Forget booking a reservation for bottomless brunch this weekend and throw the ultimate crepe buffet instead. French cuisine may seem daunting, but I assure you, putting together a crepe buffet is far easier than making pancakes. Okay, maybe not that much easier, but bragging about your crepe recipe afterwards is definitely more impressive.
For starters, there’s a good chance that all of the ingredients for the batter are already stocked in your refrigerator and pantry. If your cupboard is running low, you’ll need to make a quick, cheap grocery run.
Secondly, the batter needs to rest before cooking, so it’s essential to prep for your crepe buffet the night before. Set aside 10 minutes before bed to mix the batter, cover, and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, set the batter on your kitchen counter and let it come to room temperature for 30 minutes while you read the paper and sip a cup of joe.
Still need convincing? These crepes can be made before your friends arrive and kept warm in a preheated oven, so you’ll spend less time in the kitchen and more time sipping a mimosa on the couch. Perfecting the swirl of the pan takes some practice but you’ll get the hang of it after the first couple of tries.
Toppings can be as simple as a lemon juice and sugar (my personal favorite) or as elaborate as prosciutto, ricotta, and arugula. You do you, but we have some kickass suggestions below.
Fresh fruit and veggies for a rainbow of deliciousness. Slice and dice some fruit like bananas, plums, and figs, or just go with whatever looks fresh at the grocery store. Pick 2 to 3 fan-favorite vegetables like mushrooms, spinach, and peppers to sauté in oil with salt and pepper.
Macerate some berries the night before. For every cup of berries, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar. Toss together mixed berries and sugar in a large bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
A simple green salad. Mesclun salad, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper is all you need.
Bacon. Always a good decision. Crumbled sausage, chopped ham, sliced lox—they all work.
All of the Spreads. Nutella is a given. Other crowd pleasers include peanut butter, jams and jellies, lemon curd, and dulce de leche.
Cheese, please. The crepes will be warm, but not hot enough to melt cheese, so it’s a good idea to stick with crumbled and spreadable cheeses. Think ricotta, feta, whipped cream cheese. Even brie.
A drizzle of this, a sprinkle of that. Chocolate sauce, balsamic glaze, honey, chopped herbs, sliced nuts, powdered sugar. All of the toppings.
Don’t forget the whipped cream. Pick some up at the store or make your own by whisking together heavy whipping cream and sugar. Take it to the next level with some grated orange rind and Grand Marnier, or a pinch of freshly ground black pepper.
A Basic Crepe Recipe
1 cup flour
½ cup milk
½ cup water
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
How to Make It
Make the batter. Combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth. Cover and place in the refrigerator anytime from 30 minutes to 48 hours.
Preheat your oven. Place a baking sheet in the oven and preheat it to 200°F. When the oven is preheated, heat a crepe pan or a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat.
Swirl away. The first crepe is always a test run, so don’t get discouraged if the end result isn’t perfect. Spray the pan with a little cooking spray. You don’t want too much fat in the pan—don’t go crazy. Place about ¼ to ⅓ cup of batter in the pan and quickly swirl over the heat until a thin layer of batter coats the entire surface. When the edges of the crepe start to pull away from the pan, run a mini offset spatula or rubber spatula around the edges to loosen the crepe entirely. Now, flip it with your hands or a spatula—whatever has you feeling most like the head chef of a pâtisserie. Cook for a minute more and remove.
Keep ‘em warm. Open the oven and place the crepe on the preheated baking sheet. Place a piece of parchment between each crepe or just stack them one on top of the other.