If you’ve never had crepes, you’re missing half of your life! Some may consider it a cousin of pancakes, but they’re entirely on a league of its own. French crepes have a thin, chewy, and unique texture, a perfect breakfast or snack option for those who want something lighter than starchy pastries.
Professional chef Liyna Boucher is the go-to expert for crepes and many other French cuisine options. After migrating to Canada in the 2010’s, she continued using her French cuisine knowledge and opened her own set of restaurants in British Columbia. In this post, Chef Liyna shares some exciting things to know about crepes.
The Term “Crepe” Has Latin Origins
Although crepes are traditionally a known French pastry, its name comes from the Latin term “Crispus.” Crispus means crinkly in texture, which describes the crepe’s thin and easily wrinkled features. However, the trick to making an excellent French crepe is not flipping it too early! A perfectly cooked crepe will glide smoothly and flip over when ready.
The French people adopted the term “Crispus” because it is also similar to the Greek word “Crispos,” which translates to wrapped. Crepes almost always don’t come on their own, often used as a thin wrapper around sweet or savory fillings.
From Buckwheat to Wheat Flour
The very first kinds of crepes were made from buckwheat flour. During the 9th century, industrialization allowed the easy milling of wheat flour, making wheat crepes a more favorable choice.
However, buckwheat flour is a great option for other crepes if one wants a gluten-free option. Buckwheat has more dietary fiber than all-purpose wheat flour, although it is not common when having crepes in restaurants or bakeries.
Different Ways to Serve Crepes
Chef Liyna Boucher also explains that there are different ways to serve crepes. As a wrap or cover, there are variations on how they are folded:
● Basic wrap: This crepe is the one most people are familiar with. Like rolling up maki sushi or an egg dumpling, the fillings are on inside and two-thirds of the crepe is used to wrap around its contents.
● Triangle: Some chefs also create crepes by creating a triangle shape and tucking the sides under. This is ideal if the crepe comes with other items on the side, such as eggs, breakfast meat, fruit, or salad.
● Half-moon:: Another popular variation of crepes is the half-moon shape. This allows for more fillings to be put in, especially for the breakfast varieties.
● Cone: Cone crepes are becoming popular in modern restaurants as a form of dessert. People can hold the crepes like an ice cream cone with toppings inside, such as whipped cream, fruits, syrup, and custard.
The type of crepe shape to be served all depends on if it’s sweet, savory, or if served with other food. You can feel free to experiment on your crepe shape when making one at home, but it is ideal to try one that you can do easily with success.
French Celebrate National Crepe Day Every February
Chef Liyna Boucher is also familiar with the French tradition every February called the National Crepe Day.
During the second month of the year, people can cast their wishes by tossing a coin and carefully flipping a crepe. This is done to commemorate the Christian celebration in France called the feast of Candelora, which coincides with National Crepe Day.
The French also create their traditional homemade recipes to celebrate with their families during this time. It is believed that crepes should be eaten during dinner at this time as an act to have good fortune.
Crepes Have Evolved for Different Cultures
Another interesting fact one can discover about crepes is their evolution throughout different cultures. Although crepes are recognized as a “wrap” type of pastry in France, here are some of its cultural adaptations depending on the country:
● Italy: Similar to pizza, the Italians also bake crepes to serve as an alternate option for lasagna noodles. They are also served with tomato sauce, cheese, and other toppings similar to the traditional lasagna recipe.
● Canada: Canada has a strong French influence, but in this country, some crepes are served thicker than in France. Almost similar to pancakes, these crepes are served thick, especially for areas in Quebec where maple syrups are manufactured.
● Austria: Austrians also have a similar crepe recipe that they add as a soup topping. The crepes in these savory soups have a smooth and chewy texture which adds more dimension to the broth.
Many Ways to Enjoy Crepes
Whether you like them sweet or savory, it is undeniable that crepes have an interesting history. As you explore different types of food, Chef Liyna Boucher hopes that you appreciate these fun facts that make crepes an outstanding French pastry.