If for this second in trasferta post you’re expecting some pictures of Italy, be disappointed. While we were there, B., I. and I escaped for four days and went camping on the island of Cres, Croatia. It was a joy for I. and me to go back there because it’s where we used to spend our childhood summer holidays. After more than 15 years, we rediscovered (and made B. discover for the first time) the beauty that is Cres. Just as we were looking below, towards the bay and the sea from the village of Lubenice, B. said that no matter how good the pictures were, they would never be able to convey the essence of the place. While I completely agree, I coudn’t help but try…
To celebrate the return to Cres and to childhood, I made pancakes filled with walnuts. I’m not sure why, but pancakes filled with either jam, chocolate spread or walnuts are a traditional dessert in restaurants on the island. I remember being in the village near the campsite with my family and precariously holding in my hands a pancake which I just got from the man at the pancake cart. The cart is no longer there, but pancakes are still going strong. I had no idea how I would recreate the filling, but this book has helped me once again. I just swapped the sugar for some honey and tweaked the quantities. If you’re ever nearby, you won’t regret the short ferry trip to Cres. A famous poet once described this and the surrounding islands as “the islands made of rock, which the olive trees turn into silver”. The translation is not great (Italian text here, if you want to give it a go), but gives you a hint of the rugged and desperate beauty of Cres.
Pictures by B., I. and me.
Prepare the batter. In a bowl, stir together the two flours and salt and add the milk and water little by little, mixing well after each addition. Add the eggs and mix thoroughly. Cover with clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge. The filling can be prepared a few hours in advance and warmed up in the microwave before serving, or you can quickly get it ready while you are making the pancakes. Place a pan over low heat, tip in the 60 gr of butter and the breadcrumbs and gently fry until the breadcrumbs are golden brown and smell like heaven. Tip in a bowl, add the honey and walnuts and mix. For the pancakes, heat a heavy-bottomed pan, then add a knob of butter and when it’s melted quickly add a ladle of batter. Holding the pan with one hand, rotate the pa until the batter evenly coats the base of the pan. Now leave the pan on the heat for a few minutes until the edges of the pancake start to peel off the pan. Flip the pancake and cook for about 30 seconds – 1 minute on the other side until brown bubbles appear. Slide the pancake on a plate, put another knob of butter in the pan and repeat the process until you finish the batter. Spread as best as you can the walnut filling onto the pancake, then fold it twice, so that you’re left with a little fan-shaped pancake. Quickly serve with some icing sugar on top.