A stack of crêpes
|Place of origin||France|
|Region or state||Brittany|
|Main ingredient(s)||Wheat flour or buckwheat flour, milk, eggs|
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2012)|
A crêpe or crepe (i// or // French: [kʁɛp] ( ), Quebec French: [kʁaɪ̯p] ( )) is a type of very thin pancake, usually made from wheat flour (crêpes de Froment) or buckwheat flour (galettes). The word is of French origin, deriving from the Latin crispa, meaning "curled". While crêpes are often associated with Brittany, a region in the northwest of France, their consumption is widespread in France, Belgium, Quebec and many parts of Europe. Crêpes are served with a variety of fillings, from the most simple with only sugar to flambéed crêpes Suzette or elaborate savoury galettes.
Crêpes are made by pouring a thin liquid batter onto a hot frying pan or flat circular hot plate, often with a trace of butter on the pan's surface. The batter is spread evenly over the cooking surface of the pan or plate either by tilting the pan or by distributing the batter with an offset spatula. Sweet crêpes are generally made with wheat flour while savory crêpes are made with non-wheat flours such as buckwheat.
Common savoury fillings for crêpes served for lunch or dinner are cheese, ham, and eggs, ratatouille, mushrooms, artichoke (in certain regions), and various meat products. The fillings are commonly added to the center of the crêpe and served with the edges partially folded over the center.
When sweet, they can be eaten as part of breakfast or as a dessert. They can be filled and topped with various sweet toppings, often including Nutella spread, preserves, sugar (granulated or powdered), maple syrup, lemon juice, whipped cream, fruit spreads, custard, and sliced soft fruits or confiture.
Types and special crêpes
Crêpes are especially popular throughout France. The common ingredients include flour, eggs, milk, butter, and a pinch of salt. Crêpes are usually of two types: sweet crêpes (crêpes sucrées) made with wheat flour and slightly sweetened; and savoury galettes (crêpes salées) made with buckwheat flour and unsweetened. The name "galette" came from the French word galet ("pebble"), since the first gallettes were made on a large pebble heated in a fire. Batter made from buckwheat flour is gluten-free, which makes it possible for people who have a gluten allergy or intolerance to eat this type of crêpe. Mille crêpes is a French cake made of many crêpe layers. The word mille means "a thousand", implying the many layers of crêpe. Another standard French and Belgian crêpe is the crêpe Suzette, a crêpe with lightly grated orange peel and liqueur (usually Grand Marnier) which is subsequently lit upon presentation.
Swedish pancakes, also called Nordic pancakes, are similar to the French crêpes. In some of the Nordic countries they are served with jam or fruit, especially lingonberries (or the butter from that fruit) as a dessert with a variety of savory fillings. Traditional Swedish variations can be exotic. Beside the usual thin pancakes, called pannkakor, which resembles the French crêpes and, often served with whipped cream and jam, are traditionally eaten for lunch on Thursdays with pea soup, the Swedish cuisine has plättar which resemble tiny English pancakes, and are fried several at a time in a special pan. Others resemble German pancakes but include fried pork in the batter (fläskpannkaka); these are baked in the oven. Potato pancakes called raggmunk contain shredded raw potato, and may contain other vegetables (sometimes the pancake batter is omitted, producing rårakor). Raggmunk and rårakor are traditionally eaten with pork rinds and lingonberry jam. A special Swedish pancake is saffron pancake from Gotland, made with saffron and rice, baked in the oven. It is common to add lemon juice to the sugar for extra taste. The pancakes are often served after a soup. Another special "Swedish pancake" is the äggakaka (eggcake), also called skånsk äggakaka (scanian eggcake), it is almost like an ordinary Swedish pancake but it is a lot thicker and also a lot more difficult to make due to the risk of burning it. It is made in a frying pan and is about 1½ to 2 inches thick and is served with lingonberries and bacon. The Norwegian variety is commonly eaten for dinner, traditionally with bacon, jam (typically bilberry jam) or sugar.
The '49er flapjack' is a sourdough crepe which is popular in the United States, getting its name from the popularity of this style of pancake during the gold rush. During the Klondike gold rush of 1898, it was said that a real "Alaskan Sourdough" would just as soon spend a year in the hills without his rifle, as to tough it through without his bubbling sourdough pot. Since food was scarce, food provisions were more valuable than gold. In extreme cold, miners would put the dough ball under their clothes, next to their skin, or tuck it into their bedroll with them at night, anything to keep the yeast in it alive. Because it is similar to a Swedish pancake the 49er is sometimes served with lingonberry sauce, although most often it is rolled up with butter and powdered sugar, or served open faced and topped with maple syrup.
Crêpe dentelle is a crispy biscuit made with a very thin layer of crêpe folded in a cigar shape and then baked. It is usually enjoyed with a hot drink during the Goûter, or Afternoon Tea, in France.
Crêperies are typical of Brittany in France; however, crêperies can be found throughout France and in many other countries.
Because a crêpe may be served as both a main meal or a dessert, crêperies may be quite diverse in their selection and may offer other baked goods such as baguettes. They may also serve coffee, tea, buttermilk and cider (a popular drink to accompany crêpes).
In other countries
In Norwegian, it's called Pannekake, in most German regions it's Pfannkuchen, and in Dutch it's pannenkoeken. In Swedish, a crêpe is called pannkaka, and in Danish, pandekager ("pancake"); in Dutch it is a pannenkoek or flensje, and in Afrikaans a pannekoek, which is usually served with cinnamon sugar. In the Spanish regions of Galicia and Asturias they are traditionally served at carnivals. In Galicia they're called filloas, and may also be made with pork blood instead of milk. In Asturias they are called fayueles or frixuelos, and in Turkey, "Akıtma".
In areas of central Europe formerly belonging to the Austro-Hungarian empire, there is a thin pancake comparable to a crêpe that in Austro-Bavarian is called Palatschinken or Omletten; in Hungarian: palacsinta; and in Bosnian, Serbian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Montenegrin, Czech, Croatian and Slovene: palačinka; in Slovak: palacinka. In the Balkan region such as the countries of Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia, palačinka or palaçinka may be eaten with fruit jam, quark cheese, sugar, honey, or the hazelnut-chocolate cream Nutella. In Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine, there is a similar dish known as the blintz. The Oxford English Dictionary derives the German and Slavic words from the Hungarians palacsinta, which it derives from the Romanian plăcintă ("pie, pancake"), which comes in turn from classical Latin placenta ("small flat cake").
Crêpes have also become popular in Japan, with sweet and savoury varieties being sold at many small stands, usually called crêperies. In Argentina they are called panqueques and are often eaten with dulce de leche. They have also become popular in North America with several crêpe franchises opening. Typically, these franchises stick to the traditional French method of making crêpes but they have also put their own spin on the crêpe with new types such as the hamburger and pizza crêpe.
In addition to crêperies and crêpe franchises, there are crêpe manufacturers that use modern equipment to produce crêpes in bulk.
Dishes with similar appearance, taste and preparation methods exist in other parts of the world as well. In South India, a crêpe made of fermented rice batter is called a dosa, which often has savoury fillings. In Western India, a crepe made of gram flour is called Pudlaa/Poodla, with the batter consisting of vegetables and spices. Another variety is called Patibola and is sweet in taste due to milk, jaggery or sugar. The injera of Ethiopian/Eritrean/Somali/Yemeni cuisine is often described as a thick crêpe. Also in Somalia, malawax is very similar to a crêpe. It is mostly eaten at breakfast.
The names for thin crêpes in other parts of Europe are:
- Asturian: frixuelo
- Breton: krampouezh
- Bulgarian: палачинка
- Cornish: krampoeth
- Croatian: palačinka
- English: pancake
- Estonian: pannkook, ülepannikook
- Faroese: pannukaka
- Finnish: ohukainen, lätty, lettu or räiskäle
- Galician: filloas
- Greek: κρέπα (krépa)
- Hungarian: palacsinta
- Icelandic: pönnukaka
- Kazakh: құймақ (quymaq)
- Latvian: pankūka
- Lithuanian: Lietiniai blynai
- Polish: naleśniki
- Portuguese: crepe
- Romanian: clătită
- Russian: блины (bliny)
- Slovene: palačinka
- Spanish: tortitas
- Ukrainian: млинці (mlyntsi, nalysnyky)
- Welsh: cramwyth
Crêpes in culture
In France, crêpes are traditionally served on Candlemas (La Chandeleur), February 2. This day was originally Virgin Mary's Blessing Day, but became known in France as "Le Jour des Crêpes" (literally translated "The Day of the Crêpes", but sometimes given colloquially as "Avec Crêpe Day" or "National Crêpe Day"), referring to the tradition of offering crêpes. The belief was that if you could catch the crêpe with a frying pan after tossing it in the air with your right hand and holding a gold coin in your left hand, you would become rich that year.
- Bánh xèo
- Crepe maker, crepe cooking device
- Galette, another kind of Breton pancake, also from Brittany, France
- Kouign amann, another Breton delicacy
- Krampouz, crepe maker manufacturer, also from Brittany, France
- Nutella, chocolate and hazelnut-based topping commonly used on crêpes
- Pancake, U.S. version of Breton, French crêpes
- Popiah, Chinese roll wrapped in a thin crepe made by "wiping" dough on a hot plate
- Poffertjes, small ball-shaped pancake, particularly popular in the Netherlands
- Tortilla, another kind of pancake, originally from Mexico yet very alike
- Swedish pancake
- Longman Pronunciation Dictionary. 3rd Ed. 2008.
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- Courtine, Robert J. (1984), Larousse gastronomique (French edition), Paris: Librairie Larousse.
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- Redmond, Barbara (2012-01-30). La Chandeleur – Le Jour des Crêpes. Retrieved on 2012-02-28 from http://awomansparis.wordpress.com/2012/01/30/la-chandeleur-le-jour-des-crepes/.
- Media related to Crêpe at Wikimedia Commons
- The dictionary definition of crêpe at Wiktionary
- Crêpe at Wikibook Cookbooks