QUARESIMA (40 Days of Lent)

Known as Quaresima, or the 40th day in Italian, Lent is observed by many in Italy. Carnevale, the day before Lent begins is filled with traditional foods varied from town to town.

Growing up my Grandmother would always make Crepes on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. We continued that custom over the years as our children were growing up and it became to be called Pancake Tuesday. Charlie and I still enjoy this custom
in our house as do some of our children.

Here is a recipe that I have followed for years and makes about a dozen or so crepes.
We have to double the recipe for our family but I make the mixture one batch at a time.

• 4 Eggs – room temperature if possible
• 1 Cup Whole Milk
• ½ Cup Flour
• 1 Tb Sugar
• 1 Pinch Salt
• 3 Tbs Butter – unsalted and cut into cubes
• 1 Cup Raspberry Jam – mixed with butter and a little vanilla
• 1 Tsp Vanilla

Warm syrup of your choice for pouring.

Preheat your oven to about 150^ and line a baking pan with wax paper or parchment paper.

(My grandmother did this all by hand with a metal whisk.) In a blender, add the eggs, milk, flour, sugar and salt. Pulse a few times and then scrape down the inside of the jar. Then blend again until it all forms a smooth batter. Preheat a 10-inch non-stick pan or skillet over medium-low heat. If you have a crepe pan, all the better. Add a cube of butter to the pan and when the butter has melted, quickly add ¼ cup (I use a metal measuring cup with a handle) of batter and quickly tilt the pan so that a even coating forms on the bottom of the pan. Cook for about 1 minute until it is slightly browned and set. Carefully loosen the sides with a spatula and carefully flip it over. Cook for an additional minute. Repeat this process until all the batter and necessary butter has been used.

Meanwhile or beforehand, in a small bowl add some raspberry jam, (whatever quantity you need to fill all the crepes) 1 pat of butter and a ½ teaspoon of vanilla. Heat this mixture just until it is warm and easy to spread. If two people are working together this process goes easier. As each crepe comes off the pan, slide it on to some wax paper, spread jam over the entire surface leaving an inch border all around and then roll up like a jelly roll, place in the oven to keep warm. When working alone, just cook all the crepes, lay them out on wax paper, then fill and put into the oven to keep warm until time to be served.

Our only variation to this recipe is that my Grandmother served the crepes with a homemade, as I recall, prune jam filling. It was delicious, but I have not been able to duplicate it so we go with raspberry. Any of your favorites will work.

We usually enjoy the crepes with a side of bacon or sausage since meat will be limited during Lent.