Crepes at 6AM

In keeping with the theme of cooking at any hour of the day or night, I got up this morning and made 20 crepes for Ms. Iz’s class at school. It didn’t seem so crazy on Sunday night when we had our friends over for a dinner party. But, in the light of day (or, I should say, the dark-of-ever-rainy-SF morning), with a kitchen full of dirty dishes and breakfast, lunch, and dog to deal with, not so good. Here it is, Iz asked me to make crepes for her school for Mardi Gras. Yes, it was a week late, and all, but I agreed since it’s such a nice thing for your kid to bring in something special to share. It must be mentioned here that she attends a French school. In hindsight, I was insane to agree to make such a treat for a bunch of real French people, but I wasn’t thinking of that.

What was going through my mind, was how Gran Fran, no matter what, would send me off to preschool (then known as Nursery school) with fresh-baked treats for whatever holiday was being celebrated. I attended a Jewish Nursery school (long story, short, even though our family wasn’t Jewish, the private Nursery school was willing to take me a year earlier than the public school) and so Gran Fran made many challahs, and even hamantaschen cookies for Purim

Oddly, this is the first time I’ve made the connection between putting Iz into a French school as a non-French person, and my Jewish Nursery school experience. That being said, it just shows to go you that you can never walk far away from you past. Gran Fran is always on my shoulder saying “What? So, you get up a little early? What’s it going to cost you … a little sleep?” This, from a woman who seems to need no more than 5 hours of sleep a night. Who knows if that is a product of raising five kids, what with all the worry and all, or if she was always that way.

On Saturday before she left for her Dad’s house, she asked if I had bought the crepe pan and Nutella yet. I assured her the purchases would be made before she returned the next night. I did get everything, Iz made the batter, and then, with many cooks in my kitchen, we tried to make the crepes. There was the learning curve to deal with, having never made crepes, the burn Iz got on her finger whilst trying to flip one, and the inevitable boredom that comes from making the same thing over and over. And, that, my friends, is how I ended up making these at 6AM on a Monday.

The crepes, as it turned out, were a huge success. Iz was very proud to report back that she got to serve them and was able to have two with Nutella for herself. She was the only one who brought crepes, with some of the other kids supplying donuts the week before, or other sweet treats. So, in the end, Gran Fran was right (as usual). Who needs sleep when you can supply such joy with a little bit of flour, butter, milk and eggs?

Crepes ala Iz

Makes 25 crepesYou will need a flatish-round, nonsticl pan, or better yet, a nonstick crepe pan.


  • 1cup flour
  • 1cup milk
  • 1/2cup water
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • pinch of salt


  • Mix all ingredients well in a food processor or blender until smooth.
  • Let the batter stand for 30 minutes, undisturbed.
  • Heat the non-stick crepe pan over medium heat.
  • Spray a light coating of vegetable oil on pan.
  • Pour batter slowly into center of pan. Then, quickly pick up pan and twist the handle to move batter around into a thin coating.
  • Leave undisturbed on medium heat for 3 minutes, until edges begin to curl a little.
  • Flip the crepe over. Cook another 2 minutes and flip onto a plate.
  • Cover finished crepes with a clean kitchen towel while making the others.
  • Serve immediately with Nutella or sugar rolled inside.
  • If storing, simply make a stack of crepes and wrap in plastic wrap.

Adapted from The Joy of Coking

Challah ala Gran Fran

Yield: 2 loaves


  • 1 cup warm water (100 to 110 F)
  • 2 packages (1/2 ounce or 4 1/2 tsp) Fleischmann's Active Dry Yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 1/4 to 5 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • Poppy Seed and/or Sesame Seed, optional


Place 1/2 cup warm water in large warm bowl. Sprinkle in yeast; stir until dissolved. Add remaining water, sugar, margarine, salt, and 1 1/2 cups flour; blend well. Stir in 3 eggs, 1 egg white (reserve 1 yolk), and enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 30 to 45 minutes. Punch dough down. Remove dough to lightly floured surface; divide in half. Set aside 1 half. Divide remaining half into 2 pieces, one about 2/3 of the dough and the other about 1/3 of the dough. Divide larger piece into 3 equal pieces; roll to 12-inch ropes. Place ropes on greased baking sheet; braid. Pinch ends to seal. Divide remaining piece into 3 equal pieces. Roll to 10-inch ropes; braid. Place small braid on large braid. Pinch ends firmly to seal and secure to large braid. Repeat with remaining dough to make second loaf. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 30 to 45 minutes. Beat reserved egg yolk with 1 teaspoon water; brush over loaves. Sprinkle with poppy or sesame seed, if desired. Bake at 400 F for 20 to 25 minutes or until done, switching positions of sheets in oven halfway through baking time. Remove from sheets; let cool on wire racks.

Source: Fleischmann's Yeast, a division of Burns Philp Food, Inc.

Hamantaschen Cookies ala Gran Fran

Dough Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Butter (salted, or add a pinch of salt)
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 teaspon Baking powder
  • 1 Egg
  • Vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon Milk
  • 2 cups Flour

Filling Ingredients

  • 1/4 lb. dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water

Method (Dough):

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Cream butter sugar and add egg.
  • Mix and sift flour and baking powder and salt and add some of mixture to creamed butter and sugar mixture.
  • Add the milk and rest of flour. Add flavoring.
  • Roll dough out, cut into rounds and place spoonful of filling on each round.
  • Fold up 3 edges to form triangles and pinch the corners so they'll hold their shape in the oven.
  • Bake at 375 F. for 15 to 20 min. depending on size.

Method (Filling): you can use apricot jam (or whatever flavor you'd like) or make your own:

  • Cover apricots with 1/2 cup water.
  • Cook over low heat in covered pan for 15 minutes.
  • Mash and add sugar while hot, then add 2 tablespoons water.