One of my favorite food memories from my trip to Paris a few months ago was going out late at night near the Eiffel Tower and queuing up with a bunch of other people to get freshly made crepes, then sitting in the park enjoying the lights of the tower while eating. The crepes were so good that the first night I had one, I ate it just after crossing the street away from the crepe stand, then turned back around and ordered another. They were that good. At home, I usually make crepes for breakfast and fill them with jam. The street crepes, while sweet options were available, were most popular in their savory incarnations. I liked the ham, cheese and egg crepes best.
I was glad that I had the opportunity to watch the crepes being made because the process was a little different than you might expect. I fully anticipated that the fillings would be added after the crepe was cooked. Instead, they were cooked right on the crepe itself – even the egg! A few practice runs and home with my own crepes, and I now I have a method that seems to come out almost as well as the crepes I had in France. The French crepes will always have the late-night Eiffel Tower advantage over mine, however.
To make these crepes, you need a large frying pan, preferably one that’s about 12-inches across. A crepe pan is not necessary unless you’re going into the crepe business. You could make smaller crepes, but you might have to compromise on how you fold it to get all the filling it. It’ll still taste good, however. I used deli sliced ham and havarti cheese for these. Turkey meat is good, too, if you’re not a fan of ham, even though the saltiness of the ham really goes well with the egg and cheese. Havarti and Swiss are my two favorite cheeses for these, but feel free to use your favorite sliced or shredded cheese. The amounts given below are just suggestions, as I tend to eyeball the amount of cheese I’m using. No matter how you tweak the filling, you’ll end up with a great-tasting crepe. The batter can me made in advance and will keep well in the fridge for about 2 days, as long as you give it a stir before using.
I don’t usually provide step-by-step photos for recipes, but in an effort to recapture even a hint of the experience of watching a pro make crepes, I’ve photographed all the steps to go along with this recipe.
French Ham, Cheese and Egg Crepes
1 1/3 cups milk (I use low fat)
2/3 cup water
1 1/2 cups + 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vegetable oil
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and whisk until very smooth. This can also be done in a food processor. Set batter aside to rest for about 15 minutes before using. Batter can also be covered and refrigerated for up to two days.
For Filling, per crepe:
1 large egg
approx. 2-oz Havarti or Swiss cheese
approx. 1 or 2-oz Ham
Add some butter or nonstaick spray to a large frying pan (about 12-inches) and heat over high heat. Pour about 1/3 cup crepe batter into the pan and tilt the pan to swirl it around and coat it with a single, even layer. Once the first side cooks, flip the crepe and crack an egg right on top.
Use a fork to gently break the egg yolk, give the egg a gentle whisk and spread it evenly all over the crepe. If you’re worried about hitting the crepe during this step, you can scramble the egg in a bowl and pour it into the center of the crepe, the spread it around. Allow crepe to continue cooking until egg is set. Season with pepper, if desired.
Spread a layer of cheese over half of the crepe. Allow it to melt for about 30-60 seconds.
Add a layer of ham on top of the cheese. You can use either a single layer of ham or pile up two thin layers.
Fold crepes in half, covering the ham and cheese side of the crepe with the side that only has egg on it. Fold crepe in half again, making a finished crepe that is 1/4 circle in area and packed with many layers of crepe, cheese, ham and egg.
Serve immediately, either on a plate or wrapped up in a couple of paper towels if you want to brave the hot cheese and eat it “street-style: and start on a second. Skillet heat may need to be lowered slightly for subsequent crepes, but crepes should be nicely browned when finished.
Makes 6 large crepes (8 if using a smaller pan)