Whether they’re sweet or savory, crepes have always intrigued and intimidated me.
I’m always afraid I can’t keep them in tact (no crepe skills) which is likely why only recently I found the encouragement to make them later in life. Thanks to this recipe my partner Joe showed me firsthand that crepes are actually doable without a fancy crepe pan or cooking classes!
Crepes originate from Western France and they are celebrated every February 2nd during e jour des crêpes or “the day of the crepe.”
Growing up I don’t remember eating these crepes with ham sauce but I do remember dreaming about every kid’s treasured hammy story “Green Eggs and Ham.” You can enjoy a video short of that below.
This recipe hails from my Cousin Julie’s kitchen and I’m pegging it at circa 1970s or 80s. Julie wrote the recipe on her special stationery to my Mom “Betty,” and I’ve included a scan of the original below!
❤ If you’re fast-tracking this recipe while the crepe batter is chilling in the fridge you can continue on to prepare the filling and ham sauce. Or you can enjoy a mimosa and some conversation with your friends and family while the party crescendoes.
❤ Depending on the size of your pour you may have some leftover crepes. You can refrigerate them to enjoy a day or two later or… we froze a few of ours by placing a sheet of waxed paper between each crepe then placing the stack in an air tight, freezer-safe bag.
Total prep: About 90-120 minutes (including 1 hour for the crepe batter to chill)
for the crepes:
1 cup | flour, sifted
½ teaspoon | baking powder
¼ – ½ teaspoon | salt
2 | cage free eggs
1 cup | milk
¼ teaspoon | nutmeg
for the filling:
1 cup | onion, chopped
2 tablespoons | unsalted butter (give Falfurrias brand a try per my Grandmother “Nanny”)
10 ounce package | frozen spinach, thawed
1 cup | swiss cheese, diced
2 teaspoons | dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon | salt
¼ teaspoon | nutmeg
for the ham sauce:
2 tablespoons | Mmmmmore unsalted butter
2 tablespoons | flour
¼ teaspoon | salt
1 cup | milk
½ cup | half and half
2 teaspoons | dijon mustard
1 ½ cups (about ½ pound) | ham, cooked and diced
to garnish | green onions, chopped (optional)
iii. What To Do
Prepare The Crepes: 1) Combine by hand the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium-sized bowl and set aside. 2) In a separate bowl beat the eggs and milk together then add to the flour mixture. 3) Refrigerate 1 hour or overnight, if you’re preparing this ahead of time. 4) Over medium-low heat (we used gas) melt some butter in a flat pan or crepe pan. 5) Pour 3 tablespoons of the batter all at once into the heated pan and let it sit a few seconds. Carefully rotate, flip and cool a bit more on the second side. Transfer the crepe onto a plate until ready to use. Continue cooking and stacking until you’ll all out of batter, making about 12 crepes. If you’re lucky the crepes will turn out something like this:
Prepare The Filling: 1) In a larger pan over medium-high heat, sauté the onion in butter. 2) Add the spinach and cook until the moisture evaporates. 3) Stir in the swiss cheese, mustard, salt and nutmeg. 4) Preheat your oven to 350°F. 5) Fill the crepes using ¼ cup of the filling for each, roll ’em up, and arrange them in a lightly buttered casserole dish. You can place them in a chafing dish if you’re serving right away.
Prepare The Ham Sauce: 1) In your crepe pan, melt butter and stir in the flour and salt. 2) Add the milk, half and half and the mustard. 3) Cook, stirring constantly until thickened. 4) Fold in the diced ham and heat until warm. 5) Pour the ham sauce over the crepes and “warm up the whole business at once in the oven” as Julie wrote below, about 10-15 minutes or heat in the chafing dish (per above).
We sprinkled some chopped green onions on top to serve (optional).
Who is “Julie Mueller”
Julie is more than my 1st Cousin; she has been like my 2nd Mom. Julie had a heart bigger than Texas and I can still hear her signature “infectious” laugh which would instantly brighten any room.
Julie was known for having the impeccable skill of a master entertainer and with that the tastiest of foods were always to be enjoyed by all! I always thought of Julie as my very own Martha Stewart as she was crafty well beyond the kitchen across mediums like needlepoint, painting, furniture restoration and being a wonderful decorator and story teller. Whether by design or accident, Julie taught me to never underestimate the loving power and influence of a Cousin!
You’ll find several of Julie’s recipes, photos, and stories here at Betty’s Cook Nook. Her memory lives on in those who knew her and I’m happy to share some of her favorite foods with you.
I love when I get a little history lesson along with a recipe. It’s like two treats in one! Found along with this recipe my Mom clipped from The San Antonio Express-News in 1970 the article tells an interesting story about this recipe’s creator, Ester MacMillan.
Ester helped introduce quiche to foodies near and far after it arrived at the 1968 World’s Fair dubbed “HemisFair” that was held in San Antonio. What a sight that must have been when the Tower of the Americas – an observation tower more than 600 feet tall complete with a spinning 360° top – debuted at the expo! You can read more about Ester and her story about the origin of quiche via the original recipe scan I scored from my Mom’s cookbook below.
As a child I remember my Mom, “Betty,” talking about Quiche Lorraine and a few decades later (ahem, just a few) this was the first time I made it. I absolutely loved it! I found the recipe extremely forgiving, meaning you can adapt it to your liking by adjusting the ingredients you introduce into the custard.
Perfect for a brunch-time gathering or a couch-side treat this recipe scored a well-deserved spot in “The Best Of The Best Recipes” category (at right) … as well as my heart.
I’ve discovered more than one quiche recipe in Mom’s cookbook so I’ll be trying other versions soon and will share them here at Betty’s Cook Nook.
❤ “Blind baking.” I had never heard of it before until my friend and colleague Suzanne told me about it when I commented that I longed for a crispier quiche crust. Essentially all you do is pre-bake the crust a few minutes before filling it; doing so will help give it more “fluff.” I’ll give blind baking a try on the next making of this dish. And there will be a next time.
❤ I may have “accidentally” used a teeny bit more meat than the recipe suggests. In fact, Ester called for bacon or ham. A lover of both, I used bacon and ham. #Carnivore. This recipe presumes you will follow suit and use both. I scored some peppered ham at my local HEB and I loved the extra peppery kick.
❤ After reading the recipe below if you want to learn more about NIOSA and score some of the festival’s recipes, click this link and enjoy!
9 inch | pie crust
¼ pound | bacon or ham (or both)
1 ½ cup | gruyere or aged cheddar, grated (I used gruyere)
5 | cage free eggs
1 cup | cream, half and half or undiluted evaporated milk
½ teaspoon | salt
dash | white pepper
dash | nutmeg, grated
1 teaspoon | dried onion
dash | cayenne pepper
ii. what to do
0. Preheat your oven to 400°F. That was easy, right?
1. Line a 9-inch pie pan or fluted quiche pan with pie crust. If you choose, blind bake the doughy crust (per above) and set aside.
3. Place your grated cheese (yum, cheese!) in the bottom of your pastry-lined pie pan. Over that, sprinkle your meats.
5. Bake for about 30 minutes or until crust is golden and custard is set. Remove from oven and cool a bit to lukewarm and serve.
Yield: About 8 servings. Enjoy!
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook
Watch this interesting video series about HemisFair 1968! I learned much about my hometown city!
Our home at 2927 Trailend was decked out in the holiday best every year.
Our family’s signature was a white-light-wrapped Texas mesquite tree in the front yard. Neighbors expected us to don the tree with the shiny lights and so we did. Hundreds of them. Indoors … garland, ribbons and a crackling fire helped trim the season in the best of ways.
Over 40 Christmases later I stumbled upon a recipe folded and tucked deep inside Mom’s cookbook from an old Southern Living Magazine article headlined “Serve Supper After the Trimming,” which made me snicker. Supper? Um, DINNER! I offer my headline option: “Dinner, Decorate and Discotheque!” ;)
I later realized I had unintentionally ignored this hidden recipe for too many months, but this year it piqued my interest when I actually read past the vintage photo on the time-worn page – it contained two different menu ideas that were “quick to prepare and simple to serve.”
In a new era of microwavable meals and drive-thru food on the go, I don’t know if this would still be considered “quick,” but Joe and I found the holiday flight of recipes surprisingly tasty and worthy of a repeat eat. My chosen line-up? This Tomato Bisque recipe followed by Stroganoff Steak Sandwiches, Holiday Cake and Apple Cider – all coming this holiday season here at Betty’s Cook Nook.
However you celebrate the holidays, the deliciousness of food will make it all the greater!
tasting notes ~
♥ If you have old recipes like this one, make sure to take note of the details. A simple search of the photographer’s name “Jerome Drown” landed me to this online article with an interesting story of who he was; a Southern Living photographer, nature lover and conservationist with an awesome mid century modern home in Atlanta.
♥ If you’ve read the original recipe (below) you’ll see we’ve been “gypped” of the Apple Cider recipe. Apparently I could have made a few bucks as a proofreader in a former life. No worries – I’ll find a suitable replacement for the Apple Cider. In the meantime …
2 (10 ¾ ounce) cans | chicken broth
1 ⅓ cups | canned tomatoes
1 cup | celery, chopped
2 teaspoons | onion, chopped
1 cup | carrots, chopped
1 teaspoon | salt, divided into halves
6 tablespoons | falfurrias brand butter, divided
¼ cup | all-purpose flour
2 ⅔ cups | half-and-half, scalded
2 large | tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons | sugar
¼ teaspoon | soda
to taste | paprika
ii. what to do
1. Combine broth, canned tomatoes, celery, onion , carrots and ½ teaspoon salt in a saucepan. Heat to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Strain and reserve the broth and discard the veggies (sorry, veggies – you served us well)!
2. Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a saucepan then gradually stir in flour. Cook, stirring constantly over low heat for 2 minutes. Gradually add the half-and-half, stirring constantly. Cook, stirring and stirring until thickened. Remove the mixture from heat then stir in the reserved broth from Step 1 (above). Set aside and keep warm.
3. Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in a skillet. Add the fresh tomato and sauté 2-4 minutes. Stir in the sugar, the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and soda. Add to the broth mixture, stirring well. Garnish with paprika and serve!
Yield: About 6-8 servings
Here’s a scan of the original recipe!