18 May 2008

For You

I think the reason that the first crêpe always comes out poorly is so that the cook has something to nibble on while she's attentively watching over the stove, cooking the rest of the crêpe batter for the hungry masses who have suddenly gathered with big eyes around the kitchen, listening to the sound of sizzling butter and the flap! of a half-finished crêpe hitting the pan. The good crêpes are given away immediately, only to be devoured in the same amount of time, and with only that gimpy first one left for she who stands vigil over the stove.

Fortunately for me, tonight was a night flipping crêpes without the hungry masses. My crêpes got turned into a lovely cake for my seniors, who are graduating in a few weeks, but who have their last class tomorrow. We are going to have a party. I promised to cook for them. Unfortunatly, what I made looks _seriously_ unsubstantial. I may have to pick up something before class tomorrow to make up for it. Maybe some flowers.

Anyway. I made a Gâteau de Crêpes. I know that this has been covered in a few blogs, but what I was _really_ thinking about was this article, which I read a few years ago, and which has floated around in my brain ever since.

Unfortunately for me, I made a few mistakes in the construction of this cake. I was feeling a little miserly about eggs (something about me accidentally slipping one down the drain this morning when I was trying to separate them for muffins, but that's another story), and made two batches of crêpe batter, rather than the required three. What followed was a gâteau de crêpes without the impressive height of the one in the article. I also, in lieu of pastry cream (again, the egg debacle was haunting me), I made cocoa whipped cream. It is delicious. But I'm a little worried that I might get to school tomorrow and the whipped cream will have melted and then... crêpes drowned in chocolate cream. Which would be gross, as well as showcase my ineptitude at properly cooking for my students. I also chose to forgo brûléing the outside. That would have made it gorgeous.


As you can see, it really looks like a bunch of crêpes sandwiching some chocolate cream.

So cross your fingers for me! And next time, I won't skimp on the eggs. Promise.

Gâteau de Crêpes, adapted from The Joy of Cooking/The New York Times

4 tablespoons butter
2 cups whole milk
4 eggs
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
butter for the pan

2 cups heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons confectioners sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
dash vanilla
1/2 cup crème fraîche, optional

1. In a small pan, heat the butter and milk together until the butter is melted, then set aside. In a bowl, mix together the eggs, flour, sugar and salt. Slowly mix in the milk and butter mixture, cover and refrigerate at least two hours.

2. In a large bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form, or to a desired texture. Fold in sugar, cocoa and vanilla. Refrigerate.

3. Heat a large skillet over low-medium heat. The pan should be nice and toasty, but not hot. Otherwise, the crêpes burn before cooking all the way through. Melt a little bit of butter, and swirl it around the pan. Pour about 1/2 cup or so of the crêpe batter into the pan, swirling until it reaches a thin, even consistency. Keep over heat until the bottom browns. Flip over, and cook another minute or two.

Repeat until all crêpe batter is done.

4. When the crêpes have cooled, layer with whipped cream. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

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