This gluten-free chestnut crepe is easy to make ahead. Start the filling at least three hours or up to two days before, make the crepes and freeze if you’d like. It’s a great way to end a meal, fancy up a brunch or even, I kid you not—jazz up an after-school snack. It’s also terrific fall holiday fare—a light way to break fast, and brings in a hint of Italian-Jewish dessert cookery to your table. And btw, it’s always been gluten free. Allow 25 to 35 minutes for the batter to rest before you start to cook.
- 1 cup cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature
- ½ cup chestnut or any full-flavored honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 2 cups (180 grams) chestnut flour
- ½ teaspoon (1.9 grams) kosher salt
- 2½ cups nonfat or 2 percent-fat milk
- 4 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing
- ¼ cup (51 grams) granulated sugar
- ½ cup roasted chestnuts, chopped roughly into small dice (see Kitchen Tip)
- ½ cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
- Make the filling: In a mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, mascarpone, honey, and vanilla, and mix until fully combined and smooth. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 2 days, until firm but spreadable.
- Prepare the crepe batter: Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk the milk, eggs, oil, and sugar together in a separate bowl and gently pour into the flour mixture, whisking constantly, and mix until the flour is smooth and any lumps have dissolved. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the mixture to rest in the refrigerator for about 25 to 35 minutes.
- When the batter has rested, remove it from the refrigerator and position it near the stovetop (it can be used cold or at room temperature). Line a platter with parchment paper and prepare 24 more 10-inch sheets of parchment and have them handy near the stove. Heat an 8-inch nonstick crepe pan or 8-inch nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle about ½ tablespoon of oil into the hot pan and tilt and swirl to coat. Wipe gently with a paper towel. Set the towel aside.
- Stir the batter. Pour about ¼ cup into the pan and tilt and swirl to coat the bottom in a thin, even layer, pouring any extra back into the mixing bowl. The crepe should be much thinner than a pancake—about ⅛-inch thick or less. Cook the crepe for about 1 minute or until the first side browns lightly, then turn with a spatula and cook 45 seconds longer. Transfer to the parchment-lined plate and cover with another piece of parchment paper.
- Regrease the pan by wiping it with the reserved, oiled paper towel. Continue cooking crepes and place them on the parchment until all the batter has been used. At this point, the crepes can be wrapped well in plastic wrap, frozen for up to 1 month and reheated.
- To serve: Defrost or lightly reheat them in the microwave for about 5 seconds. Place a crepe on a plate, spread with a heaping tablespoon of the filling, fold in half and then in half again, and scatter the chestnuts and chocolate on top.
- Chestnuts are easier than ever to enjoy thanks to the availability of pre-roasted chestnuts sold in pouches in gourmet stores and better supermarkets. If you want to roast them yourself, buy fresh chestnuts, preheat the oven to 400°F, cut on “X” in the flat side of each chestnut with a sharp knife. Place the chestnuts, cut side up, on a baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until softened. Remove from the oven and transfer to a kitchen towel. Rub the chestnuts to loosen the skin, and peel. Just a warning—they are very difficult to peel. You can eat them as is or use in your recipe as directed.
- Unlike the batter for traditional flour crepes, this chestnut crepe batter can’t sit for very long. It will begin to ferment, like an Ethiopian injera or Yemenite lachoch flatbreads, and that twangy sour tang isn’t really invited to this dessert party. You simply want the chestnut flour to absorb the liquids a bit—which takes about half an hour; stir it up before pouring the batter.