Saturday, March 27, 2010

Cooking Class Crepes

Maybe it's just me, but I all ways thought of crepes as a out of reach dish that elegant people at Sunday brunch enjoyed, (dreamy far away look) fancy crepes served stiffly on fine china to tables draped in crisp linen by an alert waiter named Pierre.  I am not saying that his name has to be could be Bill.

Why did I choose crepes for my cooking class today? Because...I learned that these delicious paper thin pancakes are easy  (unless I'm cooking them in front of 50 people, that's when I can't turn one out to save my life). Lucky I have my fold in the pan method, roll it out the pan like a carpet filling tucked in the middle instead of trying to flip and cook both sides. Whew!

Flash back to 2001...  I had the opportunity to assist Graham Kerr aka "Galloping Gourmet" in a cooking show (surprise, he was doing a demo on crepes). My job was to make a stack of the delicate crepes for his show, (along with shopping, pulling the equipment, mise, assisting and doing the dishes).

Not feeling fully comfortable at my crepe skills, I made about a trillion for practice. Here's the funny part. In my notes, Mr. Kerr had said "some crepes with sage leaves", I took that to mean, crepe's with leaves pressed in the batter when cooked. I can't tell you how many "takes" it took to get a few sage leaf crepes right, but when he slapped his knee and laughed, I knew I misunderstood! Turns out I was just to put the sage leaves on the side, so he could show a savory crepe filling option.

I like to use Julia Child's recipe it is my all time favorite it is rich and buttery tasting and well worth the binge. In case you are stronger then I, and can resist the Julia's version Julia's crepe recipe can be lightened by using non fat milk, 4 egg whites,  sugar substitute and canola oil, but really? At only 120 calories they are an elegant as they are in reach.

To fill the crepes in cooking class today, I made "fresh cheese" which is yogurt strained for 10 or more hours. I mixed the 2/3 cup of cheese with a teaspoon of orange marmalade and a pinch of salt. I also caramelized some strawberries, by cooking them very quickly in a hot pan. Finally the sauce was made with orange juice and lavender reduced to a syrup (strain out lavender before serving) Topped with fresh berries and powder sugar. Way tasty.

Note:For a savory crepe, leave out the sugar but add a 1/4 t of salt and a tablespoon of finely chopped herbs.

Go make some crepes because the delicate thin pancakes are perfect wrappers for any sweet or savory fillings. Wrapped in its tender flexible, and even filled the most healthy ingredients, "go gourmet" (by the way, Graham Kerr liked the sage crepes and used them in the show!) Though Pierre...or Bill might think my crepes need work, I feel elegant and can enjoy them all the same.

Crepes Julia

¾ cup milk
¾ cup cold water
3 egg yolk
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 cup flour
5 tablespoons melted butter

Place ingredients in a blender jar in the order in which they are listed. Cover and blend at top speed for 1 minute. If bits of flour adhere to side of jar, dislodge with a rubber scraper and blend 3 seconds more. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

In a heated 6 inch non stick pan brushed with olive oil, pour in 2 tablespoons crepe batter. Swirl to coat bottom of pan. Allow batter to set and when sides begin to slightly curl turn the crepe over and cook the other side 15-20 seconds turn out on a plate. Repeat until remaining batter is finished.

Another method: is to cook only one side, while in the pan add the filling to one side. Using a spatula, lift side of crepe over the filling and roll up out of the pan onto a plate.

Note: The first crepe rarely comes out.


Anonymous said...

I love crepes and yes the first crepe is the eating one while cooking the rest.. I learned with a Swedish recipe and in a square pan 2 generations old.. that is the only way I know how to make them and they are always tasty.. we fill them with lignon berry or gooseberry jam... so good.

Shaile's Edible Art said...

I posted the comment but it didn't post my name