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The Morning Ritual

At the beginning of the pandemic, I started making traditional French crêpes every morning.

It was my youngest child who started the ritual. I had always struggled to find things to give this picky breakfast eater for the first meal of the day. While she loves foods more commonly served at lunch or dinner, cereal, muffins, and scrambled eggs left her cold. One morning, I decided to try crêpes. There may have been Nutella involved and the enthusiastic reaction started a trend that would last until well . . . now.

While I was happy that she was nourished, at some point I realized that making the crêpes had become a meaningful morning ritual for me. There was something about swirling the butter in the pan until it started to brown, then the sizzle of the batter hitting the hot metal and the little competition with myself each morning to see how quickly I could tip the pan to ensure a thin even coating and then most fluttery crêpe possible.

I even got a little superstitious about my crêpe making. If the crêpe came up golden brown, rather than an undercooked beige or overcooked chocolate color, it would be a good day. The designs that the quickly setting batter made as it cooked seemed a bit like divination, shapes in the tea leaves or in the clouds.

At first I followed a recipe that used white flour and contained a half cup or more of sugar, but in deference to well, nutrition, I started using whole grain flours (buckwheat is the traditional choice and I love the bold flavor of it), more and more each time, and eventually subtracting all the sugar. The picky eater was like the proverbial frog in boiling water! I also started putting things other than Nutella in the crêpes. Fresh fruit, yogurt, leftover beef stew. (Chili was not a good fit.) My favorite filling, I think, is perfectly fried or poached eggs with some sharp cheddar or gruyere cheese.

The basic recipe is as follows:

One heaping cup flour (I use almost all buckwheat or dark rye flour with a tablespoon of white but you can start by trying 2/3 cup buckwheat flour and 1/3 all purpose flour and adjusting from there.)

Two cups milk

Three eggs

Two tablespoons melted butter

Throw the liquid ingredients into the blender and blend them thoroughly. Add the flour in a thin stream while the blender is going, to get a smooth, well mixed batter.

Melt a bit of butter in your crêpe pan (or any large, shallow frying pan) and swirl to completely coat the surface of the pan. Then use a pitcher (I have one with a top on it that I use to store my crepe batter in the fridge so I can make enough for the entire week on Monday morning) to pour the batter into the pan, swirling it immediately so you get a thin layer of batter in the hot pan. It should be set within a minute or two and then you can flip it and let the other side get nice and lightly browned as well. When it's done, flip it out on to a plate and add your filling of choice: jam, lemon and sugar, apple butter, Nutella, fried eggs and cheese, leftover stew . . . the sky's the limit! Roll it up and enjoy!

Here's a good recipe that I used as my model, if you want it official!


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