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Pancakes, crêpes, flapjacks… Not sure what the differences are? I got you covered.

First up, crêpes. Crêpe is a French word, crêpes are from France. Crêpes are flat, golden brown and round, if you give them that chance. Crepes have no leavening agent, i.e baking powder. The basic recipe for the batter? Well here you go:

Flour                              1/2 cup
Milk or half & half       1 cup
Egg                                 2
Salt                                1/2 tsp

Mix the liquid and dry ingredients separately. Mix them together and use a whisk to break up the lumps. You can store the batter overnight in a sealed container. It is believed that batters that have been chilled overnight make the best crêpes. Heat a pan, cast iron or non stick, add butter. Pour the batter over the warm pan, cook till golden, then flip it. The first one is always the trial crepe, adjust the heat accordingly. If you want the crepe paper thin, add a couple more tablespoons of milk to the batter and when cooking it, carefully spread it around a warm pan. You may add around 2 tsp of sugar if you do not want your crepe to be savory.

Pancakes a.k.a flapjacks are thick, light and fluffy. The batter is thicker than that of a crêpe and will contain a leavening agent, either baking powder, baking soda or both. The trick to pancakes is adding melted butter to it. It is the necessary ingredient, do not omit it just because you want a low fat pancake, it will probably fail to get fluffy. You can also add items like chocolate chips or even diced banana to the batter if you wish.The basic batter is as follows:

Flour                              1 cup
Milk or half & half       4/5 cup
Egg                                 2
Salt                                1 tsp
Sugar                             2 tbsp
Baking Powder            3 tsp
Melted Butter              3 tsp

Beat the eggs well and mix all the dry and wet ingredients separately. Then fold in the dry into the wet mixture. Your batter is ready. Heat the pan, grease it with some butter or oil. Drop a big dollop of the thick batter into the hot pan, do not spread it around. Turn when one side is done. Cook till it’s fluffed up and brown on both sides. If they do not fluff up reduce your heat and cover the pan.

Pancakes are popular as a breakfast item, while the use of crepes are flexible and can be used in almost any way, in any dish and at any time of the day. Add five spice powder to the crepe batter and stuff the cooked crepes with beef chilly stir fry, you now have made Chinese. You could make a dessert, Crêpe Suzette or wrap a nice cut of fillet steak with a herbed crepe and you got Beef Wellington. Dice it and add it to soup. Be daring, invent your own stuffing for a crepe. While cooking, remember the first pancake or crepe is always the trial one, adjust the heat, dilute the batter a bit, put a little less butter in the pan. You need to experiment around before you start flipping out a stack of perfect Pancakes or crêpes.

Matthew Savard
About the Author

Born a French-Canadian, grew up in India. An avid traveler. Apart from being online or undertaking some venture, cooks lots, eats even more! Is currently in pursuit of becoming a Chef.

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