Saturday, January 23, 2010

Crepes a la Florentine (almost)

My roommate is the best. We went to watch Julie & Julia last year and she got me Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking for Christmas! We've been wanting to make beef bourgignon but the recipe is not in the Volume 1 cookbook. So instead we are having crepes! A very French dish indeed.

I warn you, this dish is time intensive and not for the beginner chef (not to be confused with an overly-ambitious-yet-still-beginner chef like myself). But if you have a good amount of time and want a (very) yummy dish, try it out. Instead of filling the crepes with a spinach filling and a mushroom filling (the cookbook says to make two separate fillings then add both to the crepe), I filled it with the spinach filling then added some mushrooms and chopped chicken. Also, unless you want to eat 10 crepes each, this recipe makes more than enough crepes for one dish. The crepes freeze well; just lay a sheet of wax paper between each crepe and freeze.

Crepes a la Florentine (almost)
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Crepes (25 to 30 crepes, 6 to 6 1/2 inches in diameter):
1 cup cold water
1 cup cold milk
4 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups flour
4 Tbsp melted butter

1. Pour the liquids, eggs, and salt into a 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.
2. To make crepes, brush an iron crepe pan or skillet lightly with cooking oil. Set over moderately high heat until the pan is just beginning to smoke. Immediately remove from heat and, holding handle of pan in your right hand, 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. (Pour any batter that does not adhere to the pan back into the bowl; judge the amount for your next crepe accordingly.) 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. Lift its edges with a spatula and if the underside is a nice light brown, the crepe is ready for turning. Turn the crepe by using 2 spatulas, your fingers, or toss it over by a flip of the pan. Brown lightly for about 1/2 minute on the other side.

Bechamel with cheese sauce (3 cups):
5 Tbsp flour
4 Tbsp butter
2 3/4 cups boiling milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
Big pinch of nutmeg
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 cup grated Swiss cheese

1. Cook the flour and butter slowly together in a 1/2-quart saucepan for 2 minutes without coloring.
2. Off heat, beat in the boiling milk and seasonings. Boil, stirring, for 1 minute.
3. Reduce to simmer and stir in cream by tablespoons. Remove from heat. Stir in all but two tablespoons of the cheese. Film top of sauce with milk to prevent a skin from forming.

Spinach, Mushroom and Chicken Filling:
3 Tbsp minced onions
2 Tbsp butter
1 bunch blanched chopped spinach
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup chopped cooked chicken

1. Cook the 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 bechamel sauce, mushrooms, and chopped chicken. Cover and simmer slowly for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Making a filled crepe and baking:
1. Turn on the broiler.
2. Pour two spoonfuls of the filling down the center of each crepe. Fold the sides over the filling and place in a buttered baking dish. Use the remaining bechamel sauce and grated Swiss cheese for topping. Set under the broiler for 10-15 minutes or until the edges of the crepe begin to brown.

Yield: 4 filled crepes

1 comment:

  1. This looks Soooo yummy and I wish I can taste right now!!
    Good job.