Crêpes aux fraises

strawberry crepes1I spent years looking for a good crepe recipe until my daughter finally presented me with one. She found it in a French children’s cookbook — and indeed, once you get the hang of it, preparing crepes is child’s play. The ingredients couldn’t be simpler: flour, an egg, milk and a little vanilla. But the proportions, ah the proportions! Too much egg will turn your crepe into an omelet. Some French crepe recipes call for water instead of milk, and the resulting pancake tastes like cardboard. These strawberry crepes, in contrast, are tender and flavorful, a delightful concoction for spring.

Crêpes aux fraises / Strawberry crepes

As you may know if you live in France, but for the benefit of those who don’t, dessert crepes and savory crepes are made here with different kinds of flour. White wheat flour is used for the dessert variety given in this recipe, while buckwheat flour is used for savory crepes. Buckwheat (which, by the way, is gluten free) is known in French as blé noir or, more commonly, sarrasin. The word — Saracen in English — was used in the Middle Ages to denote Muslims from Arabia and, later, the Moors who migrated from North Africa to Spain and then into France. Darker complexioned than Europeans, they lent their name to buckwheat and the flour and crepes derived from it.

Now then. I’d like to give hearty thanks to all of you who responded to my call for ideas about a possible Everyday French Chef cookbook (you can see the replies at the bottom of my previous post). The consensus seems to be a book on modern everyday French cuisine organized in a seasonal way. I love that idea! Thank you. Now I’ll just have to (pardon the expression) carve out enough time to write it. In the meantime, happy cooking.

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4 Responses to Crêpes aux fraises

  1. Ellen A. says:

    Wonderful photo! Strawberry crepe on a vintage plate. Yum!

  2. Meg says:

    Hi Kerrie, hi Susan, and thanks so much for your comments. Now, here are some answers. In France, whipping cream is called ‘crème fleurette’. It comes in containers that look like mini milk cartons and, when chilled, whips up very nicely. The closest equivalent to sour cream is crème fraîche. If you’d like it to be a bit more sour, add a few drops of lemon juice. As for buckwheat crepes, I will definitely be giving you a recipe one of these days, although not necessarily in the next few weeks as I like to vary my offerings — one week soup, one week salads, one week fish, etc. There are no specific rules on folding, but it’s true that simple savory crepes — for example, with ham and cheese — are often served as you describe, with the edges folded inward to form an outer square with the filling visible in the center. More complex crepes sometimes need to be rolled. And dessert crepes may be folded in half, in quarters, rolled or served open-face. As Shakespeare says, it’s as you like it.

  3. Susan in Elora, Canada says:

    This is perfect Meg. Just got a crepe pan and have not been happy with the crepe batters I’ve tried. This goes on the menu for the weekend even though our local strawberries won’t be available for over a month.

    Now, how about a recipe for buckwheat crepes, and also some information on the various methods of folding/rolling the crepes? The buckwheat crepes that we had at Cafe Breizh in Paris had the edges folded on four sides with a large square of the filling visible in the middle. Is this the way they are always done?

  4. Kerrie in France says:

    Meg, I have only just discovered you and your blog. I think the cookbook is a wonderful idea. I am an Australian living in the south-west of France and I am constantly looking for the ingredients with which I am familiar but which are either not available or difficult to identify . For example, which cream is suitable for whipping, is there such a thing as ‘ sour cream’ and what is it called ? The cuts of meat are different and the wide choice of poultry and game in the supermarchés are an invitation to try new recipes. I am hoping that by following your blog, and using your cookbook when it appears, life will be easier in my french kitchen. Continuer

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