Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Crepes from Cooking for Geeks

I've been going through several cookbooks, looking for new - good - recipes to try. One I got as an eGalley from NetGalley is Cooking for Geeks. It's coming out August 3rd. I'll have a full review of the cookbook once I finish reading it (there's more text than recipes, but as it's fascinating text I don't mind).

The recipe I tried is crepes. I've never made crepes, despite their relative simplicity and ability to adapt to the occasion. Now, though the author, Jeff Potter, emphasizes reading the recipe through before starting, I didn't. Which caused problems when I got to the actual directions. So, the recipe, as printed in the book (*actually it's pretty long so I'll condense it after the ingredients and the 'let rest' segment I messed up).

1-2-3 Crepes
Whisk or puree untilentirely mixed, about 30 seconds:

1 cup (250g) milk (preferably whole milk)
2 medium (70g) eggs
1/3 cup (40g) flour (all-purpose)
pinch of salt

Let rest for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, so that the gluten in the flour has the chane to thicken the batter. (Stash the batter in the fridge if you're going to leave it for more than half an hour.)

- ...expect to completely screw up the first few you make...
Butter: Grab a cold stick of butter with the wrapper partially pulled back, and using the wrapped part as a handle, spread a small amount of butter around the pan.
Wipe down: Use a paper towel to thin out the butter over the surface of the pan, wiping up almost all of it (and on repeats, any crumbs left behind from the previous crepe). The pan should look almost dry; you want a super-thin coating of butter, not noticeable streaks
Pour: Pour in the batter while swirling the pan: pour about 1/4 cup /60ml of batter into a 10"/25 cm pan, adjusting as necessary...
Flip: Wait until the crepe begins to brown. ... Once the crepe has begun to brown around the edges, use a silicone spatula... to push down the edge all around the circumference. This will release the edge of the crepe so that it lifts off the pan. Carefully grab that little edge to flip the crepe with both hands.
Flip again: Let the crepe cook on the second side for half a minute or so, until it's cooked. The first side should come out a uniformly brown tone, so flip the crepe again before adding the fillings. This will leave the better-looking side on the outside of the finished crepe.

Well, the author was right on that first point. My first crepe looked pretty horrible.
But first, my adjustments and what that meant for the crepes. Instead of all-purpose I used whole wheat flour. I also 'messed up' my packaged hollandaise sauce (for the better) by adding all but half a cup of my remaining milk. So, while the sauce was very creamy, the crepe batter ended up a mix of half milk and half water. Which probably explains why the half hour I letit stand didn'tthicken the batter as much as I expected.

Oddly enough, this didn't cause any problems. Yes, the batter was thin, but it worked. Instead of using butter I used oil on the pan, and after using too little for the first crepe and trying to turn it too soon, I added more oil and waited until I could swish the crepe around the pan (indicating the bottom was cooked) before I tried to flip the rest.
The recipe gave 4 large crepes. I filled two with sauteed asparagus and mushrooms, topped with the hollandaise sauce, and the other two with a nutella/milk cream spread and bananas.

Guess which one tasted better?

The cookbook gave some ideas for fillings, but I picked the meal one from a website, and the desert one from memories of crepes I'd had in the past.


Jeff Potter said...

Awww... thanks! This made me smile. And I'm glad to hear—and see!—that your first batch of crepes were fun.

Happy Cooking,
Jeff Potter

p.s. The name "1-2-3 crepes" comes from 1 cup milk, 2 eggs, 1/3rd cup flour. Strictly speaking, I should have titled it "1-2-1/3 crepes," but that doesn't quite have the same ring. But now you'll always remember the crepe recipe!

Jessica Strider said...

Ah, yes, that would make remembering the recipe easier. The crepes were fun, and tasty. I made white bean garlic soup tonight. It turned out really well. I'd love to try the s'mores ice cream but I'm having trouble finding liquid smoke. We'll see. I'm currently reading chapter 2 of the cookbook. Every time I think, 'I don't need to read this, I know it already' I come across something I didn't know. It's a great cookbook. Once I'm through it I'll do a full review.

Jeff Potter said...

Thanks for the compliment! Can't wait to read your review.

Mmm... white bean and garlic soup!

Happy Cooking,
Jeff Potter