Lentils add surprising little polka dots of color to these confetti crepes filled with creamy chocolate lentil creme, toasted hazelnuts, and fresh sweet pears. They're lovely for a spring (or Mother's Day) brunch or a decadent dessert. Note: the amazing chocolate lentil creme is delicious on toast and makes a great cake filling, too. (Skip to recipe.)
Are you looking for a luxurious, decadent dessert for your next dinner party or lazy Sunday brunch? Look no further.
It's hard to believe lentils can be the base for a dessert so sinfully smooth and chocolatey, and toothsome and crunchy and fresh, all at the same time.
Think creamy Nutella with a hit of something lush and mysterious, wrapped in a coat that's polka-dotted and fun!
Ever since I first tasted crepes with Nutella from the street stands in Paris five years ago, that is my favourite way to eat these delicate little pancakes. Chocolate, hazelnuts and lacy crepes are one of those simple combinations that can't be improved upon - unless you add a few slivers of perfectly ripened pears.
Earthy black lentils are the perfect pairing with dark chocolate, smoothing and mellowing the richness of the cacao's intensity. Add the crunch of golden toasted hazelnuts and the crisp freshness of juicy pears - you've got yourself an unforgettable dessert. And since there's so much lentil goodness hidden in the smooth creme, these confetti crepes make a lovely brunch dish. You'll never know you're eating all that nutrition as you indulge in your ultimate chocolate fix, lazily sipping a good espresso latte and chatting with friends.
We've been lentilling it a lot at our house lately, and loving all the cool ways I've been discovering to use our wonderful Canadian-grown lentils.
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Kitchen Frau Notes: The beauty of this recipe is that all the components can be prepared the day before you plan to serve it, making it easy to just assemble everything last minute for guests. I even make the crepes the day before and keep them covered with plastic wrap on the counter. Any unused portions can be kept in the fridge for 4 to 5 days and enjoyed for breakfast or snacks. Any leftover chocolate lentil creme is delicious slathered on toast or just about anything else. The only thing you need to do last minute is to whip the cream for the garnish (or use a purchased real whipped cream aerosol can - I won't tell).
Confetti Crepes with Chocolate Lentil Creme, Toasted Hazelnuts and Fresh Pears
- ½ cup (110gms) black beluga lentils
- 2 cups (480ml) water
- 2 tablespoons sugar
for the crepes:
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (270ml) milk
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) melted butter or oil
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup (240ml) all purpose flour (or for gluten-free crepes: ½ cup/75gms millet flour, ⅓ cup/50gms sweet rice flour, ¼ cup/35gms tapioca starch)
- ½ cup (120ml) cooked, sweetened black beluga lentils - from above
- a small amount of butter or coconut oil for frying the crepes
for the chocolate lentil creme:
- 1 cup (170gms) good quality dark chocolate chunks or chips, or chopped dark chocolate
- ¾ cup (180ml) whipping cream
- ¼ cup (50gms) lightly packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- the remaining cooked, sweetened black beluga lentils from above (about 1 cup/240ml)
to fill and garnish crepes:
- ¾ cup (100gms) raw hazelnuts
- ½ cup (120ml) whipping cream, whipped
- 2 ripe, juicy pears
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
To cook the lentils: Place the lentils, water, and 2 tablespoons sugar into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover the saucepan and simmer until the lentils are tender, but not mushy, about 40 to 45 minutes. When they are cooked, drain them in a sieve, and spread them on a plate to cool. Remove ½ cup of the cooked lentils for the crepe batter, and reserve the rest of them (there should be about 1 cup/240ml) for the chocolate lentil creme.
To make the crepe batter: While the lentils are cooking, make the crepe batter. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk. Add the milk, salt, butter or oil, and vanilla. Whisk until well combined. Add the flour (or gluten-free mixture of flours) and whisk until smooth. Alternatively, you can blend all these ingredients in a blender until smooth.
Stir in the lentils, and leave the batter to sit for at least a half hour, up to 2 or 3 hours. This allows the flour to fully absorb the liquid, thickens it up slightly, and allows the air bubbles to rise up and escape, making the finished crepes smoother.
To toast the hazelnuts: While the crepe batter is resting, place the hazelnuts in a small pie plate or baking tin. Place them in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until you can smell their nutty aroma, and you can see that several of the skins have started to split. Remove the pan from the oven, and dump the toasted hazelnuts onto a clean kitchen towel. Pull the sides of the towel up over the nuts, and rub them vigorously with the towel. This will remove most of the skins, which can be slightly bitter, but don't worry if they don't all come off. Allow the nuts to cool, remove them from the towel (shake out and discard the skins), and place the hazelnuts on a cutting board. Chop them coarsely, then set them aside for when you assemble the crepes.
To cook the crepes: Once the crepe batter has rested, heat a 10-inch/25cm non-stick or heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add a small amount of butter or coconut oil - about a half teaspoon). Once it begins to sizzle, the pan is hot enough for the crepes. Use a ¼-cup/60ml measuring scoop, or small ladle, to pour ¼ cup of crepe batter into the hot pan. Quickly pick up the pan and tilt it, rotating slowly so that the batter spreads around in an even sheet to make a round even crepe about 7½-inch/19cm in diameter.
Cook the crepe until the edges start to release from the pan, and when you lift the edges and peak underneath it you can see that it is a lovely golden brown, and the top is dry. Flip it over with a spatula, and cook the second side exactly 30 seconds, then remove it to a plate. You don't want brown spots on the second side to interfere with the fun polka-dot effect of the lentils. Repeat with the remaining batter. The first crepe will invariably be a dud. Feed it to the dog, or exercise cook's right to gobble it down. You should have 8 beautiful crepes after that.
To make the Chocolate Lentil Creme: Heat the ¾ cup whipping cream and the brown sugar in a small saucepan or the microwave until it is hot, but not boiling. Place the chocolate chunks into a blender, pour on the hot cream, and process for about 5 seconds, until the cream has melted the chocolate and it is smooth. Add the vanilla and the remaining cooked black lentils. Process until it is a smooth puree. Scrape it into a container, cover with a lid or plastic wrap, and refrigerate until thickened and cold, several hours or overnight. It can even be made several days ahead. You will have about 2 cups (480ml) chocolate lentil creme.
To assemble the crepes: Lay each crepe on a plate or cutting board with the lentil polka-dotted side down. Spread a scant ¼ cup of the chocolate lentil creme around on the crepe, leaving a 1 inch/2cm border.
Scatter about 1 tablespoon chopped hazelnuts over the chocolate lentil creme. Slice a quarter of a pear thinly, and lay the slices over the chocolate, reserving a couple slivers to decorate the finished crepes.
Roll up the crepe, using your fingers to tuck in the ingredients as you roll. Repeat with the remaining crepes. Cut them in half diagonally and arrange the two halves on a plate, or leave them whole. Garnish with whipped cream, another sprinkle of chopped hazelnuts, and the reserved slivers of pear.
Makes 8 delicious stuffed crepes, serving 8 as a decadent dessert, or 4 as an elegant and unusual brunch.
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