Ingredients (for 5–6 crêpes)
75 g chestnut flour
150 ml (3/5 cup) milk
2 teaspoons sunflower oil (10 ml)
1 tbsp honey, preferably acacia or orange blossom
Zest of half an orange, grated
Pinch of salt
Butter, for frying
300 g ( 10½ oz) fresh sheep’s or cow’s milk ricotta
1 – 2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp raisins, sultanas or currants
40 g (1½ oz) bitter chocolate 70%
Combine all the ingredients for the crêpes in a blender. Blend for about 10 seconds until smooth. Alternatively, beat the egg in a bowl, whisk in half of the sifted chestnut flour followed by half the milk, the rest of the flour and the milk. Add the oil, honey, salt and orange zest and whisk until smooth, then let the batter stand for 30 minutes at room temperature. (You can skip this last step if you are short of time.* The crêpe batter can also be prepared up to 24 hours ahead and kept in the refrigerator.) Meanwhile, prepare the ricotta filling by stirring together the ricotta and honey in a bowl until smooth, then add the raisins/sultanas. The chocolate can either be grated and mixed with the ricotta, or if you prefer, melted and poured over the finished crêpes. Heat an 18 – 20 cm crêpe pan (7 – 8 inch) or non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Grease the pan with butter using a pastry brush or paper towel to coat the surface very lightly and evenly. Pour in half a ladleful of batter, lift the pan from the heat and quickly tilt it to swirl the batter around so that it coats the whole pan evenly. Leave the crêpe to cook for a couple of minutes, loosen the edges from the sides with a thin spatula, then flip it over using the spatula, or your fingers, but be very careful not to touch the pan. Cook for a minute or two on the other side, then transfer it to a plate and stack the following crêpes on top. Spread a couple of tablespoons of the ricotta mixture on half of each crêpe and fold it in half. Place the crêpes on a serving platter and pour over the melted chocolate, if you have not already used it in the filling.
Until quite recently chestnut flour was a staple food of the poor in central Italy, where chestnuts trees abound in the mountainous areas. This sweet and highly nutritious flour would be made into bread, pasta, polenta, cakes and biscuits, as well as simple pancakes made with water and salt, called necci in Tuscany. If chestnut flour in the past was considered good enough only for the poor, today it is quite expensive and used mainly for desserts and gastronomic specialities. Chestnut flour is an excellent source of vitamin B6, manganese and dietary fibre. It is also rich in iron, potassium, magnesium, folates and vitamin B1 and B2.