I picked up this trick from a restaurant I visited recently where “charred” orange slices were a salad component. I figured out how it was done (confirmed by the server) and have now put it to use in a very different way. Crespelle are Italian crepes, and for them I’ve combined chestnut flour with all purpose flour and a touch of fiori di sicilia to bring up the orange flavor. The orange and the ricotta make a heavenly match. Special equipment needed; a blow torch. You can also use the torch to weld the door of the refrigerator shut when your in-laws or siblings are visiting. This recipe does require some patience. You're not Rachael Ray. But it is very easy. - pierino —pierino
Test Kitchen Notes
Extraordinary layers of flavor here. It was well worth chasing down some chestnut flour to make these lovelies. (I tend to forget how much I really love crepes, and they're so easy to make and freeze.) The subtle crunch of the crespelle yields to the beautifully creamy, orange-scented filling, and it all finishes up at the end with the darkly-flavored crunch of the oranges with their flamed crust. I wasn't able to find fiori di sicilia, so instead used half vanilla extract and half Boyajian's Orange Oil, and if it was even half as good as his, I'm very happy. Pierino is so right -- nothing about this is difficult. Except perhaps knowing when to stop eating. - boulangere —boulangere
6 to 8
¾ cup all purpose flour
¾ cup chestnut flour (farina di castagne)
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon fiori di sicilia* (or substitute ½ tsp vanilla extract and ½ tsp orange extract)
5 blood oranges, or more depending on size
turbinado sugar (you might not need all of it)
2 cups fresh ricotta, the best you can find
ground cinnamon or cassia (optional)
In This Recipe
In a large bowl blend the flours together. Break the eggs and work those in with the salt. Slowly add the milk using a whisk or hand blender to make a batter. Add the fiori di sicilia and continue to blend. Allow the batter to rest for 20 to 30 minutes.
Peel the oranges removing as much pith as you can. With a sharp knife, slice into flat sections. Lay these out onto a pyrex tray or sheet pan (something that won’t catch fire). Sprinkle the sugar evenly over all the slices. Bring out the kitchen torch and melt that sugar. Despite the title the oranges don’t really char. If you don’t have a torch slip the pan under the broiler for a minute or so.
Heat up your crepe pan. I use one that is about 9 ½”. Add just enough olive oil to coat the bottom. When the pan is hot ladle in crespelle batter. Make them about 6” in diameter. Cook as you would a pancake. When bubbles begin to show flip it over. If you are like me the first one off the pan will probably be a bit lame so just discard it and continue to work. The next ones will be much better.
As the individual crepes come off layer them on sheets of parchment.It helps if you precut the sheets for efficient sizing. In the end you should have about 16 to 18 crespelle.
To plate, place a scoop of ricotta on each with a sprinkle of cinnamon if using. Fold one edge over and add orange slices.
*Note to cook; fiori di sicilia is an extract of vanilla and Sicilian citrus. It’s available through King Arthur Flour. A wonderful product which I use all the time to add a subtle orange flavor to desserts. I’ve used it in everything from gelato to beignets. However as noted above you can substitute equal parts vanilla and orange extracts.
Standup commis flâneur, and food historian. Pierino's background is in Italian and Spanish cooking but of late he's focused on frozen desserts. He is now finishing his cookbook, MALAVIDA! Can it get worse? Yes, it can. Visit the Malavida Brass Knuckle cooking page at Facebook and your posts are welcome there.