Monday, November 30, 2009

Rosie Prepares Julia Child's Gateau of Crepes.

One of my favorite dishes I make every Thanksgiving is Julia Child's Gateau of Crepes. It's a wonderful construction of layered broccoli, carrots, and mushroom duxelles, bound by a cheese custard, and each layer separated by crepes and the whole enclosed in crepes. If you recall, I made my crepes on Monday. This is not a dish to create in one day. I did the crepes Monday, the veggies on Wednesday afternoon, then made the custard, assembled the whole, and baked on Thursday First, prep the veggies.
I took a crown of broccoli and
sliced and peeled.
I brought a pot of salted water to a boil and dropped in the broccoli florets.
Cook until just tender - about 3 - 3 1/2 minutes, then drain and immediately plunge into ice water to stop the cooking and set the color.
When cool, drain, chop, cover, and refrigerate. Onto the carrots.
Peel one pound of carrots ...
... and have someone else run them through a mandoline to make matchsticks. I have done this by hand before and do not recommend it. It takes forever.
Just be sure the carrot matchsticks are uniform.
Heat butter in your skillet, and add carrots. Salt and pepper to taste and I add about a teaspoon of sugar. These needed another pat of butter, which I added. Cook and toss carrots until just tender but not browned.
I sprinkled a handful of chopped fresh dill over the carrots and tossed. Cover and refrigerate. Next, the mushroom duxelles.
I used a pound of mushrooms, which I wiped clean with a damp paper towel.
Dump the shrooms into your food processor and pulse until you have tiny mushroom pieces.
Turn the mushrooms onto a clean towel ...
... and squeeze as much moisture out as possible. Mushroom joos, heh.
Heat your skillet, add in butter and melt, then add 1 minced shallot, cooking for about a minute.
Unwrap mushrooms ...
... and add to skillet, breaking up with a spatula.
Saute until mushrooms start to separate - about 4-5 minutes. After cooking, season with salt and pepper. Cool, cover, and refrigerate.
And here are my happy little fillings, waiting to go into my gateau.
Fast forward to Thanksgiving morning. Thanksgiving morning, I prepared my custard mixture. Custard ingredients: 2 packages cream cheese, softened 6 large eggs 1 cup milk or heavy cream (I used heavy cream.) freshly ground salt and pepper freshly grated nutmeg The Swiss cheese is to be grated and used for the broccoli and carrot layers.
For the custard, I beat the softened, room temperature cream cheese, then added in my eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
Pour in the cream, beating.
Add freshly ground salt and pepper and grated fresh nutmeg, to taste.
Gather all the ingredients - crepes, mushroom duxelles, carrots, broccoli, and custard. And grated Swiss. (oops) And begin assembly.
First butter the inside of a 2 1/2 liter baking dish and line the bottom with buttered parchment paper. Fit one crepe, good side down, in the bottom of the dish, and space 4 around the sides, with the good sides against the dish.
Cover with four more overlapping crepes, good side out.
Spread 1/4 of the grated cheese in the bottom of the dish.
Cover with carrots, spreading evenly and pressing into place.
Top carrots with 1/3 of the remaining cheese and pour 1/3 of the custard, enough to come up to the level of the carrots.
Place another crepe on top of the carrot layer and spread out the mushroom duxelles, and ladle in the custard.
Cover the mushroom layer with another crepe and spread on 1/2 of the remaining cheese.
Add the broccoli ...
Top with the remaining cheese and custard.
Fold the inside layer of overhanging crepes up over the filling and cover with a crepe.
Fold the outside layer of overhang
over it and cover with 1 or 2 crepes.
Place a buttered sheet of parchment paper over top.
Cover with a sheet of foil. Bake immediately, otherwise, the custard will leak out against the sides and bottom, sticking the crepes to it and making a mess when you go to unmold. Bake on the lower middle rack in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour with a pan underneath to catch any dribbles. In 1 hour, when the gateau has started to rise, turn the oven up to 400 degrees, and bake for about another 45 minutes. It will eventually rise an inch or so and is done when a meat thermometer inserted at the center reads 160 degrees. Remove from oven and let rest for 10-15 minutes, allowing the custard to set and settle.
Invert onto your serving platter.
Here's just part of our spread.
To serve, cut into wedges.
The flecks of broccoli and carrots remind me of little gems studding the custard. This is wonderful hot, warm, or cold. And when you serve this, a lot of people won't know what the mushrooms are. They think it's some kind of pate. I love the combination of flavors here. Bottom line, this is an excellent dish. Labor intensive, but worth every second. Hope you all had a very Happy Thanksgiving.


Ashley said...

Now that's a show-stopper! Wow! Look beautiful and yummy.

Anonymous said...

My dad makes this for me too everything Thanksgiving so I can have something special, being a vegetarian. BUT he uses puff pastry. And he makes a leaf design on the top, and/or like a braided design or even like a crimped/cross-hatched pie crust design around the top edge. It's a pretty awesome/impressive presentation if you ever want to try it instead. And the puff pastry tastes great with the veggies and cheese and sauce.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Anony, Would you mind setting another place for Thanksgiving this year? I'd love for somebody to make this for me. And the puff pastry sounds wonderful.