Crespelle (you can translate them as crepes) are a dish suitable for all occasions, especially for Christmas. Prepared with flour, eggs, and milk, once cooked, they transform into soft and tasty wafers, perfect to be filled with delicious ingredients.
Cold cuts, vegetables, cheeses – stuffed crepes are excellent for a quick lunch or a snack full of flavor. And why not, they can serve as an original appetizer paired with other dishes.
But that’s not all: crespelle can also be sweet, perfect for breakfast or a snack. Try them filled with jam, dusted with powdered sugar, or with cream and chocolate.
Moreover, crepes are at their best when baked, creating a first course with incredible flavor. With asparagus, ricotta, mushrooms, here are all the secrets to making perfect crepes.
How to make savory crepes
Preparing crespelle batter is easy and quick. The classic ingredients used are: all-purpose flour, eggs, milk, butter, and a pinch of salt.
The preparation itself is straightforward: once the batter is ready, it’s enough, with the help of a ladle, to take some and cook it in a hot pan. Be careful not to add too much batter and not to burn it, and the final result will be a thin and light golden layer. But let’s see how to make crepes starting from scratch.
In a bowl, put sifted flour, eggs, and a pinch of salt, and begin to mix. Now add melted butter, continuing to stir, and, gradually, the milk. Once all the ingredients are added, knead until you get a smooth and homogeneous mixture.
The batter is ready; let it rest for at least 1 hour in the fridge before using it. Take a non-stick pan with a diameter between 15 and 20 cm. Grease the bottom with a knob of butter and, once melted, pour the mixture evenly onto the pan with a ladle.
As soon as the edges of the batter begin to brown and detach from the bottom of the pan, using a spatula, lift the crepe and flip it to the other side. After about another minute, your crepe will be ready. Continue this process until the batter is finished.
Your crepes are now ready to be filled with whatever you prefer!
Always for the batter, be careful not to leave lumps while mixing the ingredients in the bowl. A tip is to use a whisk to properly mix the batter and grease the pan well to prevent the crepe from sticking to the bottom.
In addition to all-purpose flour, you can make your crepes with other types of flour, such as whole wheat, buckwheat, rice, or legume flour. These are fancy variations that will give a new flavor to your dish. Moreover, in case of guests with gluten intolerance, gluten-free flours, such as rice flour, are the perfect alternative suitable for everyone.
Now it’s time to fill the crepes. Cold cuts, fish, cheeses, vegetables – they are exquisite with any ingredient. You can make classic ham and mozzarella crepes or with any other cold cut, such as salami, and another cheese, like smoked cheese.
To make them without using the oven, heat them directly in the pan, keeping the flame low. On half of each crepe, place a slice of ham and some pieces of mozzarella; then, fold it and leave it in the pan for a few minutes with the lid on. The heat will melt the filling perfectly. Now serve your ham and mozzarella crepes, excellent as a single dish, perhaps accompanied by some sautéed vegetables.
Ham and mozzarella crepes can be an excellent choice to replace first courses or even a complete meal when in a hurry. However, crepes can also be excellent appetizers, easy and full of flavor.
For a light and gourmet appetizer, prepare fish crepes. Boil the shrimp, frozen ones are fine, in plenty of boiling and salted water. Once softened, drain and let them cool. On the crepe, put a spoonful of cream and some shrimp.
Now, to present them more elegantly, roll them up on themselves, creating a small cylinder, and tie them with a chive. Now bring them to the table: you will savor the delicacy of the crepe and the sweetness of the cream, for a delicious dish.
Try filling your crepes with a vegetarian filling. For example, with zucchini, pesto, and gorgonzola. Or radicchio, walnuts, and taleggio!
How to make baked crespelle
Baked crespelle are an exceptional first course, perfect for a Sunday family lunch or a dinner with friends. Totally versatile, they can be dressed with any flavor: you can make ham-filled crepes, or a stringy version with cheese, or even a vegetarian variant with radicchio and gorgonzola.
If you prefer to add meat or simply love the taste of cold cuts, the recipe for crepes with cooked ham is definitely for you: a classic preparation that will make everyone happy. If, on the other hand, you are a vegetarian or in the mood for some vegetables, then a tasty filling based on radicchio will be more suitable.
After making the crepes, place them on a surface and fill them. In the meantime, preheat the oven. The temperature depends on the recipe you are preparing, but usually, it’s around 180°C (356°F). Now fill your crepes and, once filled, place them on a baking sheet on which you have poured a bit of béchamel sauce. Once all are arranged, pour more béchamel on top and a generous sprinkle of grated Parmesan, then bake.
In the oven, the interaction between béchamel and Parmesan will create a tasty crust. After 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the filling, take out your crepes: they are ready to be served and enjoyed in all their specialty.
For a family lunch, prepare meat-filled crepes. First of all, make the ragù, if you haven’t already, and, in the meantime, prepare the crepe batter. Once cooked in the pan, fill them with ragù, fold them, and place them on a baking sheet moistened with béchamel.
Cover them with more béchamel and Parmesan and bake at 200°C for 15 minutes.
Your meat-filled crepes are ready to impress your family.
For an even faster dish, make Mexican crepes: their filling of minced meat and peppers, enhanced by the spicy note of chili, will give a unique flavor to your dish. And if you prefer fish, try chickpea crepes with prawns and red mullet. In this recipe, wheat flour is replaced by legume flour, for an exceptional and light result.
Finally, if it’s spring, for a special dinner, make artichoke crepes or the variant of artichoke and salmon crepes: a few steps to follow for a chef-proof first course.
In case of guests with gluten or lactose intolerance, not only can you make crepes with gluten-free flour, but you can also make them like lasagna in the oven using Lactose-Free Béchamel.