The ultimate debate: American Pancakes Vs Crepes

Rachael McCreanor weighs in on the longstanding debate between French crepes and American pancakes - which style will you choose on Pancake Day this year?

Rachael McCreanor
15th February 2021
Undoubtedly one of the most important disputes of our lifetime, the debate that haunts the frying pans of many an ambitious pancake day chef: American Pancakes or Crepes?

On one hand, you have the classic American pancake – thick, fluffy and (most often) drenched in copious amounts of maple syrup. On the other hand, you have the crepe – versatile, light and with a flipping experience that rivals none. It is evident that both traditional pancake styles have their merits – after all, who doesn’t love an excuse to consume excessive amounts of sugary condiments? However, as with most things, it is what is on the inside (or drizzles on top) that counts.

Image: Chad Montano on Unsplash

We will start off with a restaurant staple – The American pancake. Whilst a classic American pancake recipe has more ingredients than a crepe, the technical skill required is less. Gone is the stress of flipping a plate size pancake to the ceiling with only the strength and conviction of your wrist. To me, the American pancake feels a little easier – a slightly more accessible option for your pancake day celebrations. Another benefit of the American style pancake is its value for money. Despite the longer ingredient list, American pancakes are significantly more filling than crepes – you eat a good stack of them, and you feel like you have had a proper desert. The aesthetic value of the American pancake cannot be scoffed at. Is there anything more satisfying than pouring a jug of syrup over a stack of thick, fluffy pancakes? However, the question remains whether American pancakes run the risk of style over substance.

Image: Monika Grabkowska on Unsplash

Crepes – the American pancakes’ sophisticated cousin. The versatility of the crepe is where it shines. Sweet or savoury, wrapped, or open, layered or not the options are quite literally endless. The shorter list of ingredients paired with its versatility and the ability to eat copious amounts due to its lighter nature, make the crepe an instant pancake day classic. Whilst the thought of a pancake covered ceiling at the end of the day can be daunting, the experience of flipping crepes is unmatched. The American pancake may be easier, but the crepe offers fun and the chance of friendly competition – it is much more of an experience.  In contrast to the American pancake, in most cases the star of the crepe is the filling. Its light, almost chewy texture lends itself perfectly to showcasing the very best of pancake fillings – the flavour options are innumerable. The crepe’s flexible nature and capability for folding like a sweet, sweet burrito, additionally allows for a much messier – and therefore more fun – pancake experience.

American pancakes and crepes offer an opportunity to treat yourself to the very best of deserts, both on Pancake Day and beyond. Both extend a relatively simple and enjoyable way to create an easy treat either by yourself or around those you love – but in the end, is there really anything better than a lemon and sugar crepe?

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