Pancakes, filled with spinach and cheese sauce

“It’s got spinach in it, that’s healthy.” I suggested tentatively, alighting on a recipe within the pancake section of Delia Smith’s Complete Illustrated Cookery Course, the Classic Edition.

Mr Salford Kitchen peered at the instructions. “Let me get this right – the spinach is first cooked in butter. Then you squeeze out all of the juice and nutrients from it. Then you cook the spinach again in more butter, add cream, wrap it in pancakes cooked in – you guessed it – more butter. Then you smother the entire thing in cheese sauce?” Mr Salford Kitchen quizzed, eyebrows raised.

“Yep, that’s right.” I confirmed.

“I think even the spinach is beyond redemption at this point!” Mr Salford Kitchen sighed.

“It’s ok. We’ll serve it with a salad. That’s definitely healthy!” I conceded.

There is nothing remotely healthy about this recipe, but as soon as you taste it you won’t care – it is utterly delicious and well worth the effort to make. Similar to baked cannelloni, this recipe is a softer, lighter rendition, and just as creamy and moreish. Well, they don’t call Shrove Tuesday Mardi Gras (literally ‘Fat Tuesday’) in French for nothing! Good thing it’s only once a year…


Serves 4

For the cheese sauce:

  • 50g butter
  • 40g plain flour
  • 425ml milk
  • 75ml double cream
  • 40g strong cheddar cheese, grated
  • Salt, freshly milled black pepper and freshly grated nutmeg

For the topping:

  • 40g strong cheddar cheese, grated
  • 25g parmesan, grated


  1. In advance of making the dish, melt the butter in a saucepan for which you have the lid. Wilt the spinach with a pinch of salt in its own steam (do not add water), for about 5 – 7 minutes.
  2. Put the cooked spinach in a colander placed over a plate, so that the excess liquid drains out of it.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 200C / 180C fan / gas mark 6 / 400F.
  4. Lightly grease a shallow baking dish or tin.
  5. Make up the pancakes according to the basic recipe and stack them on a plate (there’s no need to keep them warm).
  6. Then make up an all-in-one cheese sauce: place the butter, flour and milk in a saucepan and whisk over a medium heat until thickened. Stir in the cream, the cheese, and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  7. Press the excess liquid out of the spinach, melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the spinach followed by the cream. Continue to stir, and use a fork to lightly break up the spinach. Cook gently until the spinach has absorbed the cream and has a nice soft consistency. Taste it and season with salt, pepper and a little grated nutmeg.
  8. Place about a tablespoonful of the spinach mixture on each pancake, fold in the ends and roll each one up. Pack them side by side in the baking dish or tin. Then pour over the prepared sauce, sprinkle with the cheddar and parmesan cheeses and bake on a high shelf for 25 minutes or until it’s browned and bubbling. Serve with a leafy green salad.
It’s got salad with it, that’s healthy right…?

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