Kids Make Ham & Cheese Crepes
You could probably get kids to eat almost anything if it were wrapped in a crepe. Kids love making these, and they love eating them even more.
In fact, the kids in my food appreciation classes for years have been begging to make crepes. I think they had the sweet variety in mind. This week, since we are visiting France on our virtual world culinary tour, I showed them how delicious savory crepes can be. I have fond memories of my own travels to Brittany, where crepes sarrasin–or buckwheat crepes–are a specialty. Once you learn to make the crepes, there’s no trick to stuffing them with thinly sliced ham–or turkey, if you prefer–and Swiss cheese. To make them even more delectable, they’re folded into square packages, topped with a pat of butter and Parmesan cheese, then heated through in the oven.
Crepes are essentially very thin pancakes. The batter is swirled around a moderately hot pan and cooks quickly before being lifted and flipped with an off-set spatula to cook briefly on the other side. They can be made ahead and refrigerated, or even frozen for several months. It’s all in the technique, so don’t be afraid to practice a little. You don’t need a French crepe pan. But a non-stick pan is essential. This works best if you allow the pan to come up to temperature for a few minutes before making your first crepe.
To make enough crepes for a large family or a dinner party, first melt 2 tablespoons butter and set aside. In a mixing bowl, whisk together until smooth 2 large eggs, 1 cup milk and 1/3 cup water. In a separate bowl, mix together 2/3 cup all-purpose flour, 2/3 cup buckwheat flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Pour the egg mix into the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth, adding the melted butter.
Allow the batter to rest, refrigerated, at least 2 hours or even overnight. Over moderately high heat, heat a non-stick pan–the kind you would use to make omelets, or a crepe pan if you happen to have one–and grease with butter. Pour in enough batter to coat the bottom, tilting the pan this way and that until the batter covers the bottom surface. Allow the crepe to cook until the top is dry, then lift one of the edges using a spatula and your fingers and work the spatula under the crepe. Gently flip it to the other side to cook another 15 seconds or so. Remove the crepe to a sheet pan and continue making crepes until you’ve used your batter.
To stuff the crepes, lay them on a flat surface and place ham I (or turkey) slices in the middle along with a small handful or grated Swiss cheese. Fold the crepes into squares and flip them over onto a baking sheet. Top each crepe with a small pat of butter and a generous sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. Heat in a 325 oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve immediately.