Crêpes bretonnes
I grew up watching my Breton grand-mother making crêpes on her galettière, a large, flat cast-iron disk. Frying-pan crêpes are an entirely different breed and after such a spoiled childhood it took me a while to fine tune a batter I liked. I stopped at this recipe, which yields light and deliciously flavoured crêpes with perfectly crispy edges. Serve them sprinkled with sugar or with a savoury filling - a sure way to spread happiness around you.

Crêpes bretonnes

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Recipe by: Anne-Laure at Tasty Diaries
Busy:30 minutes (plus 2 hours marinating time), Total prep time: 30 minutes
Serves: 15-18 crepes 
Mix the flour, sugar (if using) and salt. Make a pit in the middle of the flour mixture and add the beaten eggs, vanilla extract and orange blossom water. Stir the liquids into the flour with a wooden spoon until no dry flour shows. Add the milk little by little, then the water, stirring the batter constantly. Melt the butter, add it to the batter and mix gently.

Allow the batter to rest for at least 2 hours before making the crepes. If you can, take the batter out of the fridge at least one hour beforehand and give it a good stir just before using it.

Warm up a large non-stick frying pan. Once the pan is hot, place a knob of butter in a square of kitchen towel and rub the inside of the pan with the butter. Take the pan off the heat and pour a ladle (about 60 mL) of batter on it. Rotate the pan with your wrist to allow the batter to spread on the entire surface of the pan. Place it back on the hob and cook on medium heat for 1 minute or so, until the bottom side of the crêpe is browned. Turn the crêpe over and cook for another minute. You can add the filling at this stage (reduce the heat to low) or transfer the crêpe to a plate if you want to make them all at once. If making these for dessert, sprinkle each crêpe with a bit of sugar. Don't worry if the first crêpe does not come out right, the first one is often a miss as the heat has not had time to spread properly across the entire pan yet. Don't bin it though, eat it - the cook's privilege. If the batter feels a bit thick, add a bit more water.

Rub some butter on the pan and make the next crêpe.

Savoury filling ideas:

  • "Crêpe complète" (a Breton classic): place a slice of cooked ham in the middle of the crêpe, crack open one egg on top and sprinkle grated comté cheese around the yolk. Once the egg white is cooked, sprinkle with pepper and fold the sides of the crêpe on top of the filling and into a square shape, leaving the yolk to show at the center.

  • Cooked mushrooms and cream

  • Roquefort and pear, with roquette on top

  • Butter-braised leeks and pancetta

  • Simply ham and cheese

  • Goat's cheese and onion confit

  • Goat's cheese and cooked spinach

  • Melted salted butter (sooo bad but soooo good!)


Sweet filling ideas:

  • Sugar (my favorite)

  • Dark chocolate shavings

  • Nutella (a must in my family!)

  • Fruit jams

  • Fruit purée or cooked fruits - try butter-caramelised apples slices and once the crêpe and its filling are hot, add one tablespoon of Grand Marnier on top,  light it up and watch the blue flames do their job. So delicious!

  • Banana slices and chocolate

  • Agave syrup

Mix the flour, sugar (if using) and salt. Make a pit in the middle of the flour mixture and add the beaten eggs, vanilla extract and orange blossom water. Stir the liquids into the flour with a wooden spoon until no dry flour shows. Add the milk little by little, then the water, stirring the batter constantly. Melt the butter, add it to the batter and mix gently.

Allow the batter to rest for at least 2 hours before making the crepes. If you can, take the batter out of the fridge at least one hour beforehand and give it a good stir just before using it.

Warm up a large non-stick frying pan. Once the pan is hot, place a knob of butter in a square of kitchen towel and rub the inside of the pan with the butter. Take the pan off the heat and pour a ladle (about 60 mL) of batter on it. Rotate the pan with your wrist to allow the batter to spread on the entire surface of the pan. Place it back on the hob and cook on medium heat for 1 minute or so, until the bottom side of the crêpe is browned. Turn the crêpe over and cook for another minute. You can add the filling at this stage (reduce the heat to low) or transfer the crêpe to a plate if you want to make them all at once. If making these for dessert, sprinkle each crêpe with a bit of sugar. Don’t worry if the first crêpe does not come out right, the first one is often a miss as the heat has not had time to spread properly across the entire pan yet. Don’t bin it though, eat it – the cook’s privilege. If the batter feels a bit thick, add a bit more water.

Rub some butter on the pan and make the next crêpe.

Savoury filling ideas:

  • “Crêpe complète” (a Breton classic): place a slice of cooked ham in the middle of the crêpe, crack open one egg on top and sprinkle grated comté cheese around the yolk. Once the egg white is cooked, sprinkle with pepper and fold the sides of the crêpe on top of the filling and into a square shape, leaving the yolk to show at the center.
  • Cooked mushrooms and cream
  • Roquefort and pear, with roquette on top
  • Butter-braised leeks and pancetta
  • Simply ham and cheese
  • Goat’s cheese and onion confit
  • Goat’s cheese and cooked spinach
  • Melted salted butter (sooo bad but soooo good!)

Sweet filling ideas:

  • Sugar (my favorite)
  • Dark chocolate shavings
  • Nutella (a must in my family!)
  • Fruit jams
  • Fruit purée or cooked fruits – try butter-caramelised apples slices and once the crêpe and its filling are hot, add one tablespoon of Grand Marnier on top,  light it up and watch the blue flames do their job. So delicious!
  • Banana slices and chocolate
  • Agave syrup
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Rating: 5.0/5 (4 votes cast)
Crêpes bretonnes, 5.0 out of 5 based on 4 ratings
If making a crêpe dinner, prepare the batter without sugar so you can use them with both savoury and sweet fillings. I find the discrete vanilla extract and orange blossom water go well with savoury food, but if you don't fancy vanilla with your cheese, divide the batter into 2 bowls and add the vanilla, sugar and water in the desert bowl. Obviously, the best is to eat crêpes Breton style, making a buckwheat batter for savoury pancakes and reserving this recipe for sweet ones.

The resting time allows the flour to absorb the liquid and the flavours to mix, making the crêpes much tastier, easier to spread, and with a nicer texture.

If you have a good quality non-stick pan, rubbing butter between crêpes is not necessary after you've made the first one. I still do it anyway because I love the extra crispiness butter gives the crêpes, and because I am a Breton - butter is hard coded in my genetic make up.
Ingredients

200 g flour (or 120 g flour and 80 g wholemeal flour for a more nutritious batter)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1/2 L whole milk
4 tablespoons water
20 g butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 teaspoon orange blossom water (or brandy)

2 Comments to “Crêpes bretonnes”

  • lyn

    February 17th, 2010 at 6:27 pm


    how do you get the egg on a crepe complete to set before the bottom of the crepe burns????

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  • Anne-Laure

    February 22nd, 2010 at 11:50 am


    Hi Lyn,

    Buckwheat crepes are slow to brown so you should not have any problems if you reduce the heat to low before adding the egg and you spread the egg white as much as possible on the crepe so that it cooks faster. Folding the crepe back onto the white (once you add the cheese and ham), also accelerates the cooking. This method works well even with a crepe that has already been browned on both sides. Obviously if you are adding the filling as you make the crepes, add the egg right after turning the crepe over. I hope this helps! Anne-Laure

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