Cheesy pancakes with ham and leeks

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This pancake recipe is now a family tradition every Shrove Tuesday, followed by the normal lemon and sugar version for pudding – quite a lot of food for a Tuesday night, but we love an excuse to be over indulgent.  Plus, I must warn you, it’s not cheap to make – the cheese required is expensive, but it tastes fabulous – for a treat, it’s so worth it (it’s only once a year after all!)

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So, if you fancy joining us for a cheesy delicious feast, this is how to do it.  It serves 4.  As Tuesday night is a work night for most of us, you can make the pancakes in advance and freeze them.  Just layer the pancakes between sheets of baking paper, wrap in cling film and foil.  You can do this up to a couple of months in advance.

Reblochon – a taste of Savoie

This recipe serves 4.  And takes 35 minutes prep and 35 minutes to cook (including the pancakes)

Ingredients

Pancakes (makes 12)

  • 230g plain flour
  • 2 medium  eggs, beaten
  • 340ml milk
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing

For the filling

  • 12 pancakes (as above)
  • Butter, for greasing
  • 3 leeks, trimmed
  • 250g young spinach leaves
  • 180g (6 slices) finely sliced honey roast ham, trimmed of fat and halved
  • 200g Reblochon
  • 30g Comté or Gruyère cheese, finely grated

For the basic pancakes

  • Sift the flour and a pinch of salt into a bowl and make a well in the centre.
  • Pour the eggs, milk and 100ml water into the well. Beat until smooth.
  • Strain through a sieve into a jug or other bowl and stir in the oil.
  • Rest (if you have time – if not, I’m still not convinced it makes any difference).
  • Place a 18cm non-stick frying pan over a medium-low heat. Rub with a little oil and when hot, pour in a little batter.
  • Rotate the pan so that it is evenly coated in a thin layer.
  • When it begins to set, loosen the pancake with a palette knife and flip!
  • Cook for another 30 seconds, then slip onto a plate and cover with a cloth.
  • Repeat about 12 times or until you have run out of batter – you can freeze the pancakes at this stage.  Or, continue to make the delicious cheesy filling.

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For the cheesy pancakes

  • Preheat the oven to 200°c/fan180°c/gas 6.
  • Butter 1 or 2 shallow baking dishes.
  • Cut the leeks in half lengthways. Remove the outer leaves and wash. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the leeks and cook for 3 minutes or until just cooked. Remove with a slotted spoon and cool under cold water. Squeeze dry on kitchen paper. Cut each leek into 4.
  • Add the spinach to the boiling water. As soon as it has wilted, drain and cool under cold water. Squeeze dry and unfurl.
  • Take the first pancake and place half a ham slice in the middle. Add 2 pieces of leek and a little spinach. Finally, add a good chunk of Reblochon.  Roll it up and place in the baking dish.
  • Repeat with the remaining pancakes.
  • Last of all, sprinkle with the grated Comté or Gruyère and bake for 25 minutes or until hot and bubbling, looking and smelling divine!

Enjoy with a good bottle of wine.  If you like white, probably suggest a Sancerre (although they can be a bit pricey so just a nice dry Sauvingnon Blanc will work fine too) or reds, perhaps a simple Beaujolais.

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