Florentine pancakes recipe

Italian housewife shared a brilliant trick for frying pancakes: cut a small potato in half and spear the rounded side with a fork. Dip the flat side into oil in a small bowl and use it to wipe a thin layer of oil around the frying pan – it doesn’t absorb the oil like a piece of paper towel. You can use a tin of Italian plum tomatoes as the passata – just purée them with a stick blender or in a food processor.

The pancakes can be made with any flour, but do adjust the milk quantity accordingly to reach the same consistency. The batter is easier to work with if it is made at least 30 minutes in advance. It can be made a day in advance and kept in the fridge covered in cling film.

Traditionally, fine white ‘00’ flour is used for the pancakes but we like to use nutty- flavoured buckwheat, which, despite its name, has no connection to wheat. It is related to the rhubarb family, is very nutritious and contains no gluten. This recipe makes slightly more pancakes than you need, to allow for a few mishaps.

Ingredients

  Metric  Cups  Imperial  For the pancake batter:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 150 g buckwheat flour
  • 550 ml milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 5.3 oz buckwheat flour
  • 19.4 fl oz milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 5.3 oz buckwheat flour
  • 2.3 cups milk

For the filling:

  • 250 g spinach, cooked, squeezed and finely chopped
  • 250 g ricotta
  • 25 g parmesan, grated
  • 1 pinch nutmeg, finely grated
  • 8.8 oz spinach, cooked, squeezed and finely chopped
  • 8.8 oz ricotta
  • 0.9 oz parmesan, grated
  • 1 pinch nutmeg, finely grated
  • 8.8 oz spinach, cooked, squeezed and finely chopped
  • 8.8 oz ricotta
  • 0.9 oz parmesan, grated
  • 1 pinch nutmeg, finely grated

To serve:

  • 400 g tomato sauce or fresh tomato passata
  • 500 g béchamel Sauce
  • 25 g parmesan, grated
  • 14.1 oz tomato sauce or fresh tomato passata
  • 17.6 oz béchamel Sauce
  • 0.9 oz parmesan, grated
  • 14.1 oz tomato sauce or fresh tomato passata
  • 17.6 oz béchamel Sauce
  • 0.9 oz parmesan, grated

Details

  • Cuisine: Tuscan
  • Recipe Type: Pancakes
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Preparation Time: 60 mins
  • Cooking Time: 50 mins
  • Serves: 6

Step-by-step

  1. To make the pancake batter, whisk the egg, salt and flour together in a large bowl, then gradually add the milk, whisking constantly, until you have a very smooth batter the consistency of single cream.
  2. Let it stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes (or longer in the fridge – overnight is fine).
  3. Meanwhile, make the filling by mixing the ingredients together in a bowl and adding seasoning to taste.
  4. While you fry the pancakes, leave a whisk in the bowl, as you need to stir the mixture thoroughly each time you add some batter to the pan.
  5. Wipe a little oil in a 25cm (10in) non-stick frying pan using a halved potato on a fork or a piece of paper towel (see intro).
  6. Pour in 75 ml (21⁄2 fl oz/1⁄3 cup) of batter with a ladle or small measuring jug, swirling it around the pan to coat the base evenly.
  7. Fry the pancake over a medium to high heat for 2–3 minutes, flipping it over when one side is lightly browned to cook the other. Transfer it to a plate.
  8. Fry the rest of the batter in the same way, stacking the pancakes on the plate as you make them.
  9. While you are frying the pancakes, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4).
  10. To serve, spoon half of the tomato sauce or passata and half of the béchamel onto the base of an ovenproof dish (approximately 35 × 20 × 5 cm/ 14 × 8 × 2 in).
  11. Spread each pancake with three heaped tablespoons of the ricotta and spinach filling, covering half the pancake then rolling it up.
  12. Lay the pancakes in the dish. Top with the remaining tomato sauce or passata, followed by the béchamel. Scatter over the parmesan and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the cheese has started to brown on top.

By Katie & Giancarlo Caldesi

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