Last week friends joined me to cook some Ukrainian recipes and donate together to Mennonite Central Committee’s Ukrainian emergency kits. While I’m not Ukrainian, my branch of the Mennonite diaspora spent about 100 years in Ukraine in the 1800s and many of my grandma’s recipes are Ukrainian. The Ukrainian dish I make most often are Grandma’s crepes. She routinely made them for weekend breakfasts, especially if family was visiting. At our recent dinner party, we made them for dessert, rolled and filled with my parents’ homemade lemon curd and strawberries stewed with cardamom. Note that I use oatmilk instead of cow’s milk, but you can use whatever milk you like. I wanted to share the recipe so you can add crepes to your weekend rotation. Also please consider donating to Mennonite Central Committee.
GRANDMA’S UKRAINIAN CREPES
2 1/4 cups oatmilk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 cups flour
Beat the eggs in a medium-size bowl. Whisk in the oatmilk. Sift in the salt, baking powder, and flour. Sifting will help prevent lumps. Stir until you form a thin batter. If batter is too thick like pancake batter, adjust with a splash more of oatmilk.
Heat a crepe pan or circular pan with low sides over medium-low heat. I use a well-seasoned cast iron tawa pan with barely a lip, making it ideal for flipping crepes. Lightly grease the pan with a tiny bit of olive oil the for the first crepe, but you won’t need to continually grease the pan after that in between crepes.
When the pan is hot, use a ladle to pour about 1/2- 2/3 ladle-full of batter. Using the rounded bottom of the ladle, quickly push the batter around in a circular spiral starting in the center and spiraling outward, gently expanding the size of the circle. If you work too slowly the batter may tear as it starts to cook. Cook until the batter’s shine disappears and the surface looks yellow and matte. Flip the crepe and cook about 15-20 more seconds. Remove the crepe and begin to stack them up on a plate. Continue to make more crepes with the remaining batter. Grandma always said the first crepe is ugly because you are adjusting to the heat of the pan, so don’t be discouraged, and adjust the stove temp as needed.
Serve with any jam or fruit of your preference. I like to stew a cup of berries with a teaspoon of maple syrup and 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom. Cook in a small saucepan just a few minutes until berries soften. It is also very traditional to add dairy products to the filling like sour cream, cottage cheese, or ricotta.
Lovely memories. I had thin blini like this is a Russian friend’s home in Nizhni Novgorad but in the university cafeteria our kitchen babushkas served the thicker cheese filled ones.