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.

 

If you liked this post, check out these other links:

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

 

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31 Wonderful responses to “Crepes (and the power of ratios)”

  • Lori @ In My Kitchen, In My Life

    When I began to understand how much of cooking can be reduced to ratios or formulas, my skills really took off. So valuable! And thanks for the idea to make crepe batter with stock or water — never thought of that.

  • Betty

    new book <- excellent !
    crepes <- I just don't 'get' crepes.

    I've had crepes in New Orleans, Quebec City, and Paris. They've never inspired me. Anyone else have trouble appreciating them?

    • allen

      Sorry Betty,
      I find them a perfect example of less is more, all about moderation and letting the taste shine through.
      The first one I had was in Paris on a cold night, warmed with a dousing of Grand Marnier.
      And then back for more with a dousing of cognac.
      And back again for a ham and cheese, so thin and skimpy on the ingredients – but the flavors shine through.
      A tease for a glutton like me, who keeps coming back for more. I love crepes.

    • Victoria

      My grandmother’s recipe for manicotti used crespelle, the Italian version of the French crepe. It’s delicious. I use the same crespelle to make cannelloni, usually filling them with Marcella’s Bolognese Sauce, and they are delicious too. I suspect you have not enjoyed the fillings more than the crepes themselves. Dessert crepes filled with ice cream and topped with chocolate sauce and whipped cream might change your mind, although I personally find them gilding the lily.

    • Harry

      By coincidence I’ve spent time in all these of those cities and in them, there are a lot of bad crepes out there. Many places cook a lot of crepes in the morning then reheat them as people’s orders come in. None of these are ever any good. (Who, opinionated? Me?)

      If you’re still interested in basing your judgment on a *good* crepe, my suggestion – and my iron rule for myself – is to buy only from places where they cook the crepe from batter right before your eyes.

  • Carole @ The Sweet Chick

    Thank you for the link back to my savory crepes. I am not a chef of your caliber, just a simple mom. So it’s means a lot. I do love crepes. I have had crepes in Quebec, Montreal, Vegas, and Buenos Aires. They are all fabulous, either filled with bananas & chocolate, fruit & cream, vegetables & cheese, chicken & apples, dulce de leche, or simply topped with maple syrup. Mmmmmm!

  • Janice

    Thanks for showing us how useful ratios are. I’ve been using them more and more in my cooking and getting better–I swear! no really! Just treated myself to the Bread app. I’ve been dabbling in bread baking and want to make my own sourdough started and figured I could do it–with your help.

  • Jeremy

    This is almost entirely what I use my Ratio app for. I am typically only cooking for one or two.So for most batter ratios I decide how many eggs I want to use, weigh those and start from there. My first time making crepes was on my own on a lazy saturday morning with some left over beet greens that I felt the same way you did about the Dal. Thanks for enabling my inspiration!

  • Victoria

    Yesterday I made Jim Lahey’s No-Knead bread recipe, divided it into one-third/two-thirds, made two-thirds into a boule cooked in a cast iron Dutch oven, and made the remaining one-third into a baguette cooked in my LeCreuset Terrine (which I ordered through your Amazon store). The boule was, as always, delicious, but the baguette was sensational – so crusty, it crackled. I’ve been trying for ages to make a really good baguette. Looks like I’ll be getting a second terrine!

  • Eric

    Looks like my grandmother’s bliny (Western PA Russian/Slovak family). Somehow, I could never get my grandmother’s recipe down until I read “Ratio” and just fooled around with the salt/sugar content. Turns out the first gen. Americans knew their ratios whether they were aware of it or not…

  • dan

    and now you’re saying? you only ever talk about the iphone app…

    in any case – this is what google play tells me about your app: “This item cannot be installed in your device’s country.” So, I guess my money’s not good after all… I’ll go get a beer instead.

  • dan

    your app may have some wrong settings in google play, that’s why it doesn’t sell. There are way more android phones out there than iphonies…

    • ruhlman

      From my friend who built and manages the app:

      “I wish the guy would have said what country he lived in. Ratio on Google Play is available in over 50 countries.

      “So either he’s in a country that doesn’t support Google Play, or he’s in a country that doesn’t support paid apps on Google Play.”

      So, what country are you in?

      • dan

        At least he didn’t mention lack of internet access as a potential reason…

        I’m in Romania, where Google Play is available. Also we do have internet, warm water and my computer is plugged in ;)

        I really can’t see why it shouldn’t bee available in Romania, we have money here too and they’re good money, other people didn’t complain…

        • ruhlman

          Will has fixed it so you can buy in Romania, but Google doesn’t support your currency so you’ll have to buy using dollars or euros.

  • Natalie Luffer Sztern

    IMHO a crepe as I have always known them should be browned on both sides. The French who make crepes flip them and the Jews who make blintzes the fry the outer crepe. Serving a crepe like that-it doesn’t look cooked…..IMHO

  • bicyclegourmet

    stunned! by the number of books you written/co-written. and, ashamed, that i am only just discovering you. better late than never. (great images from the mrs also!)

  • Carolyn

    I have the app, but haven’t used it much up to this point. Any crepe batter recipe I’ve used up ’til now has always had butter or oil added. Can’t wait to try this with the 3 simple ingredients.

  • Victoria

    I got the Ratio iPhone App yesterday and made pasta according to the App and the instructions on your Open Sky videos. Everything worked liked a charm. I made the dough by hand and rolled it out by hand. I felt like a magician.

  • goober

    My first crepe was from a Paris street vendor, at about 6 a.m. There were a couple of stands open, but the line at one was long and full of working class locals. I got in line and managed to order a nutella and banana crepe for breakfast. Divine! But I’m ordinarily not a huge fan of them.

  • Mike

    My dad made crepes me for all the time when I was little kid. I loved them and he flexed back and forth between hearty and sweet fillings on any given day.

    • Carol

      Beth, using Cup4Cup in crepes is easiest. You could also do mix of white rice flour, buckwheat flour, and corn starch. Or, almond flour, brown rice flour, and potato starch.

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