Are those steel, made in France crepe pans good and safe? Do you have to season them? Besides crepes, has anyone made anything else in it?
There have been a number of threads about crepe pans. Some argue that if you have a non-stick pan that you like, you don't need one of these. But I bought one of these steel pans a couple of years ago, and love it for crepes and other thin pancakes. It is also does omelets (the quick cook kind) well. It could even be used for searing meat, etc, though that can lower the quality of the seasoning.
Yes it needs seasoning, much like cast iron or a steel wok. As with those, keep the cooking surface oiled. I also prefer hanging mine from a pot rack.
French steel crepe pans aren't good - they're great! Once you get one seasoned, it will make teflon look like a joke. Make a batch of crepes that you can plan on thowing out because the first batch may be spotty. I use clarified butter for crepes.
I never use my crepes pan for anything else because I don't want to disturb the seasoning or leave any other flavor traces. I only wipe it clean after use and store it in the cupboard so that it never gets dusty. Sorta sacred.
(I have an omelet/eggs pan that I treat in a similar fashion. Woe to the person who uses it for other purposes. I provide an inexpensive non-stick for houseguests so they don't accidently endanger their lives by using the wrong pan.)
Crepes are one of the best basic things you can learn to make well. Everything from appetizers, light lunches, heavier mains, fancy desserts can be improvized once you conquer crepes. You can make a little bit of an expensive ingredient go a long way very elegantly.
I had my first intro to crepes through Ron Popeil (yes, he did market a crepe pan back in the 60s or 70s). Anyway my mother decided she wanted it back so I needed to find a replacement. I bought 2 French steel crepe pans from the World Market for about $10 each and they are wonderful. I store all my seasoned pans in paper bags to keep them clean and also store my non-stick pans in paper bags to prevent them from getting scratched.
I got several sizes of inexpensive steel crepe pans from FinerKitchens and really like them. I can make large dinner-sized crepes or smaller dessert sized ones. I couldn't resist the smallest size, so cute and perfect for making blintzes. They all nest so they're easy to store, too.
I have two steel "Fabrique en France/24" crepe pans that I use quite often and like (as far as pan surface and finished product), but the handles do tend to hurt my hands. I usually make two big batches of crepes at a time (they freeze well!), and by the time I'm done, I have a red mark on my right hand from flipping them/turning the pan (and it hurts!). The handle doesn't get hot, but it's almost like it's too big, or the wrong shape for my hand. Does anyone else have this happen?
You definitely have to season - and maintain - them. I would say they're good, but at this point - a century or two later - there's better. I don't recall the brand, but I have a heavy aluminum, non-stick coated French crêpe pan that works as well as the plain steel, and doesn't get rusty when you don't use it for 6 months at a time. ;)
Since the sides are so low, there's not much you can do with them, though. At this point, I use my old steel pan mostly for making small numbers of chapati (Indian flatbread) and other things like that, that are less prone to sticking in the first place, than liquid batter.