I love pancakes, sweet and savoury, in all their glorious varieties like blini, crespelle, crepes, palacinky, oladushki and many more. I'm happy to eat them for breakfast or dinner, they are incredibly versatile and pretty easy to make. Today's recipe is inspired by the Italian pancakes that I have tried in the past and thoroughly enjoyed: Crespelle with spinach and prosciutto.
I was recently invited to take part in a PDO Cookery challenge, competing against 9 other popular food bloggers. For the challenge I was provided with two fantastic Italian Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) products: Grana Padano cheese and prosciutto di San Daniele. The products arrived in a lovely hamper with some cooking equipment and a press release with recipe ideas and background information.
"The "PDO - The taste of origin and tradition" campaign, launched in partnership with the Consortium of Prosciutto di San Daniele and the Consortium of Grana Padano Cheese, is designed to promote PDO products. Now in its third and final year, and funded by the EU and Italian government, it is focused on sharing the unique qualities & characteristics of these products in the UK and raising awareness of what PDO status means".
You might have heard Grana Padano to be called a poor man's parmesan, yet this cheese is a worthy competitor to parmesan.
Many Italian families prefer to have a block of Grana for everyday use, for example, my Italian mother-in-law often offers "un po di grana" when she serves pasta.
It has been invented by monks around 1,000AD to use the excess milk. The name "grana" refers to its grainy texture.
It is less expensive than parmesan, but is as versatile.
Crespelle with spinach and prosciutto (makes 4)
2 medium eggs
a pinch of salt
115g plain flour
20g butter for frying
120g fresh spinach
2 small shallots, finely chopped
1tbsp olive oil
120g mozzarella (drained weight)
30g Grana Padano + more for sprinkling on top (grated)
4 slices of prosciutto
First make the pancakes (crespelle) by pouring the milk into a bowl with the eggs and a pinch of salt. Beat together, add the flour and mix until you have a smooth batter.
Heat up the pancake pan and add a bit of butter (either brush with the melted butter, or take a stick of butter and quickly run over the inside of the pan.
Pour a ladleful of batter, it has to cover the pan evenly. Cook for a couple of minutes on each side, turning it with a spatula. As the crespelle cook, place them one on top of the other on a plate.
Prepare the filling by chopping the shallots finely and frying them in a pan with the olive oil. After a couple of minutes, add the spinach. Saute for another couple of minutes, until the spinach is wilted. Set aside, and once the spinach is not hot anymore, mix it with the cubed mozzarella and grated Grana.
Place a slice of prosciutto on top of each pancake (crespelle) and add one quarter of the filling. roll the pancakes. Put them in a deep ceramic dish or baking dish, which has been slightly buttered. Place the dish in the oven preheated to 180C and reheat for about 10 minutes. Take the dish out and sprinkle more grated cheese on top before serving.
If you are short of time, use the ready-made pancakes, just make sure they are not the sweet variety.
Disclosure: I received a hamper of PDO products to take part in the cooking challenge. All opinions and recipe ideas are mine.
For more information on these products including recipes from the renowned chef Giancarlo Caldesi, visit Prosciutto di San Daniele and Grana Padano.
For more information on the PDO programme, please visit