I am so excited by my latest purchase a crepe pan. I saw the crepe pan for sale at www.mercato.co.nz and have always been afraid of attempting making crepes, they fell into my too hard list. They seemed so delicate and not having the right equipment I have never tried. The crepes were a breeze to make in this pan. I made 10 lovely silky thin crepes, no disasters. I then followed Tessa Kiros recipe for Cannelloni made with soft home-made crepes, wrapped with a rich cinnamon infused meat sauce, rolled and covered with a bechamel sauce and sprinkled in freshly grated parmesan cheese then baked until bubbling and oozing. Every mouthful of this was so decadently tasty and felt perfectly balanced with a green salad.
cinnamon infused slow cooked meat sauce encased in my lovely crepes, awaiting the bechamel sauce and home-made tomato sauce.
The recipe calls for the tomato sauce to be pushed and scattered amongst the bechamel sauce. It looks so pretty.
Recipe for Meat Canneloni
Make sure you have a morning set aside, this can be prepared ahead and baked when ready. I made mine on a sunday afternoon.
- The crepes:3 large eggs
150g plain flour
50g butter, melted plus extra butter for frying
250ml full cream milk
pinch of saltIn a medium bowl whisk the eggs, add the flour and salt and whisk in. While whisking add the melted butter. Slowly add the milk, whisking until you have a smooth crepe batter. Now put this aside to sit for about 20 minutes. When the batter has rested, heat a small non-stick frypan over medium to high heat and place a little butter in it. As soon as butter has melted, add half a large ladleful of batter to the pan and tilt the pan around until the batter covers the bottom of the frypan. Fry until the underneath is golden and then flip and cook the other side until golden too. Remove from the pan and place on a plate. Continue this process until you have used all the batter. Put the crepes aside until you are ready to use them. If preparing the crepes in advance, allow to cool and cover with cling film and place in the fridge.The tomato sauce:
1 garlic clove, peeled and lightly smashed
2 tbsp olive oil
400g tin of diced tomatoes
4 basil leaves
In a medium saucepan, heat the oil and garlic together until you start smelling the garlic odour. Then add the tin of tomatoes and salt to season. Bring to a simmer and leave to simmer for about 15 minutes until the diced tomatoes have broken down. When the sauce is nearly ready add the basil and 1/2 cup water. Optional puree sauce when finished – I didnt. This sauce can also be made in advance, and set aside, or once cooled place in the fridge.
The meat sauce filling:
3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 500grams minced beef
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cinnmon stick
- 1 tablespoon worcester sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon dried mint (optional)
- 1 teaspoon quality smoked paprika (buy from speciality shop)
- 185ml white wine
- 400gram tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 handful chopped italian leaf parsley
For the mince sauce, heat the olive oil in a large pan and saute the onions over medium heat for 8 minutes until the meat starts to brown, stirring often to prevent sticking and to brown all the mea. Add the wine and cook until it has all evaporated. Add the tomatoes , cook for a few minutes and then add 375ml (1 1/2 cups) of water. Season with salt. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer uncovered for about 45 minutes. Add the parsley for the last ten minutes.
The bechamel sauce:
40g plain flour
freshly grated nutmeg
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Over a lowish heat, add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth and continue cooking and stirring for a couple minutes to remove the raw flour taste. Slowly add the milk a bit at a time, whisking and adding more milk until all the milk has all been added and the mix is smooth. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper. Bring this sauce to a boil, and simmer for about 5 minutes, while constantly stirring. When it is ready it will be thick and smooth.
Time to prepare the canneloni:
In addition to the above ingredients, you need 50g grated parmesan cheese.
First, heat up your oven to 180 degrees celcius. Prepare a 20cm x 30cm baking dish by greasing it. To construct the canneloni, place a thin layer of the tomato sauce in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Place a crepe on a flat work surface, and spoon about 2 heaped tablespoons of the meat sauce along one edge of the crepe and roll up. Place the filled crepe in the baking dish so it fits snugly. Continue this until you have either used all the crepes or have used up all the space in the baking dish.
Once all the crepes are lined up in the baking dish, spread the rest of the bechamel sauce over the top. Sprinkle on the tomato sauce and top with the grated parmesan.
Bake for about 40 minutes until the top is golden and oozing. Let it cool down so its not piping hot. Serve with a freshly dressesd green salad and crusty bread if desired.