Monday, February 22, 2010

Gluten-free crespolini, with spinach and cheese

Six days after Shrove Tuesday, a pancake recipe.

Gluten-free flour makes a passable bechamel, but is no substitute for wheat flour in pastry, in my view - even with the addition of the recommended xanthum gum. It has a dry, powdery quality. That quality affected these gluten-free pancakes as well. But it was less noticeable, partly because of the rich filling; and gluten-free pancakes are better than no pancakes.

After I had rested the batter, I discovered that flour had settled on the bottom of the bowl, and needed to be stirred into the liquid again.

Pancake batter: see recipe for Toad in the Hole; but use an extra egg.

Bechamel and spinach: recipe in this Eggs Florentine entry.

Once you've cooked the sauce, allow it to cool and thicken. Drain the spinach, and squeeze out the liquid, without being absolutely thorough. Stir the spinach into the sauce.

Heat a 20cm, non-stick pan above a medium flame. I don't have a proper pancake pan, but use a cast-iron one (a bit heavy for flipping). Swirl a little sunflower oil in it, then tip out any excess. Pour in half a ladleful of batter, spread it out, and cook for 30 to 45 seconds. Flip the pancake using your preferred method (I do it, gracelessly, with a spatula). Repeat, adding a little more oil when necessary.

I added spinach filling to each pancake, rolled it up and put it in an oven dish while the next pancake was cooking.

Cover the dish with foil, and bake the crespolini in a gas mark 6/200C oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until hot.

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