Early last evening, I stepped beyond my kitchen comfort zone when I set out to replicate this divine dessert from Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Kitchen Expedition (1997).
I can't remember the last time I attempted to make crêpes-if ever! I also haven't owned any non-stick cookware in decades, so made-do with our well-seasoned iron skillets. And, when it came time to 'pipe' whipped cream with a pastry bag, the paper pastry bags from a long-forgotten corner of a kitchen cupboard didn't quite measure up.
That said, I thoroughly enjoyed the results, during today's lunch with a couple of writing friends. With or without these chocolate crêpes, the sauce is absolutely AMAZING, too. Set aside several hours to put this dessert together and then savor every last bite.
Chocolate Crêpes with Pecan-Banana Sauce
(‘Voice of Experience’) notes reflect my experience when making a recipe
Special equipment needed
8” non-stick or well-seasoned frying pan
12” non-stick or well-seasoned frying pan
A pastry bag fitted with a medium-size star tip (V.O.E. – my paper pastry bag didn’t work well, so I made small, whipped cream dollops with a table knife)
¾ cup all-purpose flour ½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ cup buckwheat flour ¼ teaspoon salt
(a gluten-free flour!)
4 tablespoons unsweetened 2 cups milk
cocoa powder 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons sugar 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
6 tablespoons unsalted butter 4 medium-size bananas, peeled
1 ½ cups dark brown sugar and sliced, about 3 cups
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (use bananas that still have a little
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg green on the tips)
1 tablespoon vanilla 1 ½ cups toasted pecans
1 cup heavy cream ¼ cup Kahlua (V.O.E. – I made a
2 ounces butterscotch chips non-alcoholic substitute by combining
1/8 cup heavy cream and 1/8 cup
coffee balsamic vinegar)
Toast the nuts (V.O.E.) Set the oven at 350 degrees. Cover the bottom of a small baking pan with parchment paper and spread the nuts evenly across the paper. Bake/toast for 7 to 10 minutes, watching the nuts closely so they don’t burn. Allow to cool. If desired, chop them coarsely in a food processor. Set aside. I substituted walnuts for pecans.
Make the crêpes Combine the flours, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and whisk together for about 1 minute until well blended (or use the paddle attachment for a standing mixer). Add the milk, oil, and eggs and whisk until the batter is well combined, about 5 minutes.
Preheat an 8-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat for 4 minutes. Pour ¼ cup batter into the skillet, tilting the pan to distribute the batter evenly and come slightly up the sides of the pan. Cook until the edges of the crêpe become slightly crisp, about 2 minutes. Then with a plastic spatula or your fingers, turn the crêpe over and cook for 1 minutes. Transfer the cooked crêpe to a sheet pan (it’s ok to stack them) and set aside. Repeat the process, wiping or scraping the spatula clean between uses, until you have made 12 crêpes. (V.O.E. – These instructions are spot-on. Follow them closely!)
Make the sauce In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, over high heat, combine the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. Whisk constantly until the butter melts and combines with the brown sugar, then whisk in the cream. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly to avoid burning, then reduce the heat to medium and add the butterscotch chips. Whisk until the chips melt, then reduce the heat to low, add the bananas and stir gently for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the toasted nuts and Kahlua. Set aside to cool, to room temperature. (V.O.E. – These instructions are also spot-on.)
Whip the cream in an electric mixer at medium-high speed until it forms still peaks. Place the whipped cream in a pastry bag fitted with a medium-size star tip.
Place one crêpe on a large serving plate. Pipe a circle of whipped cream around the edge of the crêpe and spread ¼ cup of sauce inside the whipped cream circle. Top with another crêpe and repeat the process until you have 6 layers. Repeat the process to create another 6-layer stack. Cut each stack into 4 quarters to make 8 desserts (V.O.E. This is a very rich dessert from which you can easily get at least 12 servings). Serve each quarter on a dessert plate and garnish with a rosette of whipped cream, if desired.
Looking at this cookbook again reminded me of the day-a couple of decades ago-when Prudhomme gave me a signed copy as we sampled potential dishes for his new restaurant in a Kansas City casino. He was warm, welcoming and very personable.
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