I fear I would get into trouble if I didn't make pancakes for Shrove Tuesday. Instead, I have unleashed a monster who has requested that I make pancakes every day. Rather than blog the obligatory crêpe recipe with lemon and sugar and debate the various merits of French, Scotch and American style pancakes, I thought I'd do something a little different. My mother has made stuffed pancakes for as long as I can remember, and second only to gougère, this is one of my most favourite comfort foods.
For these, I have made two fillings - one ham and mushroom, one chicken and mushroom. However, do experiment with whatever takes your fancy. I have previously made them filled with roasted vegetables, which was equally delicious. My only constant is the béchamel sauce to keep the pancakes creamy and moist.
Ingredients (serves 3, or two greedy people):
For the pancakes:
1 large egg
120g plain flour
For the chicken and mushroom filling:
15g plain flour
100g chestnut mushrooms
1 large chicken breast
drizzle of truffle oil
Salt and pepper
For the ham and mushroom filling:
15g plain flour
180g smoked ham
100 chestnut mushrooms
Salt and pepper
Begin by making up the pancake batter - in a blender, whizz together the flour, egg, milk and a pinch of salt. Then, with a little oil, heat up a 25cm frying pan until the oil is almost smoking and ladle in about half a ladle of pancake batter - enough to coat the surface. distribute the batter evenly across the pan, then after 30 seconds or so flip it over and cook for a further 30 seconds. Repeat until all the batter is used up - I find this makes between 6 and 7 pancakes, depending on how generous you are with the batter and how thick you like them.
Preheat the oven to 180°C, cover the pancakes with foil so they don't dry out, then set about making the béchamel sauce: melt the butter in a pan then stir in the flour so that it forms a thick paste. Stirring constantly, slowly pour in the milk until you are left with a thick, smooth sauce. Season with a little salt and pepper. For this recipe, I made one larger batch of béchamel sauce and divided it between the two different fillings. If you want to do this, just double the quantities of butter, milk and flour when making up the sauce.
For the ham filling, roughly chop the ham and slice and sauté the mushrooms then stir in with the béchamel sauce and Emmental. Divide between three pancakes, wrap and sprinkle a little extra Emmental on the top of each stuffed pancake. I used a 25x20cm ovenproof dish, which held six filled pancakes laid widthways perfectly.
For the chicken filling, grill the chicken, then while the chicken is grilling, chop and fry the shallots and mushrooms in a little truffle oil. Once the chicken is cooked, let it cool down and rest for 10 minutes or so - this makes it easier to slice - then roughly chop into approximately 1cm cubes. Stir into the béchamel sauce with the Emmental, mushrooms and shallots and season with salt and pepper. As before, divide the pancake filling between the remaining three pancakes, wrap and then sprinkle a little Emmental on top.
Finally, cover the ovenproof dish with foil and bake in the oven for 45 minutes, until piping hot. Serve with fresh green vegetables.