Paris Crêpes

Next to making and sharing delicious food, traveling is my favorite pastime. I gladly give up movies, new clothes and such, and put every spare penny towards plane tickets, hotel rooms and oh so fabulous meals.

This fall I spent a couple of weeks in Paris visiting family and dear friends. One brisk afternoon my friend Amy and I donned coats and scarves and set off for the Jardin de Luxembourg, instantly slowing to a saunter as we entered the gates.

Wide, leaf-strewn gravel paths meandered past twisted old trees, around great stretches of green grass bordered in short, scalloped iron fencing. At the center of nearly every grassy place was an intricately carved marble statue, its base festooned with flowers, the lawns dotted with fallen leaves.

It was lunchtime and clusters of teenagers parked themselves on chairs, benches and even the pathways to eat their meal, laughing, talking and smoking happily in the warm fall sunshine. Here and there an artist sat in the sun, capturing the autumnal beauty in chalk or paint. Well-dressed women sat alone with their thoughts, or shared them animatedly with a friend. My favorites were the elderly couples, the women in heels, dresses and wool coats, the men in dress pants and overcoats, both wearing hats, strolling hand in hand along the winding pathways.

We emerged from the park ages later, our hearts richly satisfied with the beauties we'd seen, and walked towards the Pantheon. By this time our stomachs were crying out for victuals, and we spotted a crêperie across the road. We had the cheeriest waiter, a young fellow about 22 who behaved as though nothing pleased him more than to see his customers happy.

He seated us outside at a tiny round table and brought us flat water and our buckwheat crêpes of choice. I chose a savory one filled with white ham, Emmental cheese, tomato and fried egg, while Amy indulged her sweet tooth with Nutella, banana and coconut. The crêpes were amazing - delectably crisp yet chewy, with fresh and flavorful fillings. Ooeee, SO good on a cold day! :-)

They were delicious, so earthy, rich and hearty that within a day or two we were positively craving them!

We found another crêperie down a twisting side street and were directed to a teensy table by the window with two round-seated wooden chairs. Within a few minutes it was packed to the gills with locals - nary a tourist to be seen - so we were quite proud of our choice. :-) Amy's crêpe was filled with melty, caramelized pears and I had a buckwheat one with cheese, ham and egg topped with a fabulous green salad with a vinegary dressing that dripped down onto the crepe. Deeeelicious!

Wanting to replicate these beauties at home, I was thrilled to discover David Lebowitz's wonderful recipe. I just substitute whole wheat flour. Enjoy!

Buckwheat Crêpes
18-20 crêpes

It's best to let the batter chill overnight, but let it come to room temperature prior to frying them up. And keep stirring the batter as you go while frying since the flour tends to sink to the bottom.

2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted, melted
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (I use whole wheat flour)
3 large eggs

In a blender, or with a whisk, mix together all the ingredients until smooth. Cover and chill overnight.

To fry the crêpes, remove the batter from the refrigerator about an hour before frying. Stir it briskly; it should be the consistency of heavy cream. (If not, you can add a tablespoon of milk.)

Heat a 8- to 9-inch skillet on the stovetop. You can use a real crêpe pan that's been seasoned, but I use a Tefal non-stick skillet which works great.

Drop a tiny piece of butter or neutral oil in the hot pan and wipe it around with a paper towel. (I only do this for the first crêpe.)

Lift the pan and pour 1/4 cup of the batter in the middle of the hot skillet, swirling the pan to distribute the batter quickly and evenly. The pan shouldn't be too hot or too cold: the batter should start cooking within a few seconds, giving you just enough time to swirl it. It may take a couple of crêpes for you to get your rhythm.

After about a minute, run a non-stick spatula around the underside of the rim of the crêpe, then flip the crêpe over.

Let the crêpe cook on the flip side for about 30 seconds, then slide it out onto a dinner plate. Repeat, cooking the crêpes with the remaining batter, stirring the batter every so often as you go.

Crêpes should be served warm. To rewarm the crêpes for serving, fold the crêpes and put them in a baking dish covered with foil. Heat them in a moderate oven until warmed through.


  1. Krista, I can't tell you how much I enjoy your writing, your experiences, and YOUR FOOD recipes! As soon as my kitchen is installed (without one since July:) I will try some of these. Thanks for ideas... I can be so boring and same same...have a lovely Thanksgiving.

  2. My dearest Reesha - thank you SO much for your words. :-) You just encouraged the dickens out of me! :-) I can't imagine going out without a kitchen for so long! Reminds me of my family at the TC, cooking Thanksgiving Dinner with a hot pot and a microwave. ;-)