Mr. Ubbink’s Crepes Recipe

Crepes are one of the first thing that I learned how to cook without the need for parental supervision. I used to go visit my elementary school best friend almost every second weekend (she’d be over at my house if I wasn’t over at hers), and her father taught us his technique. Crepes do take a bit of practice, and you do have to read the recipe properly — there was one memorable occasion when we read “1/4 teaspoon salt” as “1/4 cup salt”, creating an end product that was highly inedible.

Replica crepes in a Montreal shop window (2005)

By the time I hit high school, it became a tradition to make crepes in the morning whenever I hosted sleepovers. I would make crepes up in bulk when I had a birthday party in order to feed all of my guests breakfast. My friends came to expect it; it was now a tradition!

I still use Mr. Ubbink’s recipe whenever I make crepes, which isn’t as often as when I was a kid, although I do still break them out for special occasions. The recipe is both dependable and flexible, although as with most crepes, flipping them takes a bit of practice. Don’t be discouraged if you make “scrambled” crepes the first few times, since they taste just fine so long as you cook them thoroughly, and they can still be topped as you wish.

Savoury crepe filled with cheddar cheese, Monterrey Jack cheese, and summer sausage; topped with a sunny side up egg and chopped chives

Mr. Ubbink’s Crepes
Yields 4-5 large crepes

In a large bowl, mix together:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
Add to bowl:
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla
Mix all ingredients together with a whisk or a hand mixer. Blend until batter is smooth.

Apply a small amount of cooking spray, butter, or margarine to a large non-stick frying pan. Preheat the pan to medium-high. Pour 1 large ladle-full of crepe mixture into the pan, tilting to spread the batter into a circle that covers the bottom of the pan. Fry until the crepe has darkened in colour and is just starting to show spots of golden brown. Carefully flip the crepe and fry the other side until spots of golden start to appear on that side as well. Repeat until all the batter is gone. This type of crepe is best rolled into a tube, sometimes with fillings such as fresh fruit inside the tube.

If you are making a crepe inside of which you wish to have a melted ingredient such as cheese or chocolate chips, the technique is slightly different (it’s actually a lot like cooking and omelet). Cook the first side, flip, and then add the filling to half of the cooked side. Fold the crepe in half over the filling. Cook until the bottom is slightly golden, flip carefully so that the filling doesn’t fall out, and cook the last side until it is starting to turn golden and the filling has melted. You may need to turn the burner down so that the filled crepe can cook more slowly, allowing the filling to melt without burning the batter.

Sweet crepe filled with fruit salad (Asian pears, strawberries, blueberries, bananas, and grapes) and maple syrup, topped with whipped cream.

Suggested toppings/fillings:

berries, fresh cut fruit, drained canned fruit, jam, chocolate chips, syrup, whipped cream, ice cream, nut butter, fruit butter, icing/brown/granulated sugar, marshmallows and chocolate chips, caramel sauce, custard, chopped nuts, apples and cinnamon sugar

deli meat, cooked chopped roast meat, fish, plain steamed vegetables, steamed vegetables with a cream sauce, asparagus and cream cheese, salmon and cream cheese and capers, shredded cheese, bacon and eggs, poached eggs and salsa, spinach and feta, avocado and fried mushrooms, canned tuna and mayonnaise and lettuce

Basically, just about anything you could bake into a cookie or put in a sandwich is good in/on a crepe! (They can also be a great vehicle for using up leftovers.)

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