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?