The Return of French Fridays with Dorie: Crepes!

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French crepesWhen is a crepe no longer a crepe? When it becomes a blintz!

If you’ve been reading my blog, you might remember the Battle of the Blintz part 1 and 2.  If you aren’t familiar, a blintz is a crepe filled with a cheese mixture that is then pan-fried and/or baked and served with jam and sour cream. One of the key differences between a crepe prepared Dorie style vs prepared for a blintz, is that you don’t flip them. When you roll blintzes, you want the outside a pale yellow, allowing the color to be added when you pan fry or bake them. Here is a video of my son preparing a crepe for a big batch of blintzes.

Longing to return to my Saturday writing about French Fridays with Dorie, this week’s recipe, Butter and Rum crepes drew me right in. We love our weekend pancakes and making a crepe seemed like the perfect adjunct to that tradition and something we are quite accustomed to from our blintz battles.

For our blintz binges, we have relied on Tyler Florence’s crepe recipe with great success. My friend, who we battle with, uses an old recipe originating from a Russian grandma. Comparing the three of them is an education in recipe creation and proportions. Dorie’s, as her title suggests, is heaviest on the butter and incorporates orange liqueur, rum, and lemon and orange zest. The Tyler Florence recipe and the Grandma recipe both use water in the mix and a greater proportion of flour. Tyler adds lemon zest to the blintz filling – an easy add that really creates zing. Dorie’s use of both lemon and orange zest mixed into the sugar in the batter is a Dorie technique I love and results in a crepe that is satisfying right out of the pan.

French crepes

So how did Dorie’s butter-heavy batter turn out?

Once chilled, it feels a bit thicker than the Tyler Florence version. And it cooks up a bit differently. I usually melt butter and spread it on the crepe pan right before pouring in the batter. After doing that for the first crepe, I realized that Dorie’s batter is buttery enough that a non-stick pan doesn’t need the extra lubrication. In addition, her crepes seem more delicate and required what felt like 30 seconds to one minute extra time to cook. They would probably not work for blintzes as they seemed to have tiny holes in them and would likely burst while being baked or pan-fried. But for eating alone, filling with nutella, or making Dorie’s citrus sauce? Perfection. I loved the zest in the batter. I used vanilla in place of the rum and instead of grand marnier, I used a Mexican orange liqueur called 43 – a secret ingredient in my strawberry jam.

French crepes

In Dorie’s long and instructive headnote, she talks about crepes on the streets of Paris – here is a shot of one in process from our 2012 trip to the City of Light.

French Fridays with Dorie

French Fridays with DorieBy the way French Friday members – our family had the most lovely dinner with one of your very own on that trip – Mardi of the blog Eat Live Travel Write.

As always, I learned much from Dorie’s recipe and playing along with this wonderful group. To read more renditions of this recipe, check out the French Fridays with Dorie web site and buy Dorie Greenspan’s award-winning cookbook Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours. You will cherish the purchase and learn from each recipe and story that she shares.

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31 Responses to The Return of French Fridays with Dorie: Crepes!

  1. Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.) February 23, 2014 at 6:02 am #

    Oh look there’s me :) Welcome back to FFWD – we’re happy to have you, especially bringing a wonderful looking plate of crêpes like this!

    • Beth Lee February 23, 2014 at 7:53 am #

      It’s good to be back and I loved her recipe, of course. I would have made our picture bigger because you look so great but then there’s me …. LOL. That was such a fun time meeting you in Paris. For now, we will have to be happy with online!

  2. Carol Sacks February 23, 2014 at 2:18 pm #

    Marvelous! I’m ready for Paris and crepes in that order!

    • Beth Lee February 23, 2014 at 6:39 pm #

      I’ll be happy to be your travel companion – when are we going?? :-)

  3. Kathy February 23, 2014 at 5:43 pm #

    Beth, It’s nice to have you cooking along with us! This was a delicious recipe…I loved the flavor that the lemon and orange zest gave to the batter. Your crepes look wonderfully perfect! They were a big hit in my house! Have a great week!

    • Beth Lee February 23, 2014 at 6:41 pm #

      Nice to be back cooking with you! Yes, the zest in the batter was terrific. These really were yummy with nothing on them – so rich and satisfying. But my daughter didn’t complain when I added nutella and strawberries. They were breakfast again today and I have enough to stretch for one more dessert or breakfast treat. Can’t wait. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Betsy February 23, 2014 at 6:33 pm #

    Your crepes look so delicious! Someone gave me a bottle of 43, but I’ve never opened out, wasn’t sure what to do with it. What else do you suggest other than strawberry jam?

    • Beth Lee February 23, 2014 at 6:44 pm #

      Well the first time I had it was in Mexico as a dessert liqueur so a little bit on its own is an option. Really anything you might use grand marnier for, this would be a good substitute. But in my jams, it is a little surprise that people notice but can’t place. I posted about roasting fruit and I bet this would be a nice add-on for that. Open the bottle – you won’t regret it. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Geraldine Saucier February 23, 2014 at 7:23 pm #

    Beautiful job in the crepes. They look wonderful.

    • Beth Lee February 24, 2014 at 11:16 am #

      Thanks Geraldine – they were fun to make and to eat!

  6. Deb February 23, 2014 at 7:32 pm #

    For many years my Dad would take us to Sunday brunch in San Juan Bautista at The Donkey Deli. There was always a scrumptious array of eggs, meats, pancakes, rolls fresh from the oven, homemade jams, European style butter and best of all…blintzes. I would load up on the blintzes and slather them with homemade jam. I haven’t been in years and think the owners have retired. But your post brought back such delicious memories!

    I have Dorie’s Around my French Table and haven’t tried her version of crepes. My family would be delighted if I did! BTW, If you and Carol go to France please take me too!

    • Beth Lee February 24, 2014 at 11:18 am #

      Don’t think I didn’t consider the idea of a food blogging trip to Paris – wouldn’t that be something? Rent an apartment so we can cook and explore the city through food. Aaah – a good goal to ponder, no?

      I love the story of the Donkey Deli – food memories are the best in my book. Thanks for sharing.

  7. TheKitchenLioness February 24, 2014 at 4:31 am #

    Beth, so nice “to meet you” and to have you cooking along with the French Fridays with Dorie group – your crêpes look perfect with those lovely fresh strawberries and the slight adaptations that you made to the recipe sound fabulous!

    • Beth Lee February 24, 2014 at 11:19 am #

      Everything looks good with fresh strawberries — last night they made it onto my arugula salad with an odd array of other items that somehow all worked together. Nice “to meet you” too. Always love cooking with this group.

  8. pattyabr February 24, 2014 at 2:35 pm #

    love the video. what a wonderful skill to learn crepes. I’ll have to put that on the cooking bucket list.

    • Beth Lee February 25, 2014 at 11:29 am #

      Hi Patty! Oh definitely put it on the list – they are fun and once you get the hang of it in the pan, they are a snap and so much fun to be creative with.

  9. Jora February 25, 2014 at 8:30 am #

    Interesting post. I absolutely love blintzes, but rarely take the time to make them myself. I really enjoyed reading the recipe comparison. I find the slight variations so interesting.

    • Beth Lee February 25, 2014 at 11:27 am #

      Thanks for stopping by Jora. Yes, I find all the little variations fascinating – I think that’s what makes cooking together so great. It really shows you how creative we can all be and how versatile a recipe can be.

  10. Liz February 26, 2014 at 5:37 pm #

    Your plating is gorgeous…and thanks for the comparison of the different crepe recipes! Hope to meet both you AND Mardi one day soon…

    • Beth Lee February 27, 2014 at 2:09 pm #

      Thanks Liz! Yes, me too! What a grand time we would have cooking together or eating together or dare I dream – walking the streets of Paris together??!!

  11. Cher February 27, 2014 at 6:19 pm #

    Lovely crepes!
    Great to have you join us this week :-)

    • Beth Lee March 4, 2014 at 10:10 pm #

      Thanks Cher – I also managed to make the garbure just yesterday but have only had time to share on the FB group. I really enjoy Dorie’s recipes and the creativity of this group so I’m glad to be here!

  12. Teresa February 28, 2014 at 1:29 am #

    Beautiful crepes! It’s so nice to have you back this week. That’s a great photo of you and Mardi, as well. So nice that you could meet in Paris.

    And thanks for the links to you blintz battle – I love recipe comparisons.

    • Beth Lee March 4, 2014 at 10:13 pm #

      Hi Teresa! Meeting Mardi was a highlight of that trip. My whole family had dinner with her at a lovely wine and dining shop/restaurant. We had the perfect round table in the back by a lovely window. The food was casually elegant, served family style but w panache. We enjoyed every bite and terrific conversation with Mardi.

  13. Margaret March 1, 2014 at 8:23 pm #

    Crepes in Paris. what fun. Dorie’s were so easy to make. Almost too easy to be so good.

    Welcome back!!

    • Beth Lee March 4, 2014 at 10:15 pm #

      It was a simple recipe but that citrus and a bit of extra butter and the liqueurs really heightened the flavor profile!

  14. mary hirsch March 4, 2014 at 8:30 pm #

    Welcome back, Beth. Aren’t we lucky to have you cooking along with us again. These crepes seemed to bring back travel memories for all of us. Why don’t we make crepes at home? My family always looked forward to crepes when we would go on skiing vacations to Aspen or Vail. Now that I live in Aspen, I never run down to the crepe wagon for a treat. I liked Dorie’s recipe and found the batter easy to manipulate. Of course, as you understand with this gang, perfection for me is at a lower bar than most! You’re doing a phenomenal job with “Jerusalem” (love, love, love cooking for Ottolenghi’s books) and we’re glad you’re back with us.

    • Beth Lee March 4, 2014 at 10:22 pm #

      Thanks for your kind words Mary. I love this group and am so happy to see it will continue with AMFT but also be working with Chez Moi. I just adore Dorie and her recipes.

      I’m not sure why I don’t make crepes more often either. I love how you can/should make the batter ahead of time and that it will keep in the fridge even for a few days so you can always have fresh crepes. Such a great snack or dessert especially with a nutella-loving daughter around.

      In your “spare” time come say hi over at Tasting Jerusalem! Would love to hear about your Ottolenghi creations. This month, we are learning all about cardamom and there are oh so many recipes using that spice in powder and pod form.

  15. Christy March 11, 2014 at 5:31 pm #

    I love that you are a French Saturday or so gal like me! I really try for those Friday posts, and frequently make the items weeks in advance – just life gets in the way the posts get delayed.

    Glad to have you back with FFWD! Missed your posts.

    • Beth Lee March 11, 2014 at 8:55 pm #

      Oh thanks Christy. And I missed the group. I’m loving the active FB page – feel like I can participate and learn even if I can’t pull a post together!

    • Beth Lee March 11, 2014 at 8:56 pm #

      P.S. We French Fridays on Saturday gals have to stick together!

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