How can something so seemingly simple be so varied and tasty? Crepes is the subject of this book and our culinary wonder. In fact the crepe could be one of the definitions for the business term KISS (keep it simple and sweet) and the definition in turn could sum up crepes. Simple and sweet (unless you have a savoury one then it would be `Simple and Savoury'.
In this hardback book the author presents 50 savoury and sweet recipes, showing the true variety and real diversity of the humble crepe, whether served up with something on the side or served `solus'. Whether it is for breakfast, brunch, an afternoon snack or something later on at night, there invariably will be a crepe (of three) for you. Naturally these can be viewed as building blocks, where the limit is only your imagination and the contents of your food cupboard.
Beginning with a great overview to crepes, crepe making and the all important tools (don't worry, it isn't really that complex, but sometimes it can be very easy to make mistakes on things that are very easy to do!). There can also be many opinions about the definitive way to make something very simple. Some people will swear by certain ingredients above all others. At the end of the day, unless you have your own "winning recipe" and will just use this book for advanced enlightenment, you would not go wrong by following the author's basic recipes and graduate on to the more elaborate, advanced stuff (!) in due course.
From the get go it is clear that the author has put some thought into her recipes. It is not just add a dollop of jam or cream and maybe a biscuit. The first savoury recipe is for `Pesto & Creme Fraiche Crepes with Arugula Salad". Rather posh, you might think, but it shows what a versatile thing the crepe can be. Even that recipe could be added to with a few vegetables and a bit of cheese and voila! You really can let your imagination run riot and inspiration rule your mind. Some of the recipes feature fillings for crepes. Imagine the taste sensation that could be when served within a salad. Confuse and amuse the taste buds, particularly for those who think that the crepe is just a glorified pancake with the same old, same old traditional serving `suggestions'.
Naturally for those with a sweet tooth, the author's versatility and imagination doesn't let you down. This reviewer was particularly taken by the "Mile-High Meyer Lemon & Whipped Cream Crepe Cake" and could see that as a great starter for, err, tinkering and customisation. Thankfully, especially within the "sweet" section, the author has declined to show typical calorific values of dishes. The humble crepe might be relatively OK as these things go, but certainly some of the more involved, sweeter recipes might have those who count every calorie a little flustered and frustrated.
Each recipe is very well written with a clear introduction and overview. The methodologies are very detailed and should not pose any particular problems to the unwary - just follow the instructions. In fact it might be fair to say that the biggest problem would be producing the perfect crepe. It is worth taking time to practice, practice and practice again. Follow the guides carefully as there will be many hints and tips that you have perhaps not seen before. Get to understand exactly what makes a good crepe. As said, it might sound simple but a bad, burned, misformed crepe will be less forgiving and will stand out like a nudist at the Arctic Circle when you come to combine it with other ingredients.
So top marks to the author (and photographer) for putting together such a great book. Single subject books can be a risk at times, but this one has a reasonable price tag, a lot of engaging, interesting recipes and a lot of useful background information to boot.