Crêpes As a Main Course
icon Crêpes are thin French pancakes made in a special crêpe pan or on a griddle, cooked very thin. Crêpes originated in Brittany in northwest France, but the name has a Latin origin (crispus = crisp). Most people are familiar with crêpes as a desert (i.e. Crêpes Suzette), but in France savory crêpes are also eaten as a main course. Sweet crêpes (crêpes sucrées) are made with wheat flour and slightly sweetened; savory crêpes (called crêpes salées or galettes) are unsweetened and made with buckwheat flour or a mixture of buckwheat and wheat flour. It follows that a galette is a form of crêpe made with buckwheat flour, but the term is also used to describe many flat round cakes including potato pancakes and open-faced fruit tarts. The basic concept of making galettes may go very far into human history, into the Neolithic era some 10000 years ago (the "Stone Age"), when faming began and mushy cereal paste was spread and cooked over hot stones.

The crêpes batter is made ahead so that the flour swells and the air from beating dissipates. Crêpes are fried in butter and either sprinkled with sugar and filled with butter or jam, or with savory toppings like ham, cheese and eggs.

Crêpes have close cousins in Italy (crespelle), Austria and Bavaria (Palatschinken); Bosnia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Albania, Slovakia and the Czech Republic (palačinky); Poland (naleśniki), Hungary (palacsinta). The names Palatschinken, palačinky and palacsinta derive from the Latin (and ultimately Greek) word "placenta", which - aside from the medical meaning - also means a kind of flat cake.

We discovered savory crêpes on one of our first trips to Paris, in a little restaurant called "Crêperie O Bea Ba" on Avenue René Coty in the 14th Arrondissement.

Some very good and authentic recipes are also to be found at French Food and Cook.


icon Basic Crêpes
Photograph from Wikimedia Commons used under the terms of
the GNU Free Documentation License.
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 tbsp melted butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs such as chives, coriander, tarragon, spinach or sun-dried tomatoes
  • Butter, for coating the pan


  1. In a blender, combine all of the ingredients (except the butter for coating the pan) and pulse for 5-10 seconds. Place the crêpe batter in the refrigerator for 1 hour. This allows the bubbles to subside so the crêpes will be less likely to tear during cooking. The batter will keep for up to 48 hours.
  2. Heat a 6-7 inch non-stick pan. Add butter to coat. Stir the batter, half-fill a 1/4-cup measure with it, and pour the batter into the pan. Tilt and rotate the pan quickly to cover the bottom with a layer of batter and return any excess batter to bowl. Return the pan to the heat, loosen the edge of the crêpe with a spatula, and cook the crêpe for 1 minute, or until the top appears almost dry.
  3. Turn the crêpe, cook the other side lightly, and transfer to a plate.
  4. Make crêpes with the remaining batter in the same manner, brushing the pan lightly with butter as necessary. Lay crêpes out flat so they can cool. Repeat until all batter is gone.
  5. After crêpes have cooled, stack them and store in sealable plastic bags in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for up to two months. The crêpes may be made 3 days in advance, kept stacked, wrapped in plastic wrap, and chilled.


icon Crêpes Complètes
(Buckwheat Crêpes With Ham
and Grated Gruyère)
  • 2 buckwheat crêpes (10" diameter)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 50 g ham, cut into 1 centimeter pieces
  • 50 g grated Gruyère
  • 2 eggs


  1. Preheat oven to 170 deg F.
  2. Melt butter in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until soft and translucent. Set aside and keep warm.
  3. After flipping the crêpe from the first side to the second, top the center with the onion mixture, the ham and some of the cheese.
  4. Gently fold four sides of the crêpe in, forming a square packet.
  5. Gently break one egg into center of the crêpe, keeping the yolk intact.
  6. Cook the crêpe and egg just until the white is set. Keep first crêpe warm in the oven while preparing the second crêpe in the same manner.
  7. YIELD: Serves 2


icon Crêpes Forestières
(Buckwheat Crêpes With Mushrooms,
Bacon and Grated Gruyère)
  • 2 crêpes (10" diameter)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 10 medium common mushrooms, trimmed, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp minced parsley
  • 2 small cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 slices bacon, diced and blanched to remove excess salt
  • 1/4 cup grated Gruyère
  • Port wine for deglazing


  1. Preheat oven to 170 deg F.
  2. Heat butter and oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook until they are cooked and the liquid has evaporated. Deglaze pan with Port wine. Add parsley and garlic and cook a bit more. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat. Keep warm.
  3. After flipping the crêpe from the first side to the second, add half the mushroom mixture, bacon, and cheese to one half of the cooking crêpe. When the second side is cooked, fold the unfilled half over the other half to form a semi-circle, or a triangle. Set aside in the oven to keep warm. Prepare one more crêpe in the same manner.
  4. YIELD: Serves 2


icon Crêpes Aux Fruits De Mer
Sauce au Miel
(Savory Crêpes With Scallops,
Shrimp, Endive and Honey Sauce)
  • 2 crêpes (10-inch diameter)
  • 2 large scallops
  • 4 langoustines or large shrimp, deveined
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 endive, sliced into 1 centimeter thick rounds
  • 1/3 cup Normandy-style cider
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Fine salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350 deg F.
  2. Cook shrimp in boiling water (or courtbouillon, if available) until barely cooked. Drain, peel, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, and keep warm.
  3. Melt 1 tbsp butter in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add endive, 1-1/2 tablespoons of the cider, salt, and pepper to pan and cook endive until translucent. When cooked, drain endive into a strainer, reserving the juices.
  4. In the same pan, melt the last tablespoon butter. Sauté scallops until cooked through and the surfaces browned.
  5. Remove from pan and slice scallops into 1 centimeter thick pieces. Combine scallops, endive, and shrimp and keep warm.
  6. In the same pan, add the reserved cooking juices, the remaining cider (~1/4 cup), heavy cream, honey, salt, and pepper. Bring to a low boil and reduce to a sauce-like consistency.
  7. Place half the seafood mixture in the center of each crêpe. Fold in the edges and roll each crêpe up to enclose the filling. Place the crêpes on a baking sheet and heat in the oven for 10 minutes.
  8. Divide the sauce among heated serving plates and place a heated, filled crêpe in the center of each plate. Serve immediately.
  9. Yield: 2 servings.


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Last updated: October 12, 2010