The Harajuku district of Tokyo, best known as a youth fashion hub and the center of kawaii (cute) culture in Japan, is where the crepe genre first emerged in the 1970s. Although it has become popular throughout Japan, the dessert is still closely associated with Harajuku where you find the highest concentration of Japanese crepe vendors.
A basic kind of Japanese crepe consists of a generous amount of whipped cream, cut fruits, and a sweet sauce. The possibilities are endless, however, and some Harajuku vendors serve over one hundred different variations. See the link below for more info on popular creperies of Harajuku.
A key point in making Japanese crepes is to place the fillings in an aesthetically pleasing way. This principle holds true for much of Japan's food culture.
Here's a basic recipe on how to make them.
Japanese Crepe Recipe
Dough And Cooking
For the crepe, most standard French crepe recipe will do. Here's one you can use below.
Makes 4-6 crepes
<Ingredients> -100g of flour -2 eggs -1 cup of milk -3 tablespoons of sugar -1 teaspoon of melted for the batter and some more for greasing the frying pan
This is a simple crepe recipe that works well. Simply mix all the ingredients together to make a smooth batter. Leave it to rest for about 30 minutes for best results.
Grease a frying pan with butter and set the heat on low to medium. Spread the batter evenly on the frying pan and wait for it to be cooked. You know its cooked when the edges start to roll up slightly. You can turn it over to cook it on the other side for a few seconds if you wish.
This is where it gets fun. First let's show you how to place the fillings on the crepe and how to roll it and after, we'll introduce some of the most popular fillings found in Japanese crepes made from Japanese vendors.
The video below shows an actual Japanese crepe vendor making the treat. The trick to making it is to place the fillings only on the top half of the crepe, in a straight line. So don't spread everything on the whole crepe like you would spread rice on a sheet of nori seaweed.
Fold the crepe over the filling that you've placed, and then fold it again 2 or three times on itself until it can fit inside a cone-shaped holder. You can simply use a sheet of paper to make the holder.
Once it's rolled up inside the holder, add some more filling inside if need it to make it full, and decorate the top as you wish.
So this is the gist of it. Below are some popular fillings used in Japan.
Whipped cream is the most common ingredient. It adds the fluffiness that goes so well with this kind of crepe.
You can put some custard too in combination with the cream.
Fruits & Nuts
Strawberries and bananas are the most common but you can use basically anything you like. As for nuts, walnuts are quite common in these crepes.
Ice Cream & Cookies
Ice cream is also a staple ingredient of the Japanese crepe, and you'll often see a decorative cookie placed on top.
In more high-end creperies in Japan, they serve some with macaron as a topping as well.
Chocolate is the most common but basically just pour on your crepe whatever tickles your fancy. In this one, we see a kiwi sauce which seems like a pretty good choice to go with a simple whipped cream filling.
Choco-mint is the new summer flavor in Japan, so you find the combination in crepes too. Try your crepes with some mint ice cream and chocolate chips, or add a few drops of mint extract to your whipped cream.
Red Bean Paste
Anko is a red bean paste found in many Japanese traditional desserts. It goes well with vanilla ice cream and matcha.
Shirotama Mochi Balls
The mochi balls used as topping on the cherry-blossom puddings pictured above are also often used in the traditional-flavored crepe.
Sprinkle some matcha powder on the crepe at the end and your traditional Japanese crepe is complete. You can also add the powder to vanilla ice cream or blend it with the whipped cream.
Just Be Creative
As you can see there aren't many rules in making a Japanese crepe. Vendors in Japan are coming up with new combinations all the time such as this beautiful brulee crepe which was the flavor of the summer of 2018.