Julia Child's Master Crêpe Recipe

by gratinee on January 30, 2010

Although crêpes are often thought of as the province of the French, similar pancakes abound in countries as diverse as Greece and Iceland.  Crêpes were a staple in my household when I was growing up. We knew them as palancinka, the paper think pancake ubiquitous in the countries formerly belonging to the Austro-Hungarian empire. We would have them as a simple dessert on weekends, smothering them with jam or preserves, cinnamon, or cottage cheese and sugar.

Crêpes were the first thing I ever successfully made in the kitchen without a recipe. I would mix together an egg with some milk, throw in some flour and a pinch of salt and voila! the perfect little pancakes. I had no idea how I did it, but they were always delicious. I’d whip up stacks of them for my friends, who would look at me as if I were Julia Child incarnate.

Then somehow I stopped.

Years went by without my making a single crêpe. I cannot now fathom the reason. Perhaps I was busy with school and work and trying to create a life for myself. My twenties are a crêpeless blur.

Then one night, facing an empty fridge and an intense craving for something doughy and sweet, I decided to revisit my old friend.

The results were disastrous. The crêpes were rubbery. They stuck to the pan and tasted plain awful. What had I done wrong? Had I not once been the crêpe master?

I turned to the only person whom I knew could help me out of this mess.

Julia Child.

One of her books, aptly named Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom, contained a simple, master recipe that you can use for both sweet and savory crêpes. Although some recipes for sweet crêpes call for sugar, I find that this makes them stick to the pan.

Be sure to allow the batter to refrigerate for at least half an hour, to allow the flour particles to absorb the liquid, which will give you a tender crêpe. Instant-blending or all-purpose flour may be used, although the former will need less time in the fridge. You may have to experiment with the temperature of your range to get the heat right; the crepes must cook through to a golden color without burning,

If you are not using them right away, cool the crêpes thoroughly, stack and refrigerate for two days, or freeze them for several weeks.

This recipe makes about twenty 5-inch crepes or ten 8-inch crepes.

Julia Child’s Master Crêpe Recipe

Ingredients:

1 cup flour

2/3 cup cold milk

2/3 cup cold water

3 large eggs

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons melted butter, plus more for brushing on pan

Directions:

1) Mix all ingredients until smooth in a blender or with a whisk. Refrigerate.

2) Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Brush with melted butter.

3) Pour in 2 to 3 tablespoons of batter into the center of the pan and then tilt the pan in all directions to cover the bottom evenly. Cook about 1 minute, or until browned on the bottom. Turn and cook briefly on the other side.

4) Cool on a rack or plate as you finish making the rest. Serve as desired.



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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

Julia @ Mélanger January 30, 2010 at 9:46 pm

I adore crepes. I recently posted some myself, and a few people recommended mixing in the melted butter. It’s a great idea. I’ll have to try this recipe next time! C’est parfait!

Simply Life January 31, 2010 at 4:32 am

oh wow, I wish I could make a crepe like that! Looks delicious!

Fuji Mama January 31, 2010 at 12:37 pm

I have yet to try JC’s crepe recipe, though thinking about it now, I’m wondering why it’s not one of the first I tried! I LOVE LOVE LOVE crepes, though always use the recipe I learned from my host mom when I lived in France. I never get sick of them. I’m definitely going to have to repent and try JC’s recipe now!

gratinee January 31, 2010 at 5:16 pm

Let me know how they turn out, R!

Melody Fury February 6, 2010 at 2:56 am

Crepes are one of those magical things that will taste good no matter what you put on it. Those look especially gorgeous.

Hélène February 8, 2010 at 6:31 pm

I’ve never tried her recipe for crêpes yet. I always use the same recipe. I should try for a change.

gastroanthropologist February 9, 2010 at 1:15 pm

I love crepes! With a little lemon and sugar, or fresh berries. My friend made some delicious spinach and taleggio crepes the other day, and I was reminded that crepes don’t need to be sweet! Melted butter in the batter is the way to go.

Genie July 2, 2010 at 9:50 pm

This is the perfect recipe. Love it with cheese.
A simple crepe fromage brings me right back to the streets of Paris. :)

Sarah December 21, 2010 at 1:04 pm

Delicious! My family absolutely adores them! Thanks so much, keep up the GREAT work!
<3

Darina December 24, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Thanks, Sarah!

Maribeth August 3, 2011 at 11:47 am

Wait, I cannot fathom it being so straightofrawrd.

Patty August 16, 2011 at 9:49 am

Hi! you are the first person I have ever known that also understands what a Palacinka is! My grandma who was from Slovenia used to cook them and I absoluteley loved them! even just with butter they were amazing… Honestly I was too young to write over the recipe, wish I had it.

Darina August 17, 2011 at 8:58 am

I love them. Aren’t they the best? Read my lemon ricotta crepe recipe. It’s my own recipe, very much like the crepes from that part of the world. Thanks for stopping by, Patricia. http://gratineeblog.com/2009/03/crepes-me/

Easy Crepe Recipe October 23, 2011 at 12:25 pm

If I made these crepes (and they were really bad), I would still be able to say to my wife “these are Julia Child’s crepes”, and she would be more than happy!

sam November 27, 2011 at 7:33 pm

they were too egg-y, i suggest using 2 regular eggs and some amount of sugar, maybe substitute some powdered sugar for flour

Darina November 28, 2011 at 3:26 pm

I respect the authenticity of this recipe but find them too eggy for my taste as well. Take a look at my recipe for Lemon Ricotta crepes in the Recipe Index. These are the Austro-Hungarian style crepes of my childhood and I think they hit the right balance. Let me know how you do.

Maria September 9, 2012 at 6:02 am

Wow! Thank you so much for this post! My Mother is from Yugoslavia and she used to make Palancinka’s too! I have never heard anyone use that word either. She made them with the cottage cheese, sugar, and just a touch of lemon. I hope I can make these. The sticking to the pan worries me! :)

Darina September 10, 2012 at 5:16 pm

Just don’t put any sugar in the batter and it will be fine :) Let me know how you do. Should be super easy.

Joan November 4, 2012 at 5:44 pm

This was my first crepe recipe and it was great! So quick and easy. Will the batter still be good if I freeze it and use it later?

Darina November 13, 2012 at 1:52 pm

I’m glad it turned out. I don’t see why freezing it would be a problem. I’d go ahead and give it a try. let me know how it goes.

Dragana January 5, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Thanks for the recipe and the appetizing photo which prompted me to try it this afternoon. It turned out perfect. I’m from Serbia originally and I find this superior to the recipe used by my Serbian family, which is more watery and comparatively flavourless. My fave savoury combo is gruyere and thin sliced ham. For sweet crepes, nothing beats fresh lemon juice over a sprinkling of sugar (Nutella comes second!).

Darina January 5, 2013 at 5:59 pm

Hi Dragana. My family is from Serbia, too. I also have a recipe for Lemon Ricotta crepes on my recipe list that are of the Serbian variety. I actually really like them because they are light and not too “eggy”. I agree with you about the lemon and sugar but adding ricotta to the mix is amazing. And can’t do without Nutella. Srecna nova godina!

Dragana January 5, 2013 at 11:52 pm

:-) I tebi!

I was wondering if I’d find it eggy, after seeing that comment, but it was fine. I guess these industrial eggs from the supermarket are too weak flavoured to really make a difference. I have not tried ricotta in crepes, I’m intrigued! Next time!

Darina January 6, 2013 at 5:34 pm

Let me know how you like it :)

Erica February 12, 2013 at 8:24 pm

I’m so glad I stumbled upon this blog post! I was looking for jc’s crepe recipe but I’m sitting here with my Hungarian grandmother’s lemon ricotta crepe recipe in my lap! I never knew what they were properly called, thank you so much!

Darina February 18, 2013 at 6:25 pm

You are very welcome!

Iliana Rodriguez March 23, 2013 at 7:10 am

This is the easiest recipe ever , and oh so good! I’ve been using it for over a year and it’s a hit every time. Sweet or Salty!

Darina March 23, 2013 at 12:11 pm

Yeah, it’s a winner. You can just whip it in the blender, put it in for the fridge and then pour it directly into the pan

Chef Joel April 2, 2013 at 3:32 pm

Never pour the batter in the center of the pan. Instead pour at 4 o’clock. then you just lift and swirl the pan around in a circle to form the perfect crepe. If you pour in the middle like a pancacke, you won’t be able to swirl it around before it sets up too much.

Darina April 2, 2013 at 7:07 pm

That’s a great tip. Thanks!

ayesha May 11, 2013 at 3:25 pm

I use this recipe for surprise birthday breakfast’s and breakfast in bed mother’s day breakfast! It is fantastic. Also, my mum bought me a crepe pan from France to facilitate the task. She got stopped at customs because she brought foie gras! They opened her bag and the first thing they saw was bang! the crepe pan right on top of everything! The customs officer started laughing!

Great recipe with fond memories

Monique May 29, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Coming from Hungarian parents, these too were a staple in my family. And I loved every second of it! I still ask my mom to make these, but now, being a mom myself, I will definitely be giving this recipe a try. Can’t wait to try these, now if I can only hunt down a real crepe pan…

Daniel R. May 31, 2013 at 12:58 pm

In Colombia a restaurant called Crepes & Waffles makes crepes brushed with thick dulce de leche and melted fresh mozzarella. leaving work early to make this happen tonight. Thanks for post =]

Debbie June 18, 2013 at 12:15 am

These crepes were absolutley delicious, I did add a littlemelted butter to the mixture and it turned out beautifully,thanks for sharing.

Bridget August 2, 2013 at 12:45 am

I used this recipe yesterday, all I can say is “absolutely fantastic “. I doubled the recipe, as we had extra kids
they flattened the crepes in record time. An easy simple recipe – the kids are making them next time round. Thanks for sharing ;-)

Barb Holman September 8, 2013 at 5:18 am

I wanted to know if these crepes are a little chewy in texture, as the ones I love from Montreal Quebec and would think they are like authentic French crepes…

Darina September 10, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Yes, I think they are on the chewy side, though I don’t remember crepes being chewy in France. It’s a popular recipe, though :)

Alli February 10, 2014 at 10:06 pm

This story is exactly my childhood – it’s almost a little scary! My dad was Hungarian and also spoke of palancinka while my mom – all the French in her dedicated to crepes. Some of the best – if not THE best I’ve had. Julia Child was her go-to, as well. Anyway thanks so much for this. I’m usually not a “commenter”, but I really couldn’t resist. Using this recipe to remind me of my youth and also to make a Nutella crepe cake for a friend’s birthday. All the best!

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