Crepes – how does the store bought brand stack up against homemade?

I was in the grocery store the other day buying strawberries (they are in season) and noticed  a couple ‘strategically placed items’ by the strawberry display. These are items that stores place next to certain products as a suggestive purchase. If you’re in the strawberry aisle it usually includes packaged crepes, fruit glaze or packaged angel food cake.I would often see the packaged crepes but at $5.99/package I was always reluctant.

Crepes aren’t something that I eat all that often. However, the other day we learned crepes suzette in my French cuisine cooking class at George Brown and the teacher demonstrated how to make crepes using a non-stick fry pan. You don’t need a special crepe iron or crepe fry pan, you can just use a regular non-stick fry pan (which I would think most everyday kitchens would have). The demo in class didn’t look that difficult. I figured – why not try to make them from scratch and see how they stack up against the store bought brand?

My thoughts:
Packaged items tend to have a strange aftertaste about them. I don’t know if it’s because of the packaging or because of the preservatives they use. They also tend to be priced quite high compared to how much it would cost to make them yourself. In this case, the store bought crepes cost $5.99/package (a package has ten 9″ crepes) vs. approximately $2.50 if you were to buy the raw ingredients and make them from scratch.Despite the possibility that the packaged crepes might have an aftertaste, at first glance, the packaged crepes look absolutely perfect! They are paper thin and uniformly browned throughout. And they are big! 9″ across. These crepes are utter perfection. There is no way I could get mine to look like that (unless I had a professional crepe iron (like the ones you see at commercial creperies) and a lot of practice.
Top: Homemade crepe / Bottom: Store bought crepe
Taste testers:
Please try each crepe and comment on the flavour, texture and appearance. Which one do you like more? Would you fork out $5.99 for a package of 10 crepes? Or would you choose to make them yourself for a fraction of the cost?

The Results:
The feedback was pretty much the same among the taste testers. They really preferred the texture of the homemade one but liked the sweetness of the packaged crepes. Seeing that the flavour could be modified by adding more sugar, most people opted to go for the homemade (and add sugar if they were making dessert crepes or leaving it out if they were making savory crepes).

Bottom line:
Based on the cost of store bought crepes, it’s definitely worth making crepes yourself. The ingredients are simple, the texture is superior and there will be cases when you can’t find the store bought variety in the grocery stores (I had to go to four different stores before finding them). There are times when certain items just won’t be available in grocery stores (i.e. gingerbread houses outside of Christmas, pumpkin pie outside of Thanksgiving). Knowing how to make something gives you a lot more control over what you can have for dinner because there are times when the convenience version of that particular food item won’t be available making things very inconvenient – ironic isn’t it?

4 thoughts on “Crepes – how does the store bought brand stack up against homemade?

  1. Homemade: almost paper thin, Good texture but the taste was a little bland. The crepes weren’t uniform but I liked that.

    Packaged: was paper thin too thin if you tried to wrap it, it would probably rip, a funny paper texture, good taste though.

    I think I would probably make my own if I had the time but add in a bit more flavouring.

  2. Homemade: thicker than package, golden brown. Not sweet at all. Soft, and spongy bite. Prefer this texture over the package.

    Package: very thin, glossy (even waxy) appearance. Very light in colour. Noticeably sweeter than homemade one… the texture and bite isn’t much to brag about. It’s like paper. As in, it tastes and has the mouthfeel of paper!

    I choose the homemade, because I prefer the texture. The taste is somewhat bland… but that can be modified 😉

  3. Homemade: This crepe has a nice browning about it but the edges aren’t as uniform that the store-bought crepe. It’s thicker and has a chewier texture with some bite to it. I think it compliments the strawberries and whip cream nicely.

    Storebought: This crepe actually looks a bit pale compared to the homemade one and although it’s got a nice round shape, is a little too thin to hold up against the strawberries and whip cream. It’s thin and has a melt in your mouth feel to it but is also crumbly and dry tasting. It is sweeter than the homemade crepe but I find that it tastes a little artificial.

  4. I really liked the homemade texture. I liked that it was thicker and chewier. I think that’s also important when you think about the fact that crepes need to hold a lot. In terms of appearance, I actually liked the homemade better, though they aren’t as thin or uniform. I think seeing all those things reminds you that they are homemade (with love!).

    For sweet dishes, I think the store bought crepes worked well. They were quite sweet and vanilla-y. However, they were so thin and they practically dissolved. I also think in a savoury dish, they wouldn’t be as good.

    I think I would definitely attempt to make crepes from scratch. It might be difficult but the difference in taste is worth it.

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