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Bunch of homemade french crepes with sugar

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Crepes are a classic French food. As you wander Paris, crepes from street vendors make for a quick snack, a whole meal or a tasty dessert. But you don’t have to visit France to enjoy them – crepes are easy to make at home.

Most importantly, you need the right pan. A good quality 20-centimetre (8-inch) non-stick frying pan makes the best crepes, but well-seasoned cast iron is good, too. There is no need to invest in a specialty crepe pan.

To make the batter, place 1 cup flour in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. In a separate bowl, whisk together 3 eggs, 1½ cups milk and a pinch of kosher salt. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the well, whisking to incorporate the flour. Stir in 2 tbsp melted butter, which helps to make the crepe lacy. A spoonful of brandy is good for a dessert crepe.

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The finest crepe batter is smooth and has the consistency of whipping cream. It should coat the back of a spoon. If the batter is too thick, stir in a little more milk. For beginners, a thicker batter is easier to handle.

Alternatively, you can combine the eggs, flour, milk and salt in a food processor. However, if you follow this method, you will need to let the batter sit for an hour to settle. Stir in the butter after the batter is out of the food processor.

Set your pan over medium-high heat. I prefer to use a flavourless vegetable oil, as I find that butter burns as the pan gets hotter. If you use high heat, the crepe batter sets too quickly making the crepe difficult to turn.

Use a scant ¼ cup batter for each crepe; the object is to make them thin. When the pan is hot, add a bit of oil, remove from heat and add the batter, swirling and tilting the pan immediately so that the batter runs to cover the base. Return to the heat and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until brown underneath and lacy bubbles are forming on the edges. Flip with a spatula or use your fingertips and cook the other side for 30 seconds. Turn out onto a clean tea towel.

The first crepe is always a mess, as the pan is not hot enough or the batter is too thick. Eat it yourself, adjust for any issues and continue to fry. Turn them out on top of each other and cover lightly with the tea towel. Don’t refrigerate; it toughens them.

To reheat crepes, butter a baking sheet and spread the crepes over it, overlapping. Brush with a little melted butter and bake at 400 F for 3 to 4 minutes.

Crepes can be frozen for a month. Lay on a baking sheet and freeze. Once frozen, stack in a freezer-proof container. Separate and reheat from frozen as above at 350 F for 20 minutes.

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In Catholic countries, the Tuesday before Lent is a day to use up all the rich food around the house. Crepes, with their butter, eggs and milk, fit the bill. This year, Shrove Tuesday falls on Feb. 25. Use it as an excuse to show off your crepe-making skills.

Need some advice about kitchen life and entertaining? Send your questions to lwaverman@globeandmail.com.

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