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I had never heard of crespelle until a couple of years ago when I had them for lunch one Sunday in Bru’s house. They are basically a stuffed savoury pancake, they are different to crepes in that they have melted butter in the batter and the texture is completely different, they are a bit thicker than a regular pancake. They originate from Piacenza in Emilia Romagna, which is also the home of Parmesan cheese.

 The amazing thing about Italy is the difference in food eaten in the different regions, I was telling Elisa one of our Italian staff that I had made them assuming as she was Italian she would know what they were but she had never heard of them, she is from Sardinia and they are not part of their regional food.  They are probably too heavy for the warm sunny days of Sardinia but suit the Irish weather perfectly. There is a little bit of work involved and are not the easiest thing to make with a 2 year old who thinks that 00 flour is like snow and has to have her own bowl of “frostie the snowman’s snow” and proceeds to decorate your kitchen like a “winter wonderland” with the so called snow.

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Next time I think I will make them over 2 days and make the pancakes the night before as they can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days and then just fill them on the day we’re eating them. The type of pan you use is quite important when making crespelle, you need to use a heavy based pan, I recently bought a pancake pan in Lidl which worked out perfectly even though my first couple of pancakes were a little mis-shaped. I have to tell you at this point I have never made pancakes before this, a little strange I know so it took me a couple of tries to get them right. I used Ursula Ferrigno’s recipe and followed it exactly as I had never made them before.

what you need:

crespelle

225g Italian 00 flour

1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

2 large eggs beaten

1 large egg yolk beaten

350ml milk

1 tbsp unsalted butter melted.

what to do:

sift the flour, salt and nutmeg into a bowl:

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add the beaten eggs and milk:

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add the melted butter and whisk until smooth:

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melt some unsalted butter in a heavy based frying pan and pour a small ladleful of batter into the pan. Swirl the pan to make sure it is evenly coated with a thin layer of batter.

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cook until lightly browned on the underside and then flip over and cook the other side. Remove when cooked and place on kitchen paper. The recipe says you should get 6-8 pancakes, I got 5.

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what you need for the filling:

55g unsalted butter

2 shallots finely chopped

1 garlic clove peeled and crushed

375g mushrooms wiped and chopped

125g mixed wild mushrooms (I used the gourmet mix from Superequinn)

225g mozzarella diced

85g parmesan cheese grated

225g ricotta cheese

handful fresh basil

sea salt and black pepper

what to do:

melt two-thirds of the butter in a large frying pan add the shallots and garlic and cook for a few minutes until soft.

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add the mushrooms and saute until golden:

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mix your ricotta, parmesan, mozzarella and basil in a bowl:

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add your mushroom mix and season:

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put a spoonful of the filling into the centre of the pancake and make a parcel:

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place in a greased oven dish topped with some butter and parmesan:

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bake for 15 -20 mins and serve:

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I have to say for my first attempt they turned out pretty darn good, even my “fettucine carbonara extra cream” loving father raved about them and this man doesn’t do much Italian food. I had one left over so I gave it to  one of our staff , Sejla who is from Lecce and she loved it so they were worth all the effort and the snow cleaning:)

ciao!

p.s. all these step by step photos take a bit of work, do you like them? and are they something you want to see more often? Let me know, grazie:)

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