Our family has embarked on virtual travels to various countries and regions. To explore these countries and their cultures, we have followed along with the festivals, cooked and eaten traditional foods, learned of traditional handicrafts with hands on exploration, along with many activities to immerse ourselves. Chronicled here are some of these activities.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Around the World with Pancakes: Italian Crespelles

We're trying out pancakes from around the world, looking beyond fluffy pancakes and beyond breakfast food

Having recently "ventured" off to Italy, I thought I'd see what kinds of pancakes are eaten there - and discovered the (apparent) age old question of what came first: the French crepe or the Italian crespelle. Italians claim that Caterina de Medici brought the Italian recipe for crespelle to France when she brought her cooks along in 1533 when married to King Henry II of France, and the French have claimed them as their own since. 

Left, find Italy on a map - possibly the most recognizable country in the world!
Right, Two canals in Venice. Isn't that stunning?

 Photo Credit: MorBCN (CC-Adapted into collage)

Which is to say, crespelles are like crepes, but their fillings and how they're served can be distinctly Italian. They can be rolled, folded or stacked and they can be made with a sweet or savory filling. Savory fillings can be meat, cheese and/or vegetables. In the region of Abruzzo, they're called scripelle and eaten in a bowl of hot broth. We had savory crespelles with a ricotta & spinach filling, topped with marinara and it was a tasty, Italian dinner the whole family enjoyed. 

Savory Italian Crespelles with Ricotta & Spinach

Serves 4

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • pinch of pepper
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup grated parmigiana, divided (and more for serving)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 19 fluid oz can of spiced, diced tomatoes*
  • 1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce*
*Or you can use 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce instead of these two ingredients.

1. Make the crespelle batter: Sift together the flour and salt. Make a well in the center and crack all three eggs and the pepper in the well. Slowly whisk the flour into the eggs. Add the milk and whisk until smooth. Let the batter sit for 30 minutes. 

2. While the batter is sitting, make the filling by chopping the spinach, then mixing it with the ricotta and 2/3 cup of parmigiana. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

3. If not buying marinara, combine the tomatoes and sauce together. Spread half the sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole dish.

4. When the batter has rested, it's time to make the crespelles. On a hot pan, pour about 1/4 cup of batter per crepe. I always spread the batter on my pan with the back of a spatula to make sure it's a nice thin crepe. You should get 8 to 9 crespelles. Set them aside on a plate.

5. Preheat your oven to 375F. Assemble the crespelles by spreading 2 tbsp of filling over half of the crespelle. Fold in half, then in half again to form a triangle. Arrange the filled crespelles over the sauce in the pan. Cover with the rest of the sauce and sprinkle with the rest of the parmigiano. Bake for approximately 25min, or until it starts to bubble just a bit. 

Serve hot, with more parmigiano on the side for those who really love it :)

Find more posts exploring culture, geography and history with kids at
 All Things Beautiful History & Geography Linkup & Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop

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  1. It's always interesting to me how so many countries have similar recipes and will "spar" over who created it.

    1. It is funny how a sense of ownership is seems so important about food!

  2. Yummy, they look just up my street!

  3. My mom does something similar but filled with meat and rolled not folded. Crepes are among our favorite and while my husband and I eat them with Nutella and fruits (slices or banana or strawberries) my oldest loves them with cream cheese.

    1. Sweet crepes are a big hit here too, and even savory ones for breakfast with hollandaise sauce and asparagus, but tomato sauce was a new twist! We've never tried them with cream cheese before, I'll have to keep that in mind as an option next time.


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