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I want to wish everyone in the greater internet area happy holidays; no matter who, what or where you are there’s some sort of solstice-y reason to celebrate, right?

My awesome Mother-in-Law got me some Italian chestnuts at a specialty food shop in her neck of the woods because she figured (quite correctly) I didn’t have any real stores around here and would like them. So, I roasted them up, threw some of them into my coffee grinder to make a bit of chestnut flour and invited my in-laws over for a chestnut-y dinner. We had chestnut crepes, both savory and sweet. I’m so happy they’re both easy going and retired so they don’t mind too much driving to see us up in the mountains.  My in-laws have been so great about including me in their family traditions and celebrations, I really like sharing some of the odd traditions that I’ve collected over the years with them.

Chestnuts are roasted and sold as street food in the cities in Italy in the fall and winter. They also grow in the woods in the hillsides in Tuscany and everyone looks forward to eating chestnuts in the fall time. I learned this recipe for chestnut crepes at my internship in Guamo. The chef got some chestnut flour for his special, fall dishes and had a fun time having me guess what it was by just taste, I had no clue!  In Tuscany they also make a strange sweet and savory, fudge-like treat with chestnut flour, orange rind and rosemary. It’s an acquired taste, I assume. Let’s just say, I vastly prefer making these chestnut crepes instead.

Basic Chestnut Crepes 

If you have a crepe recipe that you love and works great for you, just substitute 1/4 of the flour for chestnut flour, which you may be able to find in Italian specialty stores or you could just grind up your own toasted chestnuts in a spice/coffee grinder.

Serves 4 – both dinner and dessert, cost approx $2.02 for batch or crepe batter

I served this meal with a loaf of bread and it was enough for 4 people, cost approx $1.92 per serving.

Ingredients

  • 60 grams chestnut flour ($1? I have no clue what this costs, sorry)
  • 150 grams all purpose flour ($.25)
  • 2 eggs ($.30)
  • 400 ml milk ($.22)
  • pinch salt

Whisk everything together until there are very few lumps, strain through a fine mesh strainer and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to overnight.  It’s a very thin batter.  When you’re ready to make crepes, heat a small, non-stick pan over medium heat.  Grease it however you see fit and pour in a small portion of batter.  Quickly swirl the pan around to make a thin crepe.  If this is your maiden voyage on the S.S. crepe, I might suggest watching a video or two first.  It’s not hard to do but it helps to have a good idea before you set sail…

Like so, nice, thin crepes.

Like so: nice, thin crepes.

Cook your crepes on both sides just to that the batter is cooked, we’re not looking for a lot of browning here.  Let cool for a minute or two and move to a plate for storage.  Make about a million more crepes.

IMG_1055You can go right ahead and fill these little guys or they are happy to wait in the fridge, covered tightly in plastic wrap, for up to one or two days.

Savory Crepe Filling 

Makes enough for 4 servings

  • 1 cup ricotta ($.50, I freeze ricotta when it goes on super sale)
  • 1 egg ($.15)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup sauteed veggies – I used mushrooms, onion and arugula ($2)
  • 2 cups bechamel sauce ($.50)
  • 1 cup marinara or ragu ($.50)

Preheat oven to 375 F. Mix up all the ingredients in the first set, and get a baking pan ready, put about half of your sauces on the bottom of the pan.  Put a scoop of filling on a crepe and roll it up gently, place in the prepared pan on top of the sauces.  Fill up all the crepes you want.  Anywhere from 12-20 crepes for 4 people, depending on how full you stuff them.  Top with remaining sauces

Bake at 375F for 20 minutes or so.

IMG_1061Sweet Crepe Filling

Makes 4 servings

  • 1 cup ricotta cheese ($.50)
  • 1 orange, segmented ($.50)
  • 4 Tbs honey, divided use ($.50)
  • powdered sugar – for garnish

Preheat oven to 375F.  Mix ricotta, orange slices and 3 Tbs honey.  Fill your crepes and bake 5-10 minutes.  Sprinkle over some powdered sugar and drizzle on the remaining honey.  Serve immediately, yum!

IMG_1064

 

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