This is a delicious crepe cake recipe. Layers of cripsy golden crêpes, toasted hazelnut pastry cream all topped with a chocolate sauce and candied hazelnuts. Not for the faint hearted but definitely a wow factor dessert!
First you want to prepare your crêpe batter. It will need time to sit for a few hours or even overnight if you have the time. The key to amazing crêpes is good quality flour and eggs.
Next you want to toast your hazelnuts and make the pastry cream. To toast, just place the nuts on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Give them a shake halfway through for even toasting. I find that the easiest way to get the skin off the nuts after toasting is to take a handful and rub them together between your palms. The skin flakes right off and falls onto the pan below. Just like that!
The pastry cream comes together quickly with your tempered egg yolks/corn-starch mixture, sugar, milk and processed hazelnuts. Spread the cream across the cake evenly to keep a hump from forming in the middle of the cake.
It takes 1/4 cup of pastry cream between layers.
The chocolate icing is a cinch. Melting the chocolate first over a double boiler before pouring heavy cream over it yields a smoother texture without having to re-heat it later to melt any bits of chocolate that didn’t fully melt before.
Once your icing is prepared, it’s as easy as pouring it over the cake, topping it with candied hazelnuts and you’re done. It’s definitely a labour of love, but oh so worth it once you take your first bite. Don’t be intimidated by its complexity. It’s quite simple to make if you break it down into parts. Take your time and enjoy the process. Once the cake is finished and placed on the table, it will be gone before you can blink!
Crêpes (step 1)
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter – melted (I prefer to use clarified butter)
2 1/3 cups whole milk
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/ teaspoons Salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Melt butter. In a large bowl whisk together eggs, milk, salt, flour, sugar and butter until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to 2 days. You can also use a blender to combine the ingredients.
To make crêpes, pour 1/4 cups batter in a pre-heated frying pan which has been brushed with butter. Swirl the batter until the pan is coated evenly. Return to heat until the edges of the crêpe become lacy and lift from the pan. The bottom of the crêpe will have browned slightly. Gently flip and cook the other side for a few seconds. Stack crêpes and let cool until ready for assembly.
Note: I always have to throw the first crêpe away (really, just eat it!) to prime the pan.
Hazelnut Pastry Cream (step 2)
1 1/3 cups toasted hazelnuts (skinned)
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons hazelnut liqueur
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 1/4 cups whole milk
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 egg yolks
5 tablespoons corn-starch
2 tablespoons melted butter (I like to use clarified butter)
In a food processor, blend confectioners’ sugar, liqueur, salt and hazelnuts until the consistency of a damp powder. In a saucepan, heat milk, sugar and hazelnut powder to a simmer. In a separate bowl combine egg yolks and corn-starch until smooth. Temper the eggs using the heated milk mixture. Once the eggs are warm, whisk them into the pot with the milk mixture. Bring the combined egg and milk mixture to a boil until it reaches the consistency of pudding. Remove from heat and stir in melted butter. Transfer to a bowl, cover the direct surface of the pastry crème with plastic wrap so a skin doesn’t form, and refrigerate until completely chilled.
Candied Hazelnuts (step 3)
1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts skinned
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of sea salt
Heat sugar and water until the sugar has melted and the liquid turns light brown. Add salt and hazelnuts. Continue to cook until the colour darkens slightly. Remove from heat, remove nuts from pan and place on parchment paper to cool. They will easily pull from the paper later. Coarsely crush the nuts to sprinkle over the cake after the chocolate icing has been poured over.
Assembly (step 4)
Using a cake stand or cake plate, place one crêpe in the centre. Spoon 1/4 cup of the pastry crème onto the centre of the crêpe and spread evenly to almost the edges of the crêpe. Continue this pattern until you have used all of the crêpes but one. This last crêpe will be the topmost layer before the chocolate icing is poured over.
Chocolate Icing (step 5)
5 ounces semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon hazelnut liqueur
Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Using a double boiler, melt chocolate chips until they are completely soft. In a small saucepan, heat heavy cream and liqueur until simmering. Pour heavy cream over the chocolate and stir until smooth. Let cool until it thickens slightly. Pour over layered crêpe cake slowly and spread to edges if needed. Top cake with crushed candied hazelnuts.Original recipe by Mandy Kelley Jones of Simply French