Chocolate-Hazelnut Gianduia Crepes with Hazelnut Ice Cream

Gianduia is a creamy smooth mixture of chocolate and hazelnuts. Gianduia can be made with milk chocolate or dark chocolate. The hazelnut[ flavor is subtle but unforgettable. Almonds can be used instead of or along with hazelnuts to make Gianduia, but hazelnuts are the standard. Gianduia is used in the same way as other chocolates to add a slight variation of flavor. Gianduia originated in Turin, Italy, a capitol of Italian hazelnuts.]

Total Time:
5 hr
Prep:
1 hr
Inactive:
3 hr
Cook:
1 hr

Yield:
4 to 6 servings
Level:
Advanced

Ingredients
  • 12 Sweet Crepes, recipe follows
  • 1 1/4 cups finely chopped bittersweet chocolate (about 6 ounces)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts
  • 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 cup Nocello or other nut-flavored liqueur
  • 6 tablespoons brandy
  • Hazelnut Ice Cream, recipe follows, topping
  • Sweetened whipped cream, alternate topping
  • Cocoa powder, for garnish
  • Sweet Crepes:
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 6 teaspoons melted unsalted butter
  • Hazelnut Ice Cream:
  • 1 cup hazelnuts
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 12 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup hazelnut liqueur, such as Frangelico, or other nut-flavored liqueur, such as Nocello
Directions

On a work surface, sprinkle about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the chocolate and 2 teaspoons of the nuts across each crepe. Fold in half and into quarters to make triangular shapes.

In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and 2 tablespoons of the sugar and cook over medium-high heat, swirling to melt the sugar. Remove the pan from the heat. Add 1/4 cup of the Nocello and 2 tablespoons of the brandy, return to the heat, and tilt the pan to ignite. Return to the heat, add 4 of the folded crepes, and stir to coat evenly with the sauce. Cook over medium heat, swirling, until the crepes are heated through and the chocolate inside is melted, about 2 minutes.

Arrange 2 or 3 crepes on each dessert plate and keep warm. Repeat 2 more times with the remaining ingredients.

To serve, place a scoop of hazelnut ice cream on top of each serving of crepes (alternatively, top with sweetened whipped cream). Sprinkle with the remaining chopped hazelnuts and garnish with cocoa powder. Serve immediately.

Sweet Crepes:

Whisk together the flour, eggs, milk, sugar, salt, and 4 1/2 teaspoons of the butter to form a smooth, thin batter. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before proceeding.

Heat a heavy 6-inch skillet or crepe pan over medium-high heat. When hot, brush with a light coating of the remaining butter. Ladle about 1/4 cup of crepe batter into the pan, tilting the skillet to evenly coat the pan with batter. Cook until golden brown on the bottom and the top begins to look dry, 1 to 2 minutes. Using a spatula, carefully turn the crepe and cook on the second side just until the bottom colors slightly, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely to keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter.

Assemble as directed in Gianduia Crepes recipe, above. (Or, make ahead and when cool, layer between sheets of waxed paper and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to use, up to 3 days.)

Yield: 12 (6-inch) crepes

Hazelnut Ice Cream:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the skins are cracked and the nuts (under the skins) are deeply golden brown. Place the nuts in a towel and rub them to remove most of the skins. Cool completely.

Combine the cream and 1 cup of the milk in a large heavy saucepan. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the cream mixture, and add the bean and the hazelnuts. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat.

Whisk the yolks and sugar in a medium bowl. In a slow, steady stream, whisk 1 cup of the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture. Gradually whisk the egg mixture back into the saucepan. Stir constantly over medium-low heat until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon and reaches 170 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a heatproof medium bowl.

Discard the vanilla bean, and rinse the nuts in the strainer under cold running water; pat dry on paper towels. On a work surface, crush the nuts with a meat mallet or rolling pin, and stir into the custard. Stir in the remaining 1 cup milk and the liqueur. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap against the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 2 hours.

Pour the chilled custard into an ice cream machine. Churn according to the manufacturer's instructions. Pack into an airtight container and freeze until ready to serve.

Yield: 1 1/2 quarts


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