A Little Crepe History

A crêpe (pronounced /kreɪp/, French IPA: [kʀɛp]) is a type of very thin, cooked pancake usually made from wheat flour. The word, like the pancake itself, is of French origin, deriving from the Latin crispa, meaning "curled." While crêpes originate from Brittany, a region in the northwest of France, their consumption is nowadays widespread in France and is considered the national dish. Crêpes can be compared to the African injera, the tortilla, the Indian dosa and the Mexican sope. Crêpes often have a fruit filling of syrup, mixed berries, fresh fruit or lemon cream.

Origin

A sweet crêpe opened up, with whipped cream and strawberry sauce on itBuckwheat came to North America from Southwest Asia and also spread to Eastern Europe, where a similar meal, called blintz, also developed. In Brittany, crêpes are traditionally served with cider. In Italy, it is crepsella. In areas of Eastern Europe, the meal is called palacsinta (Hungarian), palaèinka (Bosnian, Serbian,Bulgarian, Macedonian, Czech, Croatian and Slovenian), palacinka (Slovak), Palatschinken (in Austria); the Romanian word for crêpe is clãtitã. In Danish, it's Pandekage, in most German regions it's Pfannkuchen, and in Dutch it's pannekoeken. The Polish version is called naleœniki. In the Spanish region of Galicia, they're called "filloas", and may also be made with pork blood instead of milk. In the Balkan region such as the countries of Albania, Montenegro,and Serbia, palacinka may be eaten with fruit jam, feta cheese, sugar, honey, or the hazelnut-chocolate cream Nutella

Preparation

A sweet crêpe rolled up, ready to be eaten Crêpes are made by pouring a thin liquid batter onto a hot frying pan or flat circular hot plate, often with a trace of butter or oil on the pan's surface. The batter is spread evenly over the cooking surface of the pan or plate either by tilting the pan or by distributing the batter with an offset spatula.

Common fillings for meal crêpes include: cheese, asparagus, ham, spinach, eggs, ratatouille, mushrooms, artichoke (in certain regions), and various meat products.

When they are sweet, they can be a dessert. They can be filled with various other sweet items: jam, melted chocolate, dairy, ice cream, Nutella (a chocolate and hazelnut paste), bananas, berries, nuts, poppyseeds, cinnamon etc. Popular sweet toppings include sugar (granulated or powdered), maple syrup, lemon juice, whipped cream, fruit spreads, sliced soft fruits, etc.

Types and special crêpes

Crêpes are especially popular throughout France. The common ingredients include flour, eggs, milk, butter and a pinch of salt. Crêpes are usually of two types: sweet crêpes (crêpes sucrées) made with wheat flour and slightly sweetened, and savoury galettes (crêpes salées) made with buckwheat flour and unsweetened.

A sweet crêpe served with strawberries and whipped creamMille crêpe is a French cake made of many crêpe layers. "Mille" ("mil") means "a thousand," implying the many layers of crêpe.

Another standard French and Belgian crêpe is the crêpe Suzette, a crêpe with lightly grated orange peel and liqueur (usually Grand Marnier) which is subsequently lit.

It is also a fairly common practice to roll or envelop them and then lightly fry, bake or sautée them, not unlike blintz, whose preparation is otherwise similar.

The batter of the original French crêpe is usually made with white wheat flour when the crêpe is served as a sweet crêpe. It is made with buckwheat flour when the crêpe (rather called "galette") is served as a savoury crêpe. A batter made of 100% buckwheat flour is gluten-free. This makes it possible for people who have a gluten allergy or intolerance to eat crêpes / galettes (as long as the other ingredients of the dish are gluten-free, too, of course).

Cherry Kijafa Crepes are also often common and are made with a traditional crepe base, but filled with cherries simmered in a Kijafa wine sauce. [1]

It is also possible to make crêpes without eggs, and crêpes without milk.

A common recipe practiced among bodybuilders is what is called a "Bodybuilder's Crêpe", traditionally made with whey protein powder, flavoring, egg white, and other popular ingredients such as cottage cheese, oats, and peanut butter. They are prepared the same way as normal crêpes are, but can sometimes cook much faster. There are also dessert crepes such as crepes filled with hazelnut spread or filled with jam and powdered sugar.

Crêperies

Crêpes being cooked at a fast-food style crêperie.A crêperie may be a takeaway restaurant or stall, serving crêpes as a form of fast food or street food, or may be a more formal sit-down restaurant or café.

Crêperies are typical of Brittany in France; however, crêperies can be found throughout France, Europe, and even Tokyo, the United States and Canada. In the Canadian province of Quebec, crêperies are especially abundant because of the French influence.

Because a crêpe may contain a variety of fillings, it can serve as both a main meal or a dessert. Savoury courses are usually served in the form of buckwheat galettes. Crêperies may therefore be quite diverse in their selection and may make other baked goods such as baguettes. They may also serve coffee, tea, buttermilk and cider (a popular drink to accompany crêpes).