What is the right proportion for the three ingredients? The eggs and milk: cold or at room temperature? Whisked or blended? Pan: cast-iron, non-stick or stainless steel? Heat: low, medium or high? Fire or induction? One can read up on the internet and still messes things up when doing it, for instance, lumpy batter that is not ready for the pan. And finally, there's the look on the husband's face that says it all. Meaning, he still prefers the ones he had as a kid. Meaning, "The next time we go back to France, I'll ask my mum to teach you."
Which was what he did. And she did. And thus I did. In fact, in the past months I've turned crêpe-making into an organized process which, in my humble opinion, is worthy of ISO certification. JL now asks for them and can take up to eight crêpes per seating. Me, I happily oblige every time since it's been internalised. It may not be the world's best recipe but it's definitely one I can call my own.
* As soon as you decide to make crêpes, take the milk, eggs and a tablespoon of butter out of the fridge. Leave these on the counter to warm to room temperature. Until then, carry on with your life.
* Measure the flour by weight, not by cup. My "Golden Ratio" -- 100g flour : one egg : 250ml milk. Laugh all you want but, you're welcome.
* It is easy to obtain a lump-free batter when you use a blender. But you can also get a smooth batter with just your spoon. So you don't need a blender, really. You just need to know how to do it with your hands. I'll describe it later.
* You need to "rest" the batter for at least an hour before using it. Trust me.
Ready? Let's just work with 300 grams of flour. Follow the Golden Ratio and it's always one tablespoon of butter.
Start by making a well with the flour in your bowl. Break one egg in the well, use your spoon to cut into the yolk. Working in a small circular motion, gently incorporate the flour with the egg until you get a pasty texture. Add a small amount of milk and keep mixing the ingredients slowly but thoroughly. Alternate between adding of egg and milk till the third egg. Continue to stir in small amounts of milk to incorporate all the flour. Then, stir in the butter, a pinch of salt, and a teaspoon of sugar. And finally, stir in the remaining milk. You'll get a very runny batter, much like the consistency of heavy cream. Now let it rest.
The rest of it comes with practice, practice, and more practice. First, you get the hang of the process, right from taking the ingredients from the fridge to eating it. Then, work on getting the exact amount of batter to put on the pan. If you keep using the same ladle and pan, very soon you'll be able to tell if it is too much, too little or just right. Work on your wrist action - how you swirl the pan to spread the batter evenly without any hole. After that, how thin can you get? When do you turn the crêpe over? How? Don't forget to savour that split-second when you slide the crêpe onto the plate.
I came to realize that my true enjoyment of crêpes lies in the process of making them, and not so much in the eating. I like that the entire process has been well thought through -- my RO (reporting officer) would have been impressed if this were my KRA (key result area) -- and that it is simple to the point of being primitive. But more importantly, I love watching how the husband turns into that boy all over again, sprinkling sugar before rolling it up like a cigar. Just the way he likes it.