Crespeou (pronounced cres-PAY-oo) is a Provencal (France) layered dish normally composed of mini-omelettes filled with herbs and vegetables, and then layered in alternating colours. I make my usual chickpea flour pancakes/pudla/cheela instead of omelettes, to make the dish egg-free. It is a simple technique using common ingredients to produce a vibrant savoury cake.
Prepared in advance, the dish can be served hot or cold. Serve warm with a tomato and red onion salad, or, even better, wrap in foil, refrigerate and serve next day. Take it on picnics and to potlucks.
Crespeou can be made with lots of different ingredients. The trick is to make each layer a separate colour. In today’s recipe we are layering each of the pancakes with a fennel puree and a wild peach chutney. We do this to keep it moist and delicious for a Sunday brunch. When taking on picnics, we take any layering pastes or purees separately and construct it on the spot.
There are lots of recipes for Crespeou. We have taken our inspiration for the layers from Ottolenghi’s Plenty More, but adapted them to our tastes and pantry ingredients. You can find his original recipe in the book, or in his Guardian column.
Crespeou | Layered Chickpea Pancakes | Eggfree
for a crespeou for 2 – 3 people – it will make about 9 pancakes
10 heaped Tblspn chickpea flour
2 Tblspn double cream, mixed with splash hot water to thin if necessary
a little feta or halloumi, crumbled or grated (or use tofu or paneer) (optional)
2 tspn olive oil
1 tspn eno
sea salt and black pepper
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 tspn tomato paste or 1 Tblspn passata
0.5 red peppers, finely diced
0.5 tspn ground coriander
0.5 tspn caster sugar
other options for the red layer, to replace any above include grated beetroot and sun dried tomatoes (chopped)
1 onion, finely diced
0.5 tspn turmeric powder
1 Tblspn sweetcorn kernels
2 spring onion, green part only, sliced finely
6 basil leaves, shredded finely
2 tspn parsley or coriander leaves, chopped finely
0.5 tspn cumin powder
0.5 green chilli, thinly sliced
1 Tblspn peas, podded and slightly crushed
other options for the green layer, to replace any above are pesto, mint, chives, coriander paste, grated zucchini, capers
black layer (optional)
2 cloves black garlic, pureed
2 Tblspn black olives, chopped well or use olive tapenade
1 tspn mushroom powder
other options for the black layer, to replace any above include eggplant puree
chickpea flour is quite drying, so it is always good to use something to counteract that in any dish with chickpea flour. Use any paste, puree or thick sauce. Today I have used fennel puree and a home made wild peach chutney to spread between the layers. I have topped with sauteed oyster mushrooms, which is very nice, but a great home made tomato sauce is excellent piled on top of the stack or drizzled over.
Do the preparation first.
For the red mix, sauté the red onion in a little olive oil for 10 minutes on medium heat. Add the tomato paste, peppers, coriander, sugar, pinch salt and black pepper. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring, for a minute or so minutes. Transfer to a bowl, leave to cool.
For the yellow mix, sauté the onion in a little olive oil for five minutes. Lower the heat, add a pinch salt, black pepper, sweetcorn and the turmeric. Cook for 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, leave to cool.
For the green mix, mix the green ingredients with a pinch of salt.
Make the batter. Mix the ingredients for the batter with a little water until a thick batter is formed. Allow to sit for 10 – 15 mins.
Heat a non-stick frying pan with a little oil (I like to use ghee) to a medium heat.
Take about 2 Tblspn of the batter and add to the red mix. Thin with a little water to make a pancake-like batter. If too thin, add a little more chickpea flour. Make two round pancakes with the batter, not to thin, not to thick and cook until golden on the underside. Flip over and cook the other side until golden. Place on a plate. If keeping warm, place in a very low oven.
Repeat with the other mixes for the other layers, making the pancakes approximately same sizes.
As you make them, place on top of each other, alternating the colours and spreading each layer with your chosen puree, for stacks of about 6. Serve as is, or trim the edges with a sharp knife, to neaten. I serve as is.