Crêpes make a cook look good. People think they’re hard, but they’re really just very thin pancakes with a fancy French name. Eating them—at least neatly—is more of a challenge than assembling them. This version combines some of my favorite flavors in an irresistible although sometimes sloppy filling. Meaty mushrooms, smoked paprika, and a swirl of decadent cream all come together in a satisfying dish that’s rich but not too heavy.
Recipe courtesy of The Messy Baker from Charmian Christie ©2014. Photographs © Ryan Szulc. Published by HarperCollins Canada. All rights reserved.
Prep Time: 30 mins. | Cook Time: 10 mins. | Makes: 6-8 crepes.
1⁄2 cup milk
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter, plus more for frying
1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
Generous pinch of fine sea salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 small onion, very finely chopped
1 clove garlic, grated on a microplane
1⁄2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 tablespoons tomato paste
8 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms (about 4 cups)
1⁄4 teaspoon fine sea salt, or more to taste
1⁄4 cup heavy cream
1⁄4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Fresh ground black pepper
1. To make the crêpes: In a blender, puree the milk, eggs, melted butter, flour, and salt until smooth. Set the batter aside at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour. (You can make the crêpe batter the night before. Just cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Before cooking, allow the batter to come to room temperature.) While the batter rests, make the filling.
2. To make the filling: In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat the butter until it melts and bubbles. Cook the onion until soft and just beginning to turn golden. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or two. Add the smoked paprika, sweet paprika, and tomato paste and cook until the spices and tomato paste have blended with the onion. Add the mushrooms and salt and cook until the mushrooms are soft. Add the cream, sour cream, and lemon juice, stirring to make a thick sauce. Taste. Add more salt if needed and a good grinding of black pepper. Remove the pan from the heat. Cover it to keep the sauce warm while you cook the crêpes.
3. Heat an 8″ nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Brush with a bit of melted butter for the first crêpe. Pour 2 to 3 tablespoons of batter into the pan and tilt the pan in a circular motion so the batter covers the bottom in a thin layer. Cook for 45 to 60 seconds, or until the edge of the crêpe is brown and flecked with tiny bubbles and the middle looks dull. Turn and cook for 30 to 45 seconds.
The second side should be cooked but will not be as dark as the first side. (Consider the first crêpe a trial run. They rarely work out, so don’t panic. By the second or third, you should be turning like a pro.)
4. Place the crêpe flat on a plate. Scoop 1⁄4 cup of the mushroom filling into its center and spread down the length of the crêpe. Fold the sides over the filling. Drizzle some filling sauce on top for show. Repeat with the remaining batter. You may or may not need to brush the pan again with butter for subsequent crêpes. Eat while hot.
NOTE: Unfilled leftover crêpes can be stored between sheets of waxed paper and refrigerated for up to 4 days. Reheat in a hot skillet for a few seconds, fill, fold, and enjoy. The filling can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Don’t have a microplane? Then crush the clove of garlic and put “microplane” on your shopping list. It’s worth the money and drawer space, as it can grate frozen ginger (see tip on page 62), zest citrus, turn block chocolate into fine shavings, and even grate hard cheeses like Parmesan.