The decorative nuts are dipped in caramelized sugar and hung in bat fashion — upside down — so the sugar streams and hardens into the best candy on the block.
Yield: Serves 14 to 16
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus melted for pan
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups whole milk, room temperature
6 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Bring 1/4 cup water to a rolling boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, whisking to combine after each addition. Remove from heat; stir in chocolate until completely melted. Set aside.
Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together milk, eggs, and vanilla in another medium bowl. Gradually add milk mixture to flour mixture, whisking until smooth. Add chocolate-butter mixture, whisking until smooth. Pour through a fine sieve into an airtight container; discard lumps. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
Lightly coat an 8-inch crepe pan or nonstick skillet with melted butter. Heat over medium heat until just starting to smoke. Remove pan from heat; pour about 2 tablespoons batter into pan, swirling to cover bottom. Reduce heat to medium-low; return pan to heat. Cook, flipping once, until edges are golden and center is dry, about 30 seconds per side.
Slide crepe onto a plate. Repeat process with remaining batter, coating pan with butter as needed. Crepes can be refrigerated, covered, up to 1 day.
Place a crepe on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Spread with about 3 tablespoons hazelnut filling. Top with another crepe. Continue layering with hazelnut filling and crepes, using about 32 crepes and ending with a crepe on top. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.
Spoon 1/2 cup glaze on top of the cake, spreading to edges. Spread remaining glaze around sides of cake, coating completely. Refrigerate until glaze is firm and set, about 20 minutes. Cake can be refrigerated up to 3 days. Garnish with toasted and candied hazelnuts.
Martha Stewart Living, January 2006