – the more she would raise her voice. You ever notice how we do that when we try to communicate to someone who doesn’t speak our language? It’s like an instinctual reaction to raise our voice when someone doesn’t understand us, as if they’re struggling to hear us.
The youngest boy in the family must have been about 5 years old at the time. He was the cutest thing and found it so funny how I spoke his language in such a strange way. He would storm into my room and blabber stories to me in French and I’d make goofy faces at him in reply, having no idea what he was saying. Whenever I did say something in French to him he’d burst out laughing. Needless to say, he was thoroughly entertained that week.
Despite my struggles, I had a good time with my famille française and today, some 20 years later, I still have a hand written recipe for Crêpes that I got from them. This weekend I blew the dust off the recipe card and made my boyfriend and I mushroom and spinach Crêpes for lunch. Now I want to share this very special recipe with you.
How to make French Crêpes // Crêpe Françaises
Recipe yields about 8-10 crêpes
500 grams plain flour
1 litre warm milk (heated)
3 tablespoons oil
Optional (if making sweet crêpes) – 1 flavouring of choice:
– lemon zest
– orage extract
1 red or yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
500 grams button mushrooms, sliced or chopped
150 grams fresh spinach
150 grams grated cheese (use Raclette cheese if you can get it, otherwise a mix of 2-3 flavourful cheeses)
Heat the milk to lukewarm temperature in the microwave. Using an electric beater, briefly whisk together the eggs, milk and oil. Sift in the flour and mix again. Set aside while you prepare your fillings.
In a nonstick pan over medium heat, fry the onions and garlic until soft. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Fry until the mushrooms are soft, then set aside.
To make the crêpes: Heat a nonstick frying pan with a little bit of oil. Ladle the batter into the frying pan and swirl it around to fill the pan. Don’t use too much batter, you want a thin pancake. Fry until the top starts to look a little cooked (i.e. the batter isn’t wet on the side facing you). Add your mushroom filling, cheese and a handful of fresh spinach to half the crêpe and carefully fold it in half to close it. Fry for an additional 3-5 minutes until the cheese has melted, then transfer to a plate and serve.
For sweet crêpes: mix in your flavouring (zest, rum or extract) when combining the wet ingredients. Fry like a regular pancake and then add your sweet toppings (Nutella, fresh berries, syrup or sugar) before serving. Enjoy!