When I lived in Romania after college, I spent every day for a year in a house full of children. There were always three adults as well - two to look after the kids; one to cook.
Cooking was a full-time job, and it was rotated among all the ladies in the house. Except for me. I was considered only capable of eating what was cooked in that kitchen (and it suited me just fine). Though I spent my days singing songs, playing games, running in the park, and carrying any number of kids on my back, when they were napping and the house was quiet, I camped out in the kitchen.
From the kitchen table, I watched four seasons of recipes pass through sun-filled space. In the summer we feasted on deep red tomatoes, and red peppers still warm from the garden. In the fall, there was canning to be done - everything imaginable became pickles or jams or savory spreads. The winter was all about soup from jars that had been put away and potatoes cooked, or fried, or baked. Though most every recipe prepared in that kitchen corresponded with a season, one recipe made a year-round showing. Clătite.
Clătite are crepes - cooked fast in a hot pan and filled with something sweet or savory. In Romania, we always ate them sweet. They got a sprinkle of crunchy sugar or a sweep of house-made jam. The women in charge of cooking for all of those kids cranked out clătite as if they were serving an army (which, of course, they were). And by the time those kids came down from nap, rubbing the sleep from their eyes, there would be a pyramid of clătite waiting.
I used to practice making these in the Romanian winter when my radiators were insufficient and a working kitchen was the only warm spot. One week in particular, a snow drift positioned itself outside the door to our apartment building and I and my neighbors were trapped inside until someone made it by to dig us out. I made clătite.
The recipe has been hiding in the back of my brain for years, and it took a couple of attempts to get back into the swing of it. Fortunately, the one thing I learned from watching hundreds (probably thousands) of clătite cooked, is that there are always a few that don't look quite perfect. The first one, in particular, is never pretty (that's it on the right down below).
The less-than-perfect clătite are for snacking while you make the rest.
Oh, and should you be so inclined, let me put in a plug for the sheer goodness of clătite topped with nutella and bananas.
Clătite Recipe (Romanian Crepes)
- 8 inch Skillet
- Mixing Bowls
- 2 large Eggs
- 1 ¼ cup Milk
- 3 Tablespoons Butter, melted
- 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
- 2 Tablespoons Sparkling Water, plus more if needed
- Extra Melted Butter, for brushing over the pan
- Fruit Spread, Jam or Jelly
- Fruit, fresh or frozen
- Cinnamon Sugar
- Lemon Zest
- Place an 8-inch skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs, milk, and butter. Gradually add the flour, whisking vigorously until it is smooth and free of lumps. Add the water and whisk to incorporate it evenly into the batter. (The batter may need the addition of a bit more water if it proves to be too thick once you start cooking the clătite.)
- Brush the pan with melted butter and immediately pour enough batter into the pan to very thinly coat the bottom and reach the sides. You may need to swirl the pan a bit to move the batter around, but it should spread easily. (Add water to the batter if it does not spread easily.) Cook the clătita until the edges begin to crisp and curl and the bottom is golden, 1-2 minutes. Using a spatula, flip the clătita over and cook the other side until just golden, another 1-2 minutes. (Don’t be worried if the first one browns quickly – the first one is never perfect.)
- Continue cooking the remaining batter in this way, brushing the pan lightly with butter before each, and stacking the clătite on a plate when finished. (After these start cooking, you may need to turn the heat up to medium-high to keep the pan hot.)
- Spread the clătite with your topping of choice, roll, and serve immediately.
That sounds like a wonderful way to keep warm. Pancakes are a bit like that too, the first one is never good looking.
Choc Chip Uru
What an exotic recipe - these sound totally awesome 😀
And Nutella = life rocks!
Choc Chip Uru
Latest: Maple Raisin Ice Cream
I couldn't have said it better myself - nothing is better than Nutella! 😉
I might just make myself these an impromptu dessert tonight! I have some lovely homemade jam from a penpal that I'd dying to try.
This morning I made crepes for me and my son and filled them with my homemade plum jam for him and sour cream and apricot sauce for me...simple and delicious. I like your article a lot. Can you tell me if there is any difference between the basic french crepes I described and your clatite? Thanks from G @ Caramelize Life
G- That sounds delicious! Sour cream and apricot sauce sounds absolutely amazing - I'll have to try it! I love the combination of sour and sweet that I'm sure it brings out. To be completely honest, I don't believe that there is much difference at all. In my memory, French crepes are larger than these are usually made in Romania and have less egg flavor (perhaps the recipes I've tasted in France use less egg), but honestly, the basic recipe and technique are really the same.
Thanks, good to know. I'm really loving what you are doing on your site. I plan to post a recipe sometime soon on Crepes as breakfast or desert...loving this!
wonderful recipe! I'm really familiar with Romanian cooking and for clatite I use soda but i got to try out the recipe with scheweppes, I guess it gives a bitter taste to the whole dish! Have you tried they're famous sarmale?
My Grandmother always made a similar dish and called it Scovarda. The r sound was rolled so when I was a child I called it scovalda. They came from Romania but before WW2 the area was actually part of Hungary.
2 eggs, 3 cups milk, 2 cups flour, 3 Tblsp sugar, 1 tsp baking powder, and a "palm" of salt ( 3 or 4 pinches ). She always used crisco shortening in the pan ( the solid white kind in a tub ). Damson plum preserves and real butter rolled up inside. Adults sometimes just put cottage cheese. So from what I've been exposed to, less egg and more flour than French crepes. Probably my favorite dish ever in my life. Now if I could just duplicate her fried chicken with a unique egg batter she cooked in an electric skillet! Thank You for sharing your excellent recipe and experience!
I grew up eating Clatite when my Romaian Dad used to make it. The recipe for the batter is very similar. He made the Clatite and then filled it with cheese. Any kind is fine but mostly it was American. When the chesse was melted, he would plate it then put butter, a dollop of sour cream, dollop of strawberry jam, maple syrup, and then sprinkle some powdered sugar to top it off. Trust me, this is to die for!
I'm intrigued by that flavor combination, Geosef, but I love the sweet and savory mix. I've been thinking I need to make a batch of these - I want my kids to grow up loving them as much as I do!
What are the chances Joey that I would find a website for Clatite’s & there you are??? I have had your dads Clatite’s. They were great. Mom made them for us all the time. I make them now but I changed the recipe to gluten free, sugar free so I can eat them. Hope all is well with you, Jamie & the kids. Love you. S
Joey, I didn’t mean to put the S at the end of my post.
You are missing the vanilla extract and/or imitation rum. It adds a wonderful aroma. I also recommend mixing in the lemon zest.
I bet that's a great addition Sebastian! Need to test this with those additions, but I love the tips. Thank you!
I just made a double batch today, and they were a success! Since we prefer these with sweet fillings, I added a tsp of vanilla which gave it that something extra. Traditionally, flavor extracts are not included because the stack of clatite is generous enough to feed a crowd and the endless filling possibilities are available for everyone's palate preference (sweet or savory). I am Romanian, and I grew up making these at home as per tradition: "by eye" (aka no recipe) but having a basic understanding of the ingredients and consistency of the batter. However, it's been a couple of years since I made them (and even longer since I made them properly since I had forgotten you're not supposed to add any kind of leavening to the mix), so this was a good recipe to refresh me on the proper proportions. I even tried the bubbly water, but as you pointed out, it works just fine with normal water. Thanks for putting a sharable recipe out there. I will certainly use this one again!
Oh those additions sound amazing! Yes - I only got the recipe by watching a good family friend making it over and over and asking her if I could measure as she worked. I never saw anyone in Romania measure anything, and the recipes always turned out so consistent and wonderful! Thanks so much for the note!
Just came back from Romania and had them made for me covered with Nutella and crushed Oreos
Yum - that sounds delicious!