Buttery and tender crêpes, that’s what I can promise you with my beloved family recipe! These are traditional crêpes from the North of France so there is beer in the batter (no, no, don’t close the page) and the crêpes are de-li-cious. You can barely taste the beer but it gives such a light and soft texture to crêpes, once you try it you can’t go back.
This recipe is time tested, foolproof and you won’t have any problem flipping your golden brown crêpes. You can make the batter the night before and be sipping a cup of café au lait while cooking crêpes in the morning. Decadent breakfast incoming!
BEER IN THE BATTER
My dad is from the North of France and it’s very common there (and in Britany) to replace a part of the milk with beer. The carbon dioxide present in the drink, due to the fermentation process, gives a lighter texture to crêpes. The yeast also softens the crêpes and make them less brittle. It’s a win-win if you like light and tender crêpes ! Don’t use a spicy or bitter beer though, or the taste will be too overpowering.
Low fermentation beers that are light such as pale lagers work best with crêpes batter. These crêpes are really delicious, and I’m not just saying it because I grew up eating them. Adding beer to your batter might sound weird but you should definitely give it a go! I converted more than a few friends to batter made with beer!
➝ How to flavor the batter? It’s very common in France to add a little something to the batter. If you feel adventurous you can add either 1 tsp of vanilla extract, 1 tsp of orange blossom water, or 1 tsp of your preferred rum into the batter. For a more citrusy flavor, add the zest of 1 orange or lemon and 1 tbsp of its juice into the batter.
Traditionally crêpes are filled either with jam, sugar, whipped cream or chocolate hazelnut spread (cough cough we all know the one). You can obviously step up your game and deviate from these ‘safe’ choices. You could also fill them with lemon curd, chestnut cream, stewed or fresh fruits, salted caramel sauce, maple syrup, toasted nuts, honey, ice cream scoops,… Whatever floats your boat!
Note that if your crêpe is warm whipped cream or ice cream will turn into a pool in seconds. I would also advise to only fill half of a crêpe before folding it otherwise you end up only tasting the filling and not the crêpe. Crêpe is not just a conveyor for the filling, but a buttery and delicate thin pancake that you definitely want to taste!
I know it makes me sound like a child but I would pick Nutella other any other filling any time! Growing up on an island, it was sometimes hard to come by some stuff when the port workers were on strike. I remember that my dad once rode for hours looking for a store that still had Nutella because he was planning on making crêpes for dinner. I told him I was just as fine with sugar but he would not stop until he had found it. He’s a man of a few words but I definitely felt how much he loved me on this day.
USE A FLAT NON-STICK PAN
A crêpes pan is flat and circular. It has to have low sides so you can easily turn your crêpes over with a spatula or a flick of the wrist. It’s made out of different materials but most people use non-stick pans. They are so easy and stress-free to use, I would highly encourage you to use a non-stick pan too. If you can find a heavy-based one, even better ! Sure it takes longer to heat up, but the heat will diffuse more evenly across the pan.
There are different sizes of pans. Mine is 25cm (10 in) and with this recipe I can make around 14 crêpes. If you use a bigger pan you’ll end up with fewer crêpes, and vice versa if you use a smaller pan you’ll end up with more. This type of pan has more than one use, we also cook omelets with it. If you don’t want to invest in a pan that’s limited to breakfast stuff, I get it.
You can use any pan as long as it’s non-stick or at least well-seasoned (seriously do yourself a favor). It should also be large enough so you can pour a thin batter coating and effectively spread it by swirling the pan. You don’t want to end up with a thick crêpe that’s a cross between a crêpe and a pancake, because your pan was too small and did not have room for the batter.
KEEP THE CRÊPES WARM
➝ How to keep the crêpes warm while cooking the rest? In France the ‘pan’ method is pretty widely used. It is by far easier than layering crêpes with greaseproof paper or sticking them in the oven, which tends to dry them out. Before cooking your first crêpe, half-fill a saucepan with water and bring it to a simmer over low heat. Put a plate on top of the saucepan and place your cooked crêpes on the hot plate. Once you added the last crêpe, cover the stack with an upside-down plate and carefully bring it to the table. Voilà !
KEEP THE BATTER
If you are not going to eat all the crêpes straightaway, I would say it’s better not to cook all them. Cooked crêpes tend to dry out in the fridge no matter what you use to cover them with (there’s a whole aluminum foil vs plastic wrap debate). If you reheat them in the microwave, they will soften a bit but their texture will be far less tender than when you had just cooked them.
The batter keeps in the fridge for just as long as cooked crêpes if it’s properly covered. So if I know I’m not going to eat all the crêpes, I would keep the batter in the fridge and make some fresh ones the day after. It’s slightly more work because you have to reheat the pan, melt some butter (redo the dishes) but the crêpes will be way better. Totally worth it for some heavenly buttery warm crêpes.
CRÊPES FOR DINNER
I know it might sound weird but in my family we were having crêpes for dinner ! Not the savory type from Britanny made with buckwheat flour and stuffed with ham, cheese and a sunny side up egg, but proper sweet ones. Walking down the stairs and seeing a big pile of warm crêpes surrounded by pots of jams, Nutella and sugars (caster, brown, and vergeoise because everyone had its favorite) was the best sight ever ! We were all waking up at different times on the weekend and we all had our own plans so we never had breakfast together as a family, except on Easter day. So, having a crêpes night once a month was the best way to remedy this.
I wish I could tell I kept the tradition going once I moved to my own place, but truth be told I tend to forget about crêpes until Chandeleur (Candlemas) comes up. Everyone eats crêpes in France on the second of February, and all the shops are stocked up with crêpes pans and jars of Nutella in preparation. I never miss making crêpes on this day ! However, I was recently reminded about how much I love my parents’ crêpes when I visited them for the winter holidays and I decided to make crêpes way more often.
Making crêpes once a month is going to be my new year’s resolution for 2021 and I get the feeling I might actually keep a resolution this time around. Crêpes are so comforting and we all need comfort !
Are you looking for other breakfasty ideas? Here are some of my favorite recipes:Print
Buttery and tender crêpes, that’s what I can promise you with my beloved family recipe! Crêpes are traditionally made with beer in the North of France. You can barely taste the beer but it gives an amazingly light and soft texture to crêpes.
- 75g butter (2.5 oz) (+ 1 tbsp to grease the pan)
- 300g flour (2 cups + 2 tbsp)
- 500ml whole milk (2 cups + 1 tbsp)
- 250ml pale ale (blond beer) (1 cup)
- 3 eggs, beaten
- Make the crêpes batter. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat then set aside. Put the flour in a mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Gradually whisk in the milk and beer into the bowl (you can use a whisk, a hand mixer or a blender) and mix until fully incorporated. Repeat this process with the eggs and then melted butter. The batter should be as thin as light/single cream. You can sieve the batter into another mixing bowl with a strainer to get rid of any lumps. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave the batter to rest in the fridge for at least 30 min.
- Prepare before cooking. Whisk the batter again for a few seconds and pour it into a big enough measuring cup/jug. I prefer not to use a ladle to pour batter into the pan as it takes too many precious seconds to add more batter if needed to cover the base of the pan. Crêpes batter cooks rapidly and I find it easier and quicker to pour it from a jug. Use whatever makes you feel more in control; whether it’s a measuring jug or a ladle.
- Pour batter into a pan. Melt 1 tbsp of butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Heat a crêpes pan (or a nonstick frying pan with low sides) over medium-high heat for a few minutes. To cook great crêpes the pan shouldn’t be smoking hot, but still pretty hot (like for a steak). Brush the pan with melted butter. Now holding the pan with one hand and the jug with the other, pour enough batter into the center of the pan to cover ¾ of its base. Then swirl the pan around, tilting it until the batter covers the whole base of the pan. A crêpe should be very thin.
- Cook the crêpe. Cook the crêpe for 2 to 3 min, until the edges start to crisp up and brown and the center has set and turned golden. You can check the color of the crêpe by gently lifting the edge with a spatula and having a quick look. Turn the crêpe over with a spatula. You can do the whole ‘flipping’ with the pan method but the outcome is less predictable. Sometimes I just grab the crêpes and turn it using my hands because I can’t be bothered. As long as you wait for the crêpe to have set enough before turning, you’ll be fine. Cook the other side for less long, about 30 seconds to 1 min.
- Repeat the process until all the batter is used. I follow the ‘pan’ method to keep the crêpes warm (check above in the post). In my family we brush the pan with butter between each crêpe. It’s not a necessity since it’s a non-stick pan BUT it makes them extra soft and buttery and who wouldn’t want that? If you’re having crêpes anyway it’s time to be extra!
You can keep crêpes batter for up to 2 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
You can keep cooked crêpes, placed in a plate covered with plastic wrap, in the fridge for up to 2 days.
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 171
- Fat: 6.2g
Keywords: french breakfast, beer crepes