Crepes for lunch? Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman

Crepes for impromptu lunch./Photos by Michael’s iPhone (he’s too ashamed to take credit)

I’m working on a book unrelated to ratios, but midday Saturday as my over-caffeinated stomach began to rumble, I thought about the Indian dal we’d had the night before, one of our staple meals. I’ve published the recipe in Ruhlman’s Twenty but keep meaning to publish it here because it takes about 10 minutes total prep time (an hour to simmer), and with some rice and pappadams is a great meal. The thing is we’d eaten all the rice, I didn’t feel like plain dal or heating oil for pappadams, and I happened to be writing about a specific dessert crepe. And there it was—I’ll make a couple of crepes.

Where on earth, though, is there a recipe for one or two crepes?

I needed only tap on my trusty Ratio app (which Will Turnage and I built, along with design from Leah McCombe, based on the book of that name) to recall the crepe ratio. (Contrary to what many think, the Ratio app IS available for Android devices.) The crepe ratio turns out to be a simple 2:2:1. This allowed me to crack an egg into a bowl that I’d set on my scale and use that as the starting weight.
egg on scale

 

My jumbo egg weighed 64 grams, so I typed this in and the calculator gave me the rest

My jumbo egg weighed 64 grams, so I typed this in and the calculator gave me the rest.

I set a crepe pan on the stove (though any pan will do, doesn’t need to be nonstick; crepes peel easily away when done) over medium-low heat, then added an equal amount of milk to the bowl, then half as much flour.

I stirred it all together, reheated the dal in the microwave, made a crepe, and ate it while I cooked the second crepe, which I used to enfold the dal. And I was back at my desk with a quick lunch made from delicious leftovers, crummy photos and all, in fifteen minutes.

It reminded me of the power of ratios, and also how easy and useful simple crepes are when you want to take an amorphous nothing into an elegant something. Creamy mushrooms would be delicious inside a crepe; so would leftover pulled pork (I’d drizzle hot sauce over it); or for dessert, berries and whipped cream, with powdered sugar on top.

Basic Crepes

  • 8 ounces eggs (4 large eggs, which will weigh between 200 and 240 grams)
  • 8 ounces milk (or liquid of your choice, and if weighing, 200 to 240 grams, whatever the eggs weigh)
  • 4 ounces flour (a scant cup, or half the weight of the eggs, 100 to 120 grams)
  • salt, sugar, vanilla (optional and to taste)
  1. Combine the ingredients and blend with a whisk until they’re uniformly combined. A pinch of salt is always good no matter what you’re using the crepes for, but if you’re going savory, you can add 1/2 teaspoon (and you can replace the milk with chicken stock or water, if you wish). If you’re making sweet crepes, add 1 tablespoon sugar and, if you wish, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Let the batter rest for 1/2 hour, uncovered at room temp (or up to 1 day, covered and refrigerated); though I rested mine only long enough to heat the pan and they were fine.

    Weighing out the eggs and milk.

    Weighing out the eggs and milk for a 1 jumbo egg crepe.

  2. Heat your pan over medium-low heat. You need only put a little vegetable oil on a paper towel and wipe the surface of the pan. If you’re using stainless steel, you can swirl a teaspoon of butter in the pan to coat the bottom to ensure it doesn’t stick. Pour in just enough batter to coat the bottom as you tip and tilt the pan.

    Cooking the crepe

    Cooking the crepe.

  3. Allow it to cook untouched until it’s set, a minute or so. Then gently turn the crepe and briefly cook the other side if you wish (with these, I didn’t; I cooked them just till they were set on top). If, after cooking the crepe, you would like it to be thinner, add 1/4 cup of milk or more to the batter until you’ve got the consistency you like. Turn them out onto a plate and hold at room temperature, covered, for up to several hours.

    Filling the crepe.

    Filling the crepe.

The folded crepe

The folded crepe.

 

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© 2013 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2013 Donna Turner-Ruhlman. All rights reserved.