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Author Notes: This recipe is from my book CUCINA POVERA, Tuscan Peasant Cooking (Andrews McMeel 2011). In the past, people in the mountains of Tuscany survived thanks to the magnificent chestnut tree and all that it provided, from shelter and tools to food for themselves and their animals. I learned to make these crepes from Signora Eni Marcucci who cooked them in the traditional way between chestnut leaves on ancient stones in her fireplace (see the photo). This recipe has been adapted for the modern kitchen. In the past, savory crêpes,made with sweet chestnut flour, were often the only dish served for lunch or dinner. The traditional filling is fresh sheep’s milk ricotta, but cooked beans, onion frittata, sautéed wild greens, or bits of leftover roasted meat can also be used. The crêpes can also be drizzled with chestnut honey and served as a dessert. —Pamela Sheldon Johns
cups chestnut flour
cups spring water
teaspoon sea salt
olive oil or butter to grease the cooking surface
ounces whole-milk ricotta, preferably sheeps' milk
- In a large bowl, whisk the flour, salt and water together until smooth. Cover and set aside for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
- Heat a 7-inch nonstick crêpe pan or skillet over medium heat. Smear the pan with the pork rind (or brush with melted butter). Stir the batter and pour a scant 1/4 cup into the pan. Tilt the pan so that the batter runs to the edges, creating a thin, even layer. Immediately loosen the edges with a spatula and cook for 1 minute, or until the top is set and looks dry. Turn and cook for 15 to 30 seconds, just to lightly brown it. Stack the crêpes with parchment paper between them to hold until ready to use. Repeat for each crêpe, greasing the pan lightly each time before adding the batter.
- To serve, place a tablespoonful of ricotta on each crêpe and roll it up. Serve at once.