Although crêpes have been popular around the for world for quite some time, there is still confusion over what exactly a crêpe is. So, what is a crêpe? Is it different from a pancake? The answers are crêpes are delicious and yes, they are different from pancakes.
While the two are similar in many ways—they both use eggs, milk, flour, butter, and a hint of salt—crêpes are much thinner, flatter, and larger than a pancake. This is largely because pancakes contain baking powder or baking soda while crêpes contain neither. This is also why pancakes are fluffier. Because crêpes are thinner, they also tend of be a little crispier than pancakes.
Crêpes can be traced back to a specific region in France called Bretagne (or, as we refer to it in English, Brittany). Buckwheat was introduced to the region in the 12th century and soon after the first crêpe was born. Today, crêpes can be made with either buckwheat or white flour, although many crêperies continue to use buckwheat as is tradition.
Now that we know what a crêpe is and where it comes from, how do you make it? First, there are two categories of crêpes: sweet and savory. Sweet crêpes are more popular in the United States—IHOP offers Nutella and banana crêpes, for example—but both are equally delicious. Common fillings for savory crêpes—which can also be referred to as galettes—often include eggs, cheese, ham, spinach, mushrooms, onion, etc. while sweet fillings often include Nutella, fruit with whipped cream, jam, and lemon juice and sugar.
But, regardless of whether you are planning to make savory or sweet crêpes, the crêpe itself is made the same way. They can be made using a crêpe pan or a crêpe griddle. Once heated up, melt a bit of butter on the surface. When the butter has melted, pour the batter and spread it out evenly using a special T-shaped rake. When the bottom of the crêpe has turned a nice golden-brown color, flip it and cook until the other side is also golden-brown. Add your desired toppings, and voila! Crêpe time!
Just as yummy as pancakes and with endless topping combinations, crêpes take no longer than pancakes to make. Perhaps the next time you get out the eggs and flour to whip up a batch of batter, give crêpes a try!
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