7 Best Crepe Pans | March 2017
- becomes more seasoned the more it's used
- made in france, home of the crepe
- not dishwasher safe
- dishwasher safe pan
- form fitting ergonomic handle
- teflon platinum nonstick coating
- works on gas, electric, or induction
- comfortable, stay-cool handle
- heavy duty aluminum will never warp
- striking bronze handle
- interior lining holds up to repeated use
- shallow sides for easy crepe flipping
History Of The Crepe
Crepe is the French word for pancake and, unlike pancakes common in America, they are not fluffy, but rather thin. They are also traditionally made from buckwheat flour. The origin of the crepe lies in Brittany, France.
Brittany juts out from the main landmass of France and is surround on three sides by water. This made it an isolated region with a harsh, rocky landscape that is not ideal for growing most types of crops. The culture of Brittany is also somewhat different from the rest of France and is known for having a British influence.
In the 12th century, not many crops were grown in the region, so when buckwheat, a high protein and fiber-rich grain with a lot of nutritional value, arrived on its shores and seemed to take to the landscape well, the Bretons took full advantage of it. They ground it down and combined it with water to create a batter. This was ladled onto a butter coated hot pan and spread thin with a wooden scraper. Both sides were cooked and then filled with whatever local ingredients happened to be fresh at the time.
Sweet and savory crepes have been around since crepes were first made. Two of the most traditional and well-known crepes include the basic, but tasty, lemon and sugar filled version and the ham and cheese crepe. Another extremely popular crepe, the crepe Suzette, which is made with orange, sugar, and brandy, has an interesting and somewhat disputed origin. Some tales tell of a young waiter who accidentally lit a crepe dessert on fire when serving the Prince of Wales, while others claim the same young waiter often made it as a dish for his mom.
What To Look For In A Crepe Pan
There is much debate about the best material for a crepe pan. Some die hard traditionalists feel that cast iron is the best, but other people find the weight and caring for a cast iron pan inconvenient. They may prefer stainless steel or a non-stick Teflon pan. Whichever type of crepe pan you choose to purchase, there are a few things that every good crepe pan should have, or not have in some case.
All good crepe pans will have low sides. This makes flipping crepes easier without accidentally damaging them when trying to slide the spatula underneath. Another feature of a good crepe pan is a thick bottom. Thin pans often heat unevenly, which can result in a crepe that is burnt in one section and barely browned in another.
When picking a crepe pan, consider the shape of the handle. You want to find a pan with a long handle that won't get hot and will be comfortable to hold in your hand. As you become better at making crepes, you may choose to start air flipping them. You will also probably pick up the pan to slide finished crepes onto a plate. Having a pan that isn't too heavy and features a comfortable handle will help you move up to these advanced techniques quicker.
It's can also be nice to buy a crepe pan that comes with a wooden spreader. The batter spreader will help you create perfectly level crepes with no thick spots.
Tips For Making The Perfect Crepe
When making crepes, there are a few tips that will increase your chances of producing the perfect one. Before you start to cook, it's best to make the batter, then refrigerate it for at least one hour before it hits the hot pan.
When agitating the wheat flour and water while mixing the batter, gluten is formed. Letting the batter set for an hour in the refrigerator gives the gluten time to relax after mixing, which will produce lighter and airier crepes.
Ideally one should use a crepe pan when making this delicate meal, as they are designed with properties specifically suited to making them. If you don't have a crepe pan on hand, choose a heavy bottomed pan with thick steel that heats evenly. If the pan does not heat evenly across the entire surface, it will create uneven browning, which can alter its delicious taste as well as ruin its poor appearance.
Another huge component to cooking a crepe, aside from the pan, is temperature control. This isn't hard to achieve, but does requires a little finesse if not more trial than error. Whether you have a gas, or electric, or induction oven, just remember to keep your heat source consistent. If the pan is too hot, or too cold when it is time to cook, your crepe is liable to end up burnt and raw, or stuck and unflippable.
When cooking the first crepe, it is often necessary to use more butter than with the following crepes. This helps the pan get fully coated with fat, ensuring your crepes brown correctly and don't stick. Your first crepe may come out overly buttery and a bit crispy, but this will make cooking the rest of the crepes easier. If you do it correctly, you won't need to add more butter to the pan until four or five crepes later.
Finally, and this is vital, don't flip your crepe too early. More than likely if you try and flip a crepe too early, it will tear. At best it won't have time for the bottom to fully brown.