Cut the excuses, make the crepe
I love crepes, but I don’t love spending $10 on a paper-thin pancake filled with two slices of deli ham and a child-sized fistful of lethargic fresh spinach. (Okay, I’m lying: replace ham with “Nutella” and spinach with “extra whipped cream.”) A single crepe will satiate your hunger exactly zero percent, which is why you need to eat at least five in a sitting. And since blowing your paycheck every week on an out-of-control crepe habit is completely ridiculous, you should probably learn to make your own. Remember: If a 16-year-old working part time at a crepe stand in the mall can do it, so can you.
Use instant flour
If you’ve dipped your toes into the ocean of crepe-making before, you know that you’re supposed to let your batter rest for at least an hour—preferably overnight—to let the flour “hydrate.” For those unfamiliar with the term, when water is added to flour it unlocks a protein you’ve most definitely heard of before: gluten. Picture gluten as one of those dry fettuccine nests you see in the fancy pasta section of the supermarket. When it soaks up water, it gets soft and loosens up, eventually unravelling into long strands. Letting your crepe batter hydrate means you can make paper-thin pancakes that won’t fall apart, but will also not be tough and chewy. However, it takes some time for this magic to happen, and I for one am not all about waiting.
Thanks to the wonders of the modern age, we need to wait no more! Next time you’re at the supermarket pick up a can of instant flour—the stuff you usually only buy at Thanksgiving to use for gravy. It’s used for sauces because it’s pregelatinized: partially cooked, then dried and ground into a fine powder. Not only does it dissolve quickly in liquids without clumping, but those proteins hydrate in a fraction of the time since they’re already halfway there. Swap out your usual flour for instant, and you’ll be ready to go in about ten minutes.
Use a nonstick pan
You know these things are going to stick like mad and it’s going to drive you into a dark, dark place. The nonstick pan is your friend. Also make sure you keep it greased: Ghee is best, but a light touch of cooking spray is also good. Regular butter will end up burning, so don’t bother with it.
Control your heat
You want it to be on medium-low. I know you’re excited and want to get to eating right away, but slow and steady wins this race.
Don’t worry about the first one
The first one is always a disaster. No one knows the science behind it. It just is and we’ve all learned to live with it. Your second one might be a mess, too, but that’s just because you don’t know what you’re doing. You’ll eventually find your groove and it will be nothing but smooth sailing. Just learn to forgive yourself and keep forging ahead.
Flipping ain’t that bad
Speaking of disasters, you’re going to botch the flipping a few times, but I pinky-swear you’re going to get the hang of things. Keep your eye on edges of the crepe; you’re ready to flip when they curl up a bit. Use a small spatula or the tip of a butter knife to gently lift an edge, then grab it with your fingers. Lift it up and gently lay it down on the other side, and cook for another 30 seconds or so. Slide it right out and keep repeating until all your batter is used up.