Gâteau de Crêpes Florentine

Most recipes on this blog are fairly quick and easy. Gâteau de Crêpes Florentine is a bit more time-consuming, so allow an hour to an hour and a half for preparation, plus cooking time. It can however be prepared ahead if you’re serving it to guests.

I used to make this in one large pancake stack and serve it cut into wedges. I decided to modernise it by making individual ones to serve for brunch. Making individual ones is a bit more fiddly than one big one, but using frozen spinach instead of fresh speeds things up.

If you make individual gateaux you will be left with a lot of crepe off-cuts, which can be used to make a quick dessert. Use scissors to snip them into more uniform pieces then  mix them with some apple slices, pile into a baking dish, sprinkle with sugar, dot with butter and bake in a hot oven for about 25 minutes.

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Crêpes:
2 cups cold water
1 cup cold milk
3 eggs
½ tsp salt
2 cups sifted plain flour
5 Tbs oil
Filling:
100g plain flour
70g butter
2 cups milk
salt, pepper and nutmeg
2 bunches spinach (or 2 x 250g packets frozen)
250g grated Parmesan cheese
To serve:
1 carton sour cream
½ cup chopped parsley
Salt to taste

Blend crepe ingredients in blender or food processor until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. Add 1-2 tablespoons of extra water, to ensure the batter is nice and thin, then make 24-28 thin crêpes in a non-stick omelette or crepe pan. No need to grease the pan. Use 1½-2 Tbs batter for each crepe, swirling the pan to cover the whole area. Stack them one on top of the other on a plate. If you’re making individual ones, use a larger non-stick pan so the crêpes are big enough to cut three circles using a stacking ring.

For the filling, wash, cook, drain and chop spinach or use two well-drained packets of frozen spinach. Make a white sauce with butter, flour and milk. Add seasonings and spinach. Sauce should be thick.

For one large gateau, place one crepe on lightly buttered ovenproof plate. Spread with thin layer of spinach sauce and sprinkle generously with grated Parmesan. Continue, ending with a crepe. Cover with foil and leave in the fridge. To serve, heat for about 45 mins at 180°C, remove foil and cut into wedges, like a cake. Serve with the parsley sauce.

For individual gateaux, grease individual stacking rings and arrange on baking paper, on a baking tray. Doing three crepes at a time, cut circles using one stacking ring. So from 3 crepes you will get 9 circles. Place one in each ring, then spread some spinach sauce over, sprinkle with grated parmesan and continue until you reach the top, ending with a plain circle of crepe. You will need 5-6 circles per serving. You can either use up all the crepes and filling or just make six or so and keep the rest for another use.

Sauce: Mix and chill. Add salt just before serving.

Serves 10-12 as a starter or light lunch.