Prepare for mushroom cheesy crespelle-y awesomeness.
So, a lot of people know about crepes – but not as many people know about their Italian cousin, the crespella. Actually, I polled a few of my Italian friends and only 2/3 of them knew what crespelle were. Interestingly, both of the “southern Italians” had heard of the crespelle (Maurizio and Rosanna), but the “northern Italian” (ahem, Justin) had not.
(a graphical representation of where my friends are from and whether they knew what a crespella was…obviously…)
(original map from the US Department of State…pancake additions are all original)
But more on my socio-geographical pancake study another time. Back to pancakes. So the official name for what I made is crespelle alla crema di funghi e fontina. (Get the original (in Italian) here, and my translated version here.) They’re basically stuffed savory crepes – that is, stuffed with a delicious mascarpone-mushroom-fontina concoction that’s basically the ultimate Italian version of cream of mushroom.
(I used this many mushrooms! This many!)
This recipe is basically a mushroom lover’s dream and my roommate and I pancake’d out with our mushrooms out. I actually thought that the pancakes would’ve been even better if there were larger chunks of mushroom throughout the filling – the recipe calls for the mushrooms to be food processed, but if I did this again, I’d probably do a rough chop instead of using my food processor.
(the pureed mushroom mix)
Oh, and another thing, I didn’t use real mascarpone cheese. I know, I probably broke some sacred Italian cooking code, but none of the 3 grocery stores near me had mascarpone when I was grocery shopping so there really wasn’t anything I could do about it (my roommate swears 1 of the grocery stores has mascarpone, but I’ll believe it when I see it, and I haven’t seen it yet.) So, instead, I scoured the interwebs for a suitable mascarpone substitute and I ended up with this concoction of cream cheese, sour cream, and heavy cream.
It smelled, looked, and tasted very similar to mascarpone and the pancakes were still delicious so I think it worked. The actual pancake component of the crespelle was good, too. The crespelle are actually a tad thicker than regular crepes, which makes them a little easier to work with and I guess a bit pasta-ier which makes sense…they are Italian after all.
(a stack of unstuffed crespelle)
The one thing to watch out for with these pancakes is that because they’re a bit thicker, they’re prone to getting a little soggy after being left in the fridge. I had some leftover crespelle the next day and the pancakes had soaked up a lot of moisture – it wasn’t anything a solid searing in my pan couldn’t fix, but still, I thought you’d want to be forewarned.
(parting shot of my crespelle lined up like ducks in a pond…or something like that)
If you like mushrooms, definitely try this recipe out, 4.25 out of 5 stackies: