It’s been a crazy Sunday. Between babysitting and baking, I’ve been on my feet all day, running to and fro, back and forth, up and down, round and round. I’m tired. I’m feeling old and broken.
Who needs the gym…? Not me, that’s who.
I mean, it’s not like I only went once in January and have yet to make the effort in February or anything. Not like the scales are groaning at the sight of me or the buttons on my jeans are constantly judging me… Ha! I’ll have a salad for lunch tomorrow.
Last week Mr Man and I went out for a double date lunch and caught up with some good friends of ours. I received a belated birthday present, which included a pancake maker. Since then, my brain has been whirring with ideas on what to make: traditional crepes with sugar and lemon? Savoury crepes with mushrooms and cheese? American style loaded with maple syrup?
Nope, too simple. Too obvious.
Instead, I opted for this monstrosity.
Okay so yeah, I agree, it’s hardly exactly a refined structure and it’s not the prettiest cake and oh, the chocolate sauce looks a little, um, whack?
I’m blaming the aforementioned babysitting.
But when you cut yourself a little slice, all is forgiven.
Layers and layers and layers of golden brown crepes, sandwiching delightful hazelnut cream, topped with a generous serving of semi-dark chocolate sauce and crunchy, sweet hazelnut praline.
Pancake day sorted?
I think so.
Hazelnut Cream Filling
- 200g hazelnuts toasted and blanched
- 150g icing sugar
- 3 tablespoons hazelnut syrup
- pinch of salt
- 6 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons cornflour
- 300ml double cream
- 550ml whole milk
- 65g caster sugar
- 100g melted butter, cooled to room temperature
- 1l whole milk
- 5 eggs
- 1 tablespoon oof vanilla extract
- 500g plain flour
- 3 tablespoons of caster sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 50g hazelnuts
- 200g granulated sugar
- 60ml water
- Small pinch of salt
- 100g dark chocolate
- 100g milk chocolate
- 100ml double cream
- 1 tablespoon hazelnut syrup
- Start on the hazelnut cream filling by placing the hazelnuts into a food processor and blending until it first turns into a powder then starts clumping together. Be careful to stop at this point else you’ll end up with a nut butter.
- Add the double cream, whole milk and blended hazelnuts to a saucepan, stir and heat on medium until the mixture is hot but not yet bubbling / boiling.
- Meanwhile, whisk the yolks with the sugars, salt and cornflour.
- Slowly drizzle a ladle of the hot nut milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking all the while to temper the eggs. Repeat with another ladle full.
- Pour the tempered egg mix into the saucepan, whisking vigorously to avoid any potential scrambling.
- Cook for a few mins until the mixture is heated right through and begins to thicken up.
- Transfer to a bowl, place in a larger bowl filled with ice and a little cold water like an ice bath. Stir regularly to avoid a skin forming.
- After 10mins, add the hazelnut syrup and stir before covering with clingfilm pressed up to the surface of the cream and place in the fridge to cool down completely.
- Next, start on the hazelnut praline, add the sugar, salt and water to a heavy bottomed saucepan and heat on medium until the sugar melts, swirling the pan every few mins. Once sauce reaches an amber colour, turn off the gas.
- Skewer a few hazelnuts and dip into the caramel before placing the end of the skewer under a plate or heavy object on the worktop, meaning the nut and caramel is hanging to cool and preserves it’s ‘tail’. As it cools it will retain the shape, these are what I used for the middle decor.
- Toss the rest of the nuts into the caramel and swirl to combine. Pour out the mixture onto baking parchment and leave to cool. Once done you can break the hazelnut praline into smaller chunks using the end of a rolling pin.
- Meanwhile, start on your crepe batter by combining the dry ingredients and sieving, and the wet ingredients and whisking, before adding the dry ingredients to the wet and whisking thoroughly.
- If you have a crepe machine, then follow manufacturer’s instructions else add a ladle of batter to a slightly buttered frying pan and swirl to the edges of the pan and cook for approx 1 min (or until golden) before flipping the crepe and cooking for a further 30 seconds or so.
- Pile the crepes up on a plate (don’t worry, they won’t stick to each other) as you make them and let them cool down to room temperature before assembling your cake.
- To assemble, place the first crepe on a cake board and add two tablespoons of the hazelnut cream before spreading it out across the pancake with the back of the spoon. Repeat until you run out of crepes and or pastry cream. I had a fair bit of excess pastry cream but I’m sure I’ll find a use for it.
- Cover and place in the fridge while you make the sauce. Break up the chocolate into chunks and pop it into a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream in the microwave until hot but not boiling. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let it sit for a few mins before stirring and adding the hazelnut syrup. Cool to room temperature.
- Bring the pancake tower out of the fridge, pour over the chocolate sauce, and decorate the hazelnut praline as desired.