Happy Bastille Day! For those of you who are unfamiliar with Bastille Day, it’s basically the French equivalent of our Fourth of July. It commemorates the day (the 14th of July) when unhappy French peasants stormed the Bastille (a French fortress/prison), thus beginning the French Revolution. Much like our Independence Day, Bastille Day includes fireworks, parades, and, my personal favorite, food.
Unfortunately, I never got to celebrate Bastille Day when I was in France. I’ve lived or traveled in France almost every month of the year, except July and August. It’s a shame, because I would have loved to celebrate alongside native Frenchmen and women…They have an energy and joie de vivre that infuses every celebration and holiday.
This year, in order to celebrate, I decided to make a classic French dessert: Banana-Nutella crepes. I still remember the Banana-Nutella crepes that I used to order from street vendors in Orléans and Paris. I would watch the crepe vendor swirl the batter on the hot plate with a little wooden mallet, until it spread precariously close to the edge. He would cook the crepe shell to a golden brown, and then slather a generous helping of Nutella on top. The sweet, rich, melted chocolate hazelnut spread combined with the freshly cut bananas was like a dream…I have eaten crepes in the United States, but nothing compares with what I tasted in France.
Throughout the rest of my time in France, crepes became more a more commonplace affair. I no longer sought them out like a tourist, but instead ate them with friends and colleagues. One of the teachers I worked with invited me over to her house for a quick dinner, and I remember her nonchalantly whipping up crepe batter, and then churning out about 30 small pancakes in less than 10 minutes. She set out fillings in little bowls on the table, and instead of folding up crepes into neat packages (like street vendors or restaurants do), we folded ours together haphazardly with our hands. The crepes weren’t as fancy, but they were no less delicious.
For my crepes, I dug out my large, Costco-sized jar of Nutella from the pantry, and bought a few bananas (lately, I’ve had more peaches and berries lying around than bananas). It took only a few minutes to whip up the batter, and even less time to make the pancakes. One of my favorite thing about crepes is how quickly they cook…You don’t have to wait patiently for your dessert; it comes together right before your eyes.
I topped the crepe with a light dusting of powdered sugar…Something that isn’t generally done in France, but I wanted to add an extra touch of sweetness. What can I say…I guess this is the American in me.
So, even though I’m not in France this Quatorze Juillet, who knows what the future holds…And until then, Vive la France!
Banana-Nutella Crepes (crepe recipe found here)
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and the eggs. Gradually add in the milk and water, stirring to combine. Add the salt and butter; beat until smooth.
- Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each crepe. Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly.
- Cook the crepe for about 2 minutes, until the bottom is light brown. Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side.
- Spread about 1-2 tablespoons Nutella across the surface of the crepe. Add desired amount of cut-up banana slices
- Fold crepe as desired and serve hot. Garnish with powdered sugar.