These were a thing in my childhood home before I learned the word "crepe". We called it "pancakes" and it was a favorite tea time snack. And yes, we had "tea time" every single day around 4:00 p.m. growing up because my grandmother would hear nothing against the "tradition". Then again, she was educated by colonialists in a very British-Ceylon boarding school.
Of course, anything colonialists passed on need to be adjusted to "our" palette. So, this version has a refreshing dose of spices to level up the coconut filling. Made with a double dose of coconut in syrup and shredded form, you can make it event more coconut-y by swapping the dairy milk for coconut milk. It will elevate the overall sweetness and make the crepe softer and delicate.
Makes about 12 crepes.
For the crepes:
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup whole milk (or non-dairy substitute like coconut milk)
- 1 large egg
- 2 drops vanilla extract
- Pinch salt
For the coconut filling:
- ⅔ cups frozen shredded coconut, thawed
- 3 tbsp coconut syrup (substitute maple syrup)
- ¼ tsp ground Ceylon cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp ground cardamom
- ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
- Pinch ground cloves (optional)
- Pinch salt
How to make the crepes
- First, combine all ingredients for the crepes in a bowl and whisk until a smooth batter forms and no lumps remain. Set aside.
- Next make the coconut filling. Put all the ingredients for the filling in a saucepan and cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally until coconut syrup is warmed through and you start to smell the spices, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Set up an assembly line with the filling on one side, a plate to hold assembled crepes and another plate as a rolling station, besides the stove where you will be cooking the crepes.
- In a non-stick skillet, make the crepes. Pour ¼ cup of batter into the hot pan at a time. Working quickly, smooth out the batter in circles using the back of a ladle, starting from the center outwards, to form round, thin crepes.
- Cook each crepe on one side only until slightly golden, about 3 minutes. Do not flip. The top will bubble and harden.
- When no raw batter remains on the side facing up, remove cooked crepe from the skillet onto a plate. Fill with a generous heap of coconut filling (about 1 tablespoon) and immediately roll tightly to form a cigar. The loose end will stick and seal itself as the crepe cools.
- Continue with the remaining batter to make about 12 crepes, filling and rolling each one before making the next.
- Serve warm or refrigerate for at least 1 hour for a cool dessert. Best with a steaming cup of unsweetened black tea.
Chef’s (a.k.a. Nadee's) notes:
- You can make the filling up to 2 days in advance. If it has dried out when you’re ready to make the crepes, add 1 tbsp of coconut syrup and microwave for 30 seconds.
- Rolled crepes will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days, although the filling may dry out slightly. I like to microwave for 30 seconds and eating it warm.
- If you use a non-dairy alternative like almond or coconut milk, the batter may take slightly longer to cook and will be stickier. Handle with care when rolling as it tends to be more fragile than if made with whole milk.