Gundel crêpes or Gundel palacsinta is one of the culinary trademarks of Hungary. This signature dish is filled with creamy walnuts, rum infused raisins and served with velvety dark chocolate sauce dressing. The original recipe is a well-kept secret of the famous Gundel Restaurant.
In the restaurant many people request to flambé the chocolate sauce but this is more like a theatrical element which was a flamboyant fashion in the 60’s and 70’s and till today remained part of the experience. According to the Gundels’ cookbook the rum taste should be intense in the sauce and the spirit should not be burned.
Károly Gundel elevated the traditional Hungarian cuisine to a new level with sophistication and elegance. He transformed Hungarian gastronomy but kept the character of it. I was looking for inspiration in my Hungarian roots and made the plant-based version of the Gundel pancake. Egg-free and dairy-free.
Tips for making the pancakes:
- Hungarian pancakes usually made with soda water but sparkling water is fine too. It makes the dough more airy and light. Milk makes it creamy and smooth.
- However tempting to make it sweeter but be careful as sugar makes the pancakes stick to the pan.
- Set the dough aside for a minimum of half, but preferably for an hour. This is important because the flour swells from the absorbed liquid.
- Before baking add oil to the dough and mix well. Whether you are baking a pancake in a non-stick or iron pan the oil in the dough will suffice. Dip the ladle well when transferring to the pan and do not take it from the top.
- If you can’t flip them and they tear the dough is too thin. Add few tablespoon flour. If is too thick add more soda.
- To keep them warm cover them with bigger deep bowl.
About the walnut filling:
- For the walnut filling I prefer to toast the whole walnuts. It makes them more aromatic and easier to grind. Half of the walnuts are ground into fine particles and the rest finely chopped.-
- Do not worry about the rum it will not get you drunk. The alcohol will mostly evaporate during the cooking.
- It is optional but candied orange can be also added to the mixture. I left this out because I found only in single use plastic packed ones in the supermarket. Time to make my own from scratch. Added to bucketlist.
- Use only organic and unwaxed lemons and oranges for the zest. We do not need those nasty chemicals.
- You can experiment with plant-based cream. My preference is oat.
That drunkie bitter chocolate sauce:
- The sauce has ideally bitter taste. Not too sweet as the filling has enough. I like to use good quality dark chocolate which is at least 85% cocoa.
- If the sauce is too thick add a bit more milk or rum if you want to channel you inner pirate. I used oat milk for this.
Fill the crêpes with walnut cream. Roll them up. I like to cut the ends but it’s only question of aesthetics. I like to pop them to the oven to warm them up together. Pour over with dark chocolate sauce and serve. If you want to show off flambé.
Enjoy and share your experience in comment!
Crêpes: Nut Filling: Dark Chocolate Sauce: Crêpes: Nut Filling: Dark Chocolate Sauce: Serving:
Dark Chocolate Sauce:
Dark Chocolate Sauce: