Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ode to Breakfast

Breakfast. My favorite meal of the day. The one I could never do without. The one that I like to make most. The source of one of my favorite childhood memories. 

Sunday morning breakfasts: Leanne Hansen and Will Shortz are doing the puzzle on NPR, sun is streaming through the kitchen windows, there is a dog laying on the floor, and I'm begging either my mom or dad (depending on which breakfast item I am going for) to prepare a morning feast. 

My mom is a master of french toast. To this day, I cannot replicate her technique. Crusty french bread, real maple syrup. Heaven. 

But it is the crepe of which I'd sell my soul for. This is my dad's domain. And a good assistance activity for kids because they can perform the special pan acrobatics required to get the batter evenly distributed. [Did I just recommend that kids should be the ones to handle heavy, cast iron frying pans, filled with hot liquids? Dear lord.]. 

Anyway, we called them Swedish Pancakes and, as I learned today, the difference between Swedish Pancakes and crepes is that SPs have sugar added while crepes rely on the eater to add the sugar. Personally, I add sugar to both stages, while my parents tend to avoid adding them at either stage, often preferring fresh fruit in place of jam. 

Regardless, here is the recipe I use for Swedish Pancakes/Crepes:

3 eggs
1 cup flour, sifted
1/2 stick o' butter [salted/unsalted, doesn't matter]
1/4 tsp salt
1 can evaporated milk (whole is best [duh] but you can use skim, if you really need to]
1 tsp sugar

First, wash your hands. For the full count of Happy Birthday [You know: "Happy Birthday to you, Happy...sing the whole things while washing those hands. Out loud, preferably]. Making crepes (at least in my house) involves lots of touching of the food when cooking. Such is life.

In a medium mixing bowl, melt butter in the microwave. Add milk and then slowly sift in flour, whisking all the while. Add eggs, salt, and sugar. I'll often throw in a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg.

Coat a frying pan with butter and drop about a 1/4 cup of batter into the hot pan. Lift the pan and rotate in a circle until the batter evenly coats the bottom of the pan. The crepe is done on that side when little bubbles appear around the edge (see photo) and the batter is no longer wobbly. A little brown is ok. Using your hands (or a spatula, but trust me, it's harder this way), flip the crepe over and cook for an additional 30 seconds or so. Remove the crepe from the pan and place it in a warm over. Repeat.

When you have a nice stack of tasty crepes, remove them from the oven and serve them with [homemade] jam or fresh fruit. I prefer to make a line of jam down the middle of the crepe and then roll it up like a carpet, starting at one end. Then it's easy to cut bite-sized bits with your fork, or as I did as a kid, pick the thing up and chomp on the end like a giant cigar. Much to my mother's extreme displeasure. 

And fortunately, my memory is rather selective and I've blissfully forgotten all those sugar-induced tantrums that each of those tasty crepes probably inspired. 


  1. We do love breakfast in our household too. Often we eat it for dinner and the kids love it. Crepes are a fun one to do, I got a great recipe out of the PI once and have been using it ever since. I wish I could make a better french toast for that is my favorite. Have you ever gone into the realm of dutch babies and german pancakes? They are very similar and oh so tasty.

  2. I'm not a breakfast person by any means, but I do love a good French crepe with chocolate. Yum!
    And while I do believe everyone should wash their hands before cooking, at what point are you touching them? I never have to touch mine.

    Man...I wish I was in France now so I could have a yummy crepe. I don't want to make a bunch for just myself. lol

  3. I love breakfast for dinner! So easy, quick and tasty! Never heard of German pancakes till you mentioned them. Dutch babies. I googled them and BOY DO THEY LOOK DELICIOUS!!We'll have to try them immediately.


    I agree, nothing beats a french crepe!I have a friend that swears by their nutella and bananas version.

    As for the hands thing, I use my fingers to flip the crepe, and then a spatula to throw it in the oven. It's just faster for me, especially when you're juggling two or three hot frying pans... To each her own, I guess.

  4. I'm not a big breakfast person, but those crepes look good! As a side note, I love Sunday mornings and NPR.

  5. German Pancakes:
    6 eggs
    1 cup flour
    1 cup milk
    3 tablespoons melted butter

    Heat your oven to 450

    Mix all the ingredients together pour into a 9x11 greased glass pan and bake for 15 minutes
    (it will grow nice and tall and should turn a bit golden brown)

    Dust it with powdered sugar and serve it right a way. Make sure to have lots of people over to share it with too. Or half the recipe.

    I got this recipe from our babysitter Erica. She grew up eating these and once she told me about them I had to try it.

  6. Excellent, We are so making it this weekend. And it calls for lots o' eggs. Perfect! Thank you.

  7. Anonymous4:45 PM

    Crepes are your dad's domain? That's news to me, but good news for the future. Mom

  8. Oh sorry mom! How about we give you credit for both crepes and french toast? I definitely don't recall papa do much ft making...for some reason though, I remember doing lots of crepes with him..Fuzzy memory, I guess.

  9. I think we might have to make them again too. They are so yummy. :-)