Necci: Tuscan Chestnut Flour Pancakes
These classic stuffed chestnut flour pancakes are a popular Tuscan dessert typically filled with a combination of fresh sheep’s milk ricotta cheese and honey.
Necci are often prepared on a special set of long-handled, flat iron paddles called testi. Both paddles are heated and the batter is then poured onto the bottom plate, while the other is placed on top. The two hot plates cook the batter evenly on both sides and make it easier to flip the tender pancake inside without tearing it.
Fortunately, this recipe can also be made without any special equipment. All you need is a large non-stick skillet and a spatula with a thin, clean edge to gently lift the fragile pancake prior to flipping it.
Tip: The addition of a little olive oil to the necci batter helps hold it together better, as well.
Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 25-30 minutes
Makes 6 necci
Ingredients: 1¼ c. chestnut flour, sifted
1 c. water
¼ t. salt
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil, divided
2/3 c. fresh Ricotta cheese
3 T. honey 1 t. ground cinnamon (optional)
Prepare the batter by combining the sifted chestnut flour, water, salt, and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large bowl. Stir batter with a fork until smooth with no lumps remaining. Cover batter and set aside for at least one hour.
In a small bowl, combine the Ricotta, honey, and ground cinnamon, if using. Cover and set aside until ready to use. (Refrigerate if wait time is more than 2 hours).
To prepare the necci, heat a scant tablespoon of olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Swirl the pan to evenly coat the bottom with the olive oil.
Ladle 1/6 of the batter into the preheated skillet and immediately spread into a thin, round layer with the bottom of the ladle. Cook until the edges start to firm up and the bottom is evenly browned, approximately 2 minutes. Gently use a spatula with a thin edge to loosen all the way around the pancake before flipping. Cook the remaining side until evenly browned before removing from heat.
Transfer the cooked necci to a plate and repeat the process five more times with the remaining batter, adding a bit more olive oil to the skillet between each batch. Add a layer of parchment paper or plastic wrap between each warm necci to prevent sticking.
To serve, place one of the prepared necci on a clean, dry work surface and spoon 1/6 of the honey Ricotta mixture down the center. Wrap the edges of the necci around the filling to secure. If needed, add a little dab of honey and ricotta to the edge of the necci to hold the wrapped edges in place.
Repeat this process with the remaining necci and serve immediately. Enjoy!