Florentine Crepes: Crespelle alla fiorentina

When, a few weeks ago,  favourite son came to visit from London, I asked him, as one does on such occasions, what it was that he would like me to cook for him.  Favourite son is well aware that I like to spoil him more than he cares to be spoiled by me (i.e. that it makes me happy to make him happy) and so, bless his cotton-pickin’ socks, he blithely came out with “Crespelle alla fiorentina”.   I could see that, to his eyes, this dish is ‘fussy’ enough to be ‘special’ and easy enough to be do-able.  (Such a clever boy … just like his Ma).

This is very much a step-1, step-2 recipe and does require time.  No quickie contemplated here, not in the kitchen, and not elsewhere.  But if you ARE up for the specifics of step-1, step-2, step-3, well, it really is  one of those dishes that are part of my ‘food to put you in a good mood’ repertoire.

Step 1: bechamel, Step 2: crepes, Step 3: tomato sauce, Step 4: spinach and ricotta and Step 5: assembling and baking in the oven.

1Béchamel is easy to make … so make that first.(https://myhomefoodthatsamore.wordpress.com/2011/03/17/the-queen-of-sauces/)

Crepes are also easy to make … so make them too …(https://myhomefoodthatsamore.wordpress.com/2010/11/09/the-peerless-pancake/)
2Other ingredients: You will need grated parmesan (at least 100g), roughly 300g ricotta, 2 eggs, 1kg spinach, butter, nutmeg, 1 onion, olive oil, tomato sauce (passata di pomodoro).

3 You will need to wilt the spinach first … I ended up with three ‘balls’ of wilted spinach which I then roughly chopped up.4 Grate the parmesan … I can’t tell you exactly how much, it’s something one does ‘by eye’.  Do not stint on the parmesan.  Any dish stands to benefit by a generous inclusion of parmesan.

5 Chop the onion for the tomato sauce …6Dribble the olive oil into the saucepan in which you will cook the tomato sauce …  First add the onions, sweat them until soft (and this can take at least 10 minutes, longer than you think, so be warned).  Then add the tomato sauce and cook for about 15-20  minutes. Taste and add salt and maybe a pinch of sugar too.  This will depend on the tomatoes … When you judge the tomato sauce to be ready, set it aside.

7While the tomato sauce is simmering, mix the eggs with the ricotta … add a pinch of salt too.8 Eggs and ricotta: mixed!

11Butter and nutmeg in the pan …

9 Sauté the spinach in a pan with the butter, and add salt and pepper and a twist of nutmeg.  You are not ‘cooking’ the spinach, just giving it a bit of taste with the butter and nutmeg.  When done (about 2 minutes), transfer the spinach to a large miximg bowl.

Add the ricotta and beaten egg mixture to the spinach:

12 13 Then add the grated parmesan cheese … Save some to sprinkle on top of the crepes just before baking.

14Combine all the ingredients so that the mixture is compact.

Time to cook:

15 Put a little of the bechamel sauce on the bottom of the oven dish …16 And start filling in the crepes.  The crepe is round.  Plonk a large tablespoonful of the spinach and ricotta mixture bang in the middle of the crepe.

17 Then fold the crepe in half.  You now end up with a half-circle or crescent shaped crepe.

18 Pat it down gently, so that the mixture can spread all over the place inside.

19 Then fold the crepe again, one last time.  And you end up with:

20 A triangle-shaped stuffed crepe.  So very pretty, do admit.

21 Start filling up the oven dish with the crepe-triangles.

22 Here are eight of them, overlapping and getting all cosy with one another.

23 Pour the bechamel all over them.24 Then proceed to add a bit of colour and taste with the tomato sauce.

25 Sprinkle the grated parmesan cheese for a snowy effect.

26 And last … dot the crepes with butter scattered all over.

27 The oven is on at roughly 180°C.

28 29 And after about 35-40 minutes in the oven … this is what you get.

30 31 32 33Special and do-able … that’s Crespelle alla Fiorentina for you!

PS  I think that name for these crepes has to do with their spinach content.  Florentine cooking and spinach have been having an ongoing love affair for many a decade now … perhaps even centuries.

About myhomefoodthatsamore

Community celebration via food, wine and all beautiful things.
This entry was posted in Basic Techniques, Contorni and/or side dishes, italian home food, Primi (first courses - usually a pasta or risotto), Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Florentine Crepes: Crespelle alla fiorentina

  1. Good choice by son. Looks delicious.

  2. Have never heard of this recipe before. Absolute heaven. And love the inclusion of the nutmeg with spinach, a combination I’ve never tried.

    • For some reason, the Italians seem to like a pinch of nutmeg here, there and everywhere. I happen to love nutmeg myself, so that’s fine. And so yes: nutmeg and spinach are a very good pair.

  3. chef mimi says:

    Oh my god these look good. Thank you!

  4. I’ve made almost the exact same recipe with pasta rather than crepes. Very good! Excellent post, great step by step. Lucky son!
    I was surprised that you use nutmeg from a jar — I like freshly grated much better.

    • So do I Stefan … and I normally do (use freshly grated nutmeg). However, if you look closely, the nutmeg in question also needs ‘grating’ at the last minute … the grater is in the cork part of the bottle, if you get my drift. I.e. the nutmeg is not grated into a fine powder, you have to do that yourself.
      Not only that! I don’t normally buy my stuff in supermarkets (I tend to boycott them) so this is a double whammy lèse majesté! Sigh …

  5. Sandy Grushcow says:

    I like the “cozy looking crepes” comment. Looks like a wonderful recipe. I don’t think I ever had it in Italy. Have you made it with just the bechamel sauce or does it usually have a tomato sauce. Sandy

  6. Jo, This looks like Italian, Greek and French cuisine in one dish! Did you create it or is there such an Italian dish? It really is one of those dishes that I would proudly present to my guests or favorite son! Indeed a food which puts me in a good mood! Fae.

    • No, no … this is definitely a ‘genuine’ dish, I didn’t make it up, it is a genuine Tuscan, Florentine, first dish. More home food, probably, than restaurant food. There is always a big debate about the origin of certain dishes … said to be brought over to France by Caterina de Medici when she married the French King at the time, and the court of France was pretty basic and no comparison at all with the magnificence of the Florentine court. It is believed that crepes actually originated with her (in Italy they are know as crespelle), even though they might have used water instead of milk etc. Same thing with an initial version of bechamel, duck à l’orange and even coq au vin! Don’t you just love your history! But … spinach … is most definitely very much a Florentine ingredient.

  7. Francesca says:

    Jo, the crespelle look amazing.
    I’m afraid I’m missing lots of your posts. Have you considered to add a follow button to your blog? I prefer it over the one that appears by default in the bar at the top of your blog because if you add it I get an email whenever you publish a post, which I find it handy.

    • Ciao Francesca,boh?, non capisco … there IS a follow button on the blog when I get on the landing page or whatever it’s called, of my blog. It’s grey and there is an icon with a cross inside it, and it clearly says ‘Follow’. How strange and weird. I wish I understood more about such matters … has gravatar got anything to with it, for instance? I shall ask a friend who is better at these things than I am. And thank you so much for commenting!

  8. Karen says:

    I haven’t had this for so long…such a delicious treat. So much lighter than when made with pasta. You did a fantastic job.

  9. Francesca says:

    Jo, neanche io sono brava con la tecnologia cosi’ ho chiesto a Stefano. He said to go to appearance/widgets in your dashboard and then drag the follow button to your footer and you should be done. Hope this helps! 🙂
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  10. Manuela says:

    We do rolls instead of trianlges…

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