Big Girls, Global Kitchens: Lemon Crepes with Butter & Sugar
Imagine this: it’s after midnight on a Friday evening in Paris. You’ve been out at a bar on the right bank with your friends, and you’ve just left to catch the last metro home. Suddenly, there’s a crepe stand in front of you. A guy is spreading batter on his electric crepe pan and the line in front of him isn’t that long. On the menu, every combination you could have dreamed up, both savory and sweet. What do you go for? Strawberry Cream? Ham & Cheese? Nutella Banana? You might think.
But no. The right answer, in my book–and, in my opinion, yours–is Beurre Sucre.
This bit of wisdom was passed down to me by my first boyfriend, Aaron. As you’ll read about in The Book, my current boyfriend Alex loves pancakes for breakfast on the weekends but is not the first boyfriend I’ve had with a strong affection for the breakfast dish. His predecessor, Aaron, also loved pancakes, which I made for him happily after classes during high school. But Aaron also loved crepes. I didn’t make them for him, but a few times we went out for them at crepe places that sprouted up around the city. At first, like any sweet tooth, I’d obviously lean towards the complex options like nutella banana, but after trying Aaron’s butter-sugar crepes, I was won over by simplicity.
It wasn’t too long ago that I met Aaron for lunch near his office. Afterwards, we went to a crepe place on Spring Street for coffee, and he let me have a bite of the crepe he ordered. I took advantage of the opportunity. The best part about these crepes is the crunch of the sugar. This is a taste and texture I’ve loved since I was a little girl; I used to climb onto the kitchen counter and sneak spoonfuls of sugar from the sugar jar (though I’ve always denied this to my mom). The crepe is most delicious at the bottom corner, where the sugar crystals collect and the crunch is amplified. Heaven.
From my kitchen, pining for sugar, to yours,
Cara, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
Zesty Lemon Crepes with Butter & Sugar
Makes 4 crepes
In these crepes, I’ve increased the lemon flavor slightly by adding some zest to the batter. You can always leave it out if you’re not a citrus person!
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter, plus more for serving
1/2 teaspoon sugar, plus more for serving
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest (from about 1/2 a lemon)
1 teaspoon lemon juice, plus more for serving
Melt 2 teaspoons of the butter in the microwave. Add it to a mini prep or blender and add the milk, egg, a pinch of salt, sugar, flour, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Process until smooth. Set aside for 10-15 minutes. This is a good time to make your coffee or, er, wash last night’s dishes.
Heat a 9 to 12-inch castiron pan over medium-high heat. Brush it with some of the remaining butter. Pour 1/4 cup of crepe batter into pan and tilt to spread it in an even, thin layer. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the top of the crepe looks dry and slightly bubbly. Using a small offset spatula, release the edges of the crepe from the pan and flip the crepe with your fingers. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until the second side is dotted with gold. Spread about 1 teaspoon of butter across the crepe, then slide it onto a plate. Sprinkle it evenly with about 1 teaspoon of sugar, and drizzle with a little lemon juice. Fold into quarters and serve.
Repeat with the remaining batter to make 3 more crepes.