In my Key West video, I call La Creperie one of the shining gems of Key West. There’s something special about its warm and friendly atmosphere, the delicious, fresh food served, and the cute and quaint ambience that is the Village. All of it inspired me to delve into the world of crepes as soon as I got home.
Crepes are buttery, flakey and incredibly versatile. Unlike American pancakes which are fluffy, bready and thick, crepes are thin, egg-flavored and have a bit of a crisp. They can be served with just about anything for any meal or occasion. Crepes can be used as an envelope, stuffed with smoked salmon, a garden salad or a salty ham, or they can be served flapjack style, stacked high and topped with sugary fruit or even ice cream.
I enjoy a thin, eggy crepe, crispy on the outer edges with a softness in the middle. Buckwheat crepes have a nutty and earthy taste that compliments savory and zesty flavors like balsamic vinagrette, lemon juice and fresh dill. I love buckwheat crepes with a fresh garden salad of baby greens, melted gruyere and sliced ham.
There are two distinct secrets to making crepes: time and attention. Once you’ve made the simple batter of milk, flour and eggs, you need to give it time. Crepe batter requires at least an hour to sit, undisturbed, in the refrigerator. This will ensure that the flour absorbs all the moisture, resulting in an even, flattened crepe. Skip this step and you’ll be making eggy pancakes!
The attention comes during cooking. Once you’ve ladled batter into a hot pan, you need to swirl it around quickly and evenly to create a perfect circle. Knowing that French children do this at home should help to alleviate any anxiety with this step. Cooking crepes happens rather quickly, so once you get the hang of it, you’ll have a stack in no time!
I researched quite a number of crepe recipes and my personal feeling is that the simpler it is, the better. This also applies to the steps taken to make it. While some recipes encourage the use of a blender or hand-mixer, I find that a few good turns with a whisk works just as well. Whisk your dry ingredients first, then the wet ingredients, then thoroughly whisk all together.
At La Creperie Key West their Banana Crepes are heavenly. I did my best to recreate the recipe, but I find I am missing one key ingredient: Sylvie and Yolande, the wonderful owners. As I savor my rendition of their crepes, I long for their company and the wonderful village that is Key West. Bon Appetit!
Easy Banana Crepes
2 large bananas, sliced into circles
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons sugar
juice of half a lemon, freshly squeezed
Premium vanilla or butter pecan ice cream
Whisk the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl and make a well. In a separate bowl, whisk the remaining three ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk to thoroughly combine. Pay attention to any clumps of flour that maybe left at the bottom of the bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
Butter a non-stick skillet. Make sure the pan is hot. Ladle the batter into the pan, using a swirling motion to move the batter evenly into a thin circle. As the batter sets, flip the crepe over to toast both sides. Stack crepes and keep warm in oven.
Wipe out the skillet. Add the butter and sliced bananas. Squeeze the lemon juice and add the sugar. Stir to combine and cook until bananas appear tender but still have their shape. If your crepes are large, pour bananas into the center and envelope the filling. If your crepes are small, stack them, or fold individually into quarters, and pour the bananas on top. Add a scoop of premium vanilla or butter pecan ice cream and serve immediately.