Recipe: Saffron Crepe Cake with Swiss Chard and Ricotta Cheese

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Today on Good Food, Evan interviews Clifford Wright about his latest book Hot & Cheesy. Clifford says that most cheeses don’t want to be cooked, they want to melt. A perfect example is his Saffron Crepe Cake with Swiss Chard and Ricotta Cheese. Keep reading for the full recipe…

Saffron Crepe Cake with Swiss Chard and Ricotta Cheese

from Clifford Wright’s Hot & Cheesy

(Serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer or 4 lunch servings)

Fore the crepes:

2 cups whole milk

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

10 tablespoons water

3 large eggs

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon saffron threads

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

For the stuffing and assembly of the cake:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 cups chopped onion

3 cups cooked, drained, and chopped Swiss chard (about 3 1/2 pounds raw)

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 3/4 cups ricotta cheese

salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto

6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Prepare the crepes In a blender, combine the milk, flour, water eggs, olive oil, saffron, salt, and pepper and blend until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the scallions. Let the batter rest for 30 minutes.

In a 9 inche crepe pan or non-stick skillet, heat a film of butter over medium heat. Pour about 1/3 cup of crepe batter into the pan and twirl the pan as you do so that the bottom is covered. Cook on one side only until golden brown, about 1 minute for the first one, and 15 to 20 seconds for the remaining ones. Remove from the pan and continue with the remaining batter, buttering the pan only if necessary to keep the crepes from sticking a you cook them. As you finish cooking each crepe, lightly butter them to prevent their sticking to one another as you stack them, or separate each with plastic wrap.  (The crepes can be stacked and wrapped in plastic wrap and kept in the refrigerator for 3 days or in the freezer, wrapped further in a freezer bag, for 6 months if not using immediately.) You will need 9 crepes for this recipe and you can save the remainder.

Make the stuffing. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter over low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the Swiss chard and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Stir in the eggs, then 1/2 cup of the ricotta cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place an oven rack in the center position.

Grease a 9 inch cake pan with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, Place 1 crepe cooked side down i the pan. Cover with one third of the prosciutto slices and top with a crepe, cooked side down. Spred with one-third of the remaining ricotta cheese. Top with a crepe, cooked side down, then spread with another one-third of the cheese and chard. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of Parmesan. Repeat this layering in this order two more times, pressing each layer down with your hands or the back of a spatula.

Drizzle each cake with olive oil. Cover loosely with aluminum foil, making sure the foil doesn’t touch the top fo the cake but is sealed around the edges. Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 1 hour. Remove the aluminum foil and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Invert cake onto a warm serving plate. Serve and slice at the table.