The Best Nutella Crepe
On a gray day like this, I get nostalgic for Paris. There are so many things I love about that beautiful city, and admittedly, many of them are food-related. A perfectly ripe apricot at a summertime market. A flaky croissant from Poujauran. A still-warm baguette l’ancien from Jean Millet (well worth the wait in line). A glass of bubbly on the terrace at Le Fumoir. A whimsically flavored–and perfectly executed–macaron from Pierre Hermé. Perhaps my favorite thing of all, however, is a 3 Euro takeout treat found all over Paris: a piping hot crêpe oozing with Nutella.
After extensive taste-testing, however, I have realized that a crêpe is not a crêpe. There are the crêpes that are too dry, too soggy, that skimp on the Nutella, or–worst of all–the crêpes that are made in advance and and sit in a limp pile for hours, merely reheated when you order. I’ve found perfection only once, in a nondescript spot on the Boulevard St. Germain, near Cluny. I stumbled upon Crépuscule many years ago while studying at the Sorbonne–one perfectly browned Nutella-filled crêpe from their takeout window was all it took for me to fall hopelessly in love.
A couple of things set their crêpes apart: 1) they brown their crêpes just long enough for them to remain slightly crisp on the outside. Being a sucker for texture, I love the contrast between the crisp exterior and the creamy hazelnut filling. 2) They have a secret ingredient in their batter: sucre vanille. These little packets of vanilla sugar are sold all over France and are often used in baked goods, giving it an extra vanilla boost. I’ve bought vanilla sugar in France to make the recipe at home, but if you can’t find it, you can substitute vanilla extract. 3) They have achieved the perfect Nutella-to-crêpe ratio. As in, they smooth the Nutella evenly over half the crêpe, so you get an equal spread of Nutella on every single bite. Heaven.
I continue to return to my favorite spot every time I return to Paris, and the crêpes are always just as good. Nutella is clearly my favorite filling, but they also have other delicious options: lemon and sugar, rich chocolate sauce, or butter and jam. And on the savory side, they’ve got all manner of hearty gallettes, the traditional Breton pancakes made with buckwheat flour. Ham, cheese, and egg is a classic, but I love their goat cheese and spinach gallette for a light lunch.
Even if you never come to Paris, crêpes are amazingly easy–and cheap–to make at home. You just need a flat-bottomed crêpe pan (ideally) or a thin-bottomed non-stick skillet (you can get one for less that $20 here). There are special wooden sticks sold in France to flip your crêpes, but you can just use a nonstick spatula. (Or, of you get really good, you can flip them in the air like the pros). The key when making crêpes is to blend the batter really well so there are no lumps (a blender is great for this), to let it sit in the fridge an hour before cooking, and to learn the proper pan rotation so the batter spreads thinly and evenly. This will all take a bit of practice, but after you’ve tried it a time or two, you’ll be hooked.
Crêpes are great party food–make a stack as people arrive and lay out a variety of toppings so everyone can assemble their own dessert. Your friends will definitely be impressed that you made them from scratch! Though the recipe below is for dessert crepes, be sure to try my recipe for so you can experiment with savory fillings as well. Bon appetit!
SWEET CRÊPE BATTERMakes about 20 crêpes
1 cup milk
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter, plus more for pan
If you are in need of a crêpe pan, you can get one on the cheap here. My favorite spatula is from Krampouz and will run you about $15, available here.
Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. If you don’t have a blender, whisk the eggs, milk, water, and vanilla together in a bowl until smooth. Add the flour and sugar and whisk to combine. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of the melted butter. Strain the batter into another bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour to allow all the air bubbles to settle.
Heat a small crêpe pan (or nonstick skillet) over medium high heat. Swirl 1 teaspoon of butter in the pan and add a small amount of batter to the pan–swirl the pan so that the batter evenly and thinly coats the bottom. Cook for about 30 seconds (until lightly browned) and flip. Cook for another 10-15 seconds and remove to a plate. Continue cooking the rest of the batter, adding additional butter every third crêpe or so. Place the crêpes on a sheet tray, cover with aluminum foil, and keep warm in a 225 degree F oven until ready to serve. (NOTE: They taste best right out of the pan, so don’t let them sit too long in the oven!)
To serve: Spread each crêpe with your desired topping: Nutella, warm chocolate sauce, jam, butter and sugar, lemon, etc. and then fold in half, then into fourths, like a napkin. Dust with powdered sugar and serve warm.
More desserts from The Yellow Table
|Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies||Gluten-Free Key Lime Pie||Nutella Shortbread Brownies|
My name is Anna Watson Carl. In a word, I love food, I love France, and I love throwing dinner parties. Over the years, I've worked as a personal chef, taught cooking classes, edited cookbooks, written for magazines, tested and styled recipes, and traveled whenever opportunity has arisen. But at heart, there's nothing I love more than sharing a meal with friends around the yellow table.
For me, cooking has always been a way of life. As a (mildly precocious) ten-year old, I planned and prepared a four-course Valentine's dinner for my parents, birthing a lifelong passion for dinner parties. That was just the beginning. I've been cooking ever since, whipping up souffles at a chateau in Burgundy, searing filet mignon for a wealthy client's dog (bizarre, but true), butchering ducks for confit de canard in Paris, baking the night shift in Nashville, and bathing the floor of my NYC apartment in turkey brine...the story continues....more
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