My friend and I decided to go the untraditional route this past Thanksgiving by hosting a "Julia Child French Thanksgiving."
All of the recipes were from Julia Child's cookbook, and I opted to make the crepes.
I was a bit naive about the complexity of making crepes when I decided to tackle this recipe. Apparently, they're extremely difficult because it's damn near impossible not to burn the delicately thin dough. As Julie Powell (the blogger who's story was turned into the movie Julie & Julia) once said:
There’s a rule of thumb that the first time you make crepes it’s going to be an unmitigated disaster. But if you keep on keeping on, you’ll eventually get the hang of it. Don’t get discouraged. Just consider the first (or 12th) crepe as a test-run.
Well that's comforting. So I bought my ingredients with an expectation to fail. Miserably. But thanks to Julia's impeccable recipe and directions, I got it perfect on the first try. And you can to!
Julia Child Crepes
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 cup cold milk4 eggs
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups flour (scooped and leveled)
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- Cooking oil (for greasing pan)
Put the liquids, eggs and salt into a blender, then 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.
Note: The batter should be a very light cream, just thick enough to coat a wooden spoon. If, after making your first crepe, it seems too heavy, beat in a bit of water, a spoonful at a time. Your crepe should be about 1/16 inch thick.
Brush the skillet very lightly with oil. Set over moderately high heat until the pan is just beginning to smoke. Immediately remove from heat and pour a 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 your bowl.)
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. If the underside is a nice light brown, the crepe is ready for turning.
Turn the crepe by using 2 spatulas; or grasp the edges nearest you in your fingers and sweep it up toward you and over again into the pan in a reverse circle; or toss it over by a flip of the pan. To flip, do a sudden jerk of your wrist. Now you're cookin' like Julia!
Brown lightly for about 30 seconds on the other side. As they are done, slide the crepes onto a rack and let cool several minutes before stacking on a plate. Crepes may be kept warm by covering them with a dish and setting them over simmering water or in an oven set to low heat. (Crepes can also be made in advance, frozen and reheated!)
Grease the skillet again, heat to just smoking, and proceed with the rest of the crepes.
Now for the filling. The good thing about crepes is that you can make a batch of them and have them for both dinner and dessert. Since I was making them for Thanksgiving dinner, I used a turkey and mornay sauce filling.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 1/2 cups of milk
- 3/4 cup of chicken broth
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
- 1 cup (4oz) shredded Gruyere cheese
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and add the flour and stir, cook until mixture bubbles. Then add the milk, broth, and nutmeg (salt and pepper to taste if you choose), and whisk until the mix thickens and comes to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer, whisking occasionally for 2-3 minutes. Then stir in Gruyere, remove from heat, and set aside.
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 2 shallots or green onions, chopped (white part only)
- 1 1/2 cups (12oz) of sliced mushrooms
- 4 1/2 cups (1 1/2lbs) of diced turkey (simple deli turkey works)
- 3 tablespoons of parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup of shredded Gruyere cheese
In a very large skillet, melt the butter and then saute the onions and mushrooms until soft. Leave about 1/4 of a cup of Mornay sauce for topping, and stir the rest of the sauce into the mixture, along with the turkey, parsley, and cheese.
Note: You can make the filling ahead of time, but if you do, either make more sauce, or leave out more from the original so you can add to the mixture when you reheat it. It helps keep the filling from tasting dry. Also, if need be, add in a bit more chicken broth to the reheated mixture.
Then just stuff the crepes and fold! Top with sauce and sprinkle any leftover cheese on top.
The crepe mix makes a lot of crepes, so you should even have enough leftover to make dessert crepes (smother in Nutella and bananas, top with chocolate syrup) -- it's more of a question of if you'll have any room leftover in your stomach to handle it.
Image via adactio/Flickr