If you’ve ever been to Europe—or maybe just your local European import store—you’ve come across Nutella, a wonderfully creamy hazelnut chocolate spread. Pietro Ferrero invented Nutella in the 1940s in response to the rationing of chocolate during World War II. Mr. Ferrero used hazelnuts, which are abundant in the Piedmont region of Italy, to extend the chocolate supply, and Europe has never been the same.
Nutella is ubiquitous in Europe, but it’s making the rounds in the U.S., too. You can find it stuffed into croissants or pastries, spread onto crepes or crunchy Euro breakfast toasts, or used as a dip for fruit. Today I’m offering you a Nutella sauce to drizzle over a fresh-from-the-oven crespella, or Italian pancake.
Pancakes for dessert? YES PLEASE! A crespella is somewhere between a crepe and a pancake, but easier to make because all you have to do it is bake it— no fancy flipping or turning required. This baby does all the work for you, right in the oven. Simply invert the cooked crespella on a cutting board, sprinkle with powdered sugar, drizzle with Nutella sauce and top with macerated strawberries, if desired.
Of course, with this crespella’s crisp edges and tender center, it could be served for breakfast or dessert—or both, if you eat the leftovers the next morning like I did.
Oven Crespella with Nutella Sauce
This recipe is adapted from one by Melissa Roberts that appeared in the April 2008 issue of Gourmet. It’s easy enough for a weeknight and beautiful enough for company. Makes 4 to 6 servings. Active time: 15 min; total time: 40 min. For a print copy of this recipe, click here
¾ c. all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
¼ c. granulated sugar, plus 2-3 tablespoons for strawberries if desired
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
½ tsp. salt
1½ c., plus 3 tablespoons whole milk, divided
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
½ c. chocolate-hazelnut spread such as Nutella
Confectioner’s sugar, for garnish
Chopped strawberries, for garnish
Prep strawberries. In a small bowl, combine chopped strawberries and a few tablespoons of sugar. Set aside.
Make batter. Put a 12-inch ovenproof heavy skillet in middle of oven and preheat oven to 450°F. Whisk together flour, eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt, and 1 1/2 cups milk in a bowl.
Bake. Add butter to skillet and heat in oven until golden, about 1 minute. Pour batter into skillet and bake until puffed, set, and golden, 20 to 25 minutes.
Prep Nutella sauce. Meanwhile, whisk together Nutella and remaining 3 tablespoons milk until smooth. Thin sauce with additional milk if necessary.
Garnish and serve. Cool pancake in skillet on a rack 5 minutes (it will sink). Dust with confectioners sugar and drizzle with sauce. Serve with berries.