Saturday, January 30, 2010

Crepe Off, Part I

Welcome to the Crepe Off, fine readers & contributors! First up on our list this weekend are Julia's entree crepes. More specifically, Gateau de Crepes a la Florentine. (I don't know how to do accents and whatnot, so just imagine that they're there.)

If you don't have counter space right next to your stove, then I recommend the TV tray fix. By the last crepe, I had a nice little system going on. The crepes themselves are quite tasty all rolled up by themselves.

1 cup cold water
1 cup cold milk
4 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
4 Tb melted butter
A rubber scraper (don't you love that she includes equipment in the ingredient list?)
An iron skillet or crepe pan with 6-7-inch bottom diameter
cooking oil or bacon fat

1. Put the liquids, eggs, & salt into the blender jar. Add the flour, then the butter. Cover and blend at top speed for 1 minute. If bits of flour adhere to sides of jar, dislodge with a rubber scraper and blend for 2 to 3 seconds more. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. [I did mine the night before.]

2. Rub the skillet with the bacon fat or brush it lightly with oil. Set over moderately high heat until the pan is just beginning to smoke.

3. Immediately remove from heat and, holding handle of pan in your right hand [presumably she means your dominant hand -- what a right-handist], pour with your left hand a scant 1/4 cup of batter into the middle of the pan. Quickly tilt the pan in all directions to run the batter all over the bottom of the pan in a thin film. This whole operation takes but 2 or 3 seconds.

4. Return the pan to heat for 60 to 80 seconds. Then jerk and toss pan sharply back and forth and up and down to loosen the crepe. [I don't find that part necessary. I just lift and flip with my hands.] Lift its edges with a spatula & if the under side is a nice light brown, the crepe is ready for turning.

You can't really tell from this picture, but I wanted to show all the pots and pans that are required to cook out of this cookbook. No one-pot cooking for Julia!

Sauce Mornay (bechamel with cheese)
5 Tb flour
4 Tb butter

Cook the flour and butter slowly together in the saucepan for 2 minutes without coloring.

2 3/4 boiling milk (I just realized I accidentally used 2 1/4 cups, and it didn't make a difference)
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
Big pinch of nutmeg

Off heat, beat in the boiling milk and seasonings. Boil, stirring, for one minute.

1/4 cup whipping cream
1 cup coarsley grated Swiss cheese (I used less than a cup of goat cheese)

Reduce to simmer and stir in teh cream by tablespoons. Sauce should be thick enough to coat the spoon fairly heavily. Remove from heat and correct seasoning. Stir in all but two tablespoons of the cheese. Film top of sauce with milk to prevent a skin from forming.

Spinach filling
1 Tb minced shallots or green onions (I used green onions)
2 Tb butter
1 1/2 cups blanched, chopped spinach (I used baby spinach, so no chopping)
1/4 tsp salt

Cook the shallots or onions in butter for a moment in an enameled saucepan. Add spinach and salt, and stir over moderately high heat for 2 to 3 minutes to evaporate moisture. Stir in 1/2 to 2/3 cup of the cheese sauce. Cover and simmer slowly for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Correct seasoning and set aside.

Cheese & mushroom filling
1 cup cottage cheese or 8 oz cream cheese (I used cream cheese)
Salt & pepper
1 egg

Mash the cheese in a mixing bowl with the seasonings. Beat in 1/3 to 1/2 cup of cheese, and the egg.

1/4 pound minced mushrooms (I used 8 oz of baby bellas)
1 Tb minced shallots or green onions
1 Tb butter
1/2 Tb oil

Saute the mushrooms and shallots in butter and oil for 5 to 6 minutes in a skillet. Stir them into the cheese mixture, and correct seasoning.

Forming the mound
A round baking dish about 9 inches in diameter and 1.5 inches deep (I used an 8 inch square)
3 Tb grated cheese
1/2 Tb butter

Butter the baking dish, and center a crepe in the bottom. Spread it with a layer of cheese and mushroom filling. Press a crepe on top and spread it with a layer of spinach filling. Continue with alternating layers of crepes and filling, ending with a crepe. Pour the remaining cheese sauce over the top and sides of the mound. Sprinkle with the 3 tablespoons of cheese and dot with 3 or 4 pea-sized bits of butter.

Bake 25-30 minutes in upper-third of 350-degree oven to heat thoroughly and brown the top lightly. (Mine never browned, but it still tasted good!) To serve, cut into pie-shaped wedges.

Voila! The end product was delightfully delectable. Every part of it was artery-clogging deliciousness. I am highly incredulous that other crepes will be able to compete in this crepe off. We shall see.


  1. That looks incredible (and incredibly good for you :) I don't think my crepes will even compare. Way to show me up!

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  3. That looks tasty! With so many steps, I don't think the crepes would have lasted for the filling to be completed at my house.

    I might make crepes for an afternoon snack. Cinnamon and sugar maybe jelly and whipped cream for toppings if I get adventurous.

  4. I actually made the crepes last. Batter first, fillings next, then crepes, then construction.