Since discovering chestnut flour for sale here in Rome, I’ve been enjoying experimenting with it. I’ve made some okay breads like this one and this attempt at pane di San Martino. I’ve also discovered it makes a very nice pancake (or crepe, if you prefer). And seeing as yesterday, 12 February 2013, was Shrove Tuesday, aka Pancake Day, it seemed like a good excuse to make a batch.
Chestnut flour (farina di castagne) is surprisingly sweet and apparently it’s also known as farina dolce in Italy (though I’ve never heard that in Rome). Also, as it has nothing to do with wheat or any grain, it’s also gluten-free. I have used some plain flour in the mix here, but that’s partly because I ran out of chestnut flour; the recipe works well with just 220g chestnut flour.
I’ll say here and now that pancakes are, of course, hardly sophisticated fare, and furthermore they didn’t photo very well, but, honest, this is a nice recipe, for both savoury and sweet pancakes.
This makes about a dozen.
280g milk (or ml if you haven’t got electronic scales)
20g (or ml) water, approximately
160g chestnut flour
60g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 tablespoons of vegetable, oilseed or olive oil
1 Lightly beat the eggs together and add the oil.
2 Sieve together the flours and baking soda, and put in a bowl.
3 Add a pinch of salt.
4 Add the eggs and oil to the dry mix.
5 Add the milk and whisk to combine, adding a little more water if necessary. You want a consistency like single cream.
6 Fry ladlefuls of the mixture in a hot, greased pan. (Thanks to the wife for womanfully managing this step.)
We filled ours with a mushrooms and cream cheese, grated Emmental, and – on a more Italian note – prosciutto. (And although they may look a bit burnt in the below photo, they weren’t – I blame the dark batter and the electric lighting.) Then I finished them off for breakfast this morning with yogurt, banana and honey. But go for your life with fillings – whatever you fancy. What we didn’t do last night was the old-school English pancake day variant of lemon juice and sugar. I think we were too full of the savoury ones.