Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Rosie Makes Julia's Gateau De Crepes.

Here's my Thanksgiving dinner coming up. Just in time for your Christmas dinner.
The first time I made this dish, I was in my late twenties and was having a love affair with PBS and Julia. Saturday afternoons were spent in front of my 7-inch B & W TV which I paid $10 for and when I moved away, Maxine offered to buy it for $5 and I actually took the money for it. Saturdays, it was Julia Child And Company. And later, Julia Child And More Company. She was mentor and muse. I would close up business early on Saturdays just so I could get home in time to sit in front of my TV, with legal pad and the perfect pen poised. And I wrote down everything Julia did. And I learned to cook. And I liked it. And I liked what I cooked. Today, 30 years later, I make Julia's Gateau of Crepes every year for Thanksgiving. It's on my tableau-scape. Just like a turkey. Like a ham. Sweet potato casserole. Corn casserole. Rolls. Giblet gravy. Mashed potatoes. Potato salad. Dressing. Julia's Gateau is a given. From Julia Child and More Company. Julia's Gateau of Crepes is a creation of vegetable layers bound with a cheese custard separated by crepes, with crepes encasing the whole. It is quite a handsome dish. The three vegetable layers are: Sauteed julienned carrots with fresh dill. Blanched broccoli. Mushroom duxelles. After cooking and letting it rest for the custard to set, you invert it and take off the casserole dish. Then, slice into wedges. This takes a bit of preparation, but it's worth every minute. Now, as ever, if you want to Semi-Ho this, then by all means, go ahead. Lately, I've been seeing thin crepes in packages in the produce section of my regluh groshry shtore. I have no idea what these may taste like and don't plan to learn any time soon. I just know I like the taste of homemade crepes. You may cheat and use these if only it will get you to make this dish, but I'd rather make my own. I always double Julia's recipe and freeze the leftover crepes. It's wonderful to be able to pull out a crepe and make a quick dinner with sauteed shrimp in an orange cream sauce, or some strawberries in whipped cream, or chicken and water chestnuts, almonds and asparagus with a lemon dill cream sauce ... or ... or ... But I digest. (Thanks, Russ, for that one.) Anyways, as the Chairman says, "ALLEZ CUISINE!!!!!!!"
I begin with the crepes. If you want to wimp out and actually buy crepes, then go ahead. I'll keep my mouth shut. Do not substitute tortillas for crepes as our dear Aunt Sandy has done before. Else I'll have to come hurt you.
Crepe Ingredients: (Doubled recipe) 2 cups Wondra or instant-blending flour 1 1/3 cups milk/heavy cream mixture 1 1/3 cups water 6 large eggs 1 1/2 tsp salt 6 TB melted butter Blend water/milk/cream with flour mixture, whisking until smooth. Beat in eggs, salt, and butter. Let rest for 10 minutes. Heat pan over medium-high heat. Add a little butter for only the first crepe. Add about 1/4 cup crepe batter into pan, swirling, turning the pan in all directions, to spread the batter over the bottom surface. Cook until nicely browned, then flip over and brown the other side. The second side never cooks evenly and is the bottom side of the crepe. Arrange crepes on a rack to cool and dry off. Stack together, wrap in foil, and store in plastic bag. These freeze very well.
This is the water, milk, and cream mixture going in. Julia probably meant whole milk, but since I never have whole milk around - only skim and heavy cream - I used 1/2 skim and 1/2 cream.
Action eggs!
Add in butter. Whisk well so there are no lumps.
I only use butter in the pan for the first crepe.
Let cool, wrap, and refrigerate. Preparing the veggies:
Peel and julienne a pound of carrots.
Saute in butter, swirling and tossing for a couple of minutes. Do not brown.
Add fresh dill, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. For the mushroom duxelles:
Clean one pound of shrooms.
Process to a fine mince.
Place mushroom mince in a towel ...
... and squeeze as much water out as you can. Easier if you use a handful of mushrooms at a time.
To prepare the mushrooms:
Mince a clove of garlic and some scallions.
Melt butter in pan and add shrooms.
Add in garlic and scallion and cook until mushroom pieces begin to separate from each other.
I like to add in a splash of sherry at the end. Salt and pepper to taste and set aside. For the broccoli:
Wash, trim, peel, and chop the broccoli.
Drop into boiling salted water.
Cook maybe two minutes. You don't want mushy broccoli. You want it crisp.
Drain broccoli and immediately plunge into ice water to stop further cooking and set the color. Drain and set aside. I get this much done the day before Thanksgiving. I make the custard
and assemble the gateau the next day.
When you're ready to cook, assemble all your ingredients: crepes carrots mushrooms broccoli custard mixture (recipe to follow) 3 cups Swiss cheese, grated
Custard ingredients: 1 pound cream cheese, softened 6 eggs 1 cup heavy cream nutmeg salt and pepper
When cream cheese is softened, beat thoroughly. Blend in cream.
Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add salt and pepper and freshly grated nutmeg.
Chop broccoli a little more. And now everything is ready for assembly. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Smear some butter over inside of baking dish and line the bottom of the dish with buttered wax paper.
Fit one crepe, good side down, in the bottom of the dish, and space 4 around the sides, good sides against dish. Cover with a second layer of 4 overlapping crepes.
Spread 1/4 of the grated Swiss in the bottom ...
... and cover with the carrots, pressing them well in place.
Top with 1/3 of the remaining cheese.
Ladle in enough custard to cover the carrots ...
... and arrange one crepe on top.
Pour in the mushrooms ...
... and press evenly.
Ladle custard over top and cover with another crepe.
Spread 1/2 the cheese over the crepe, then the broccoli ...
... and the last of the cheese.
Pour in the rest of the custard.
Fold the outside layer of overhanging crepes up over the filling.
Cover with another crepe.
Place a round of buttered wax paper on top, then cover with foil. Bake immediately in case the custard leaks against the side and bottom of the dish, sticking the crepes to it and making a mess when you try to unmold it. Bake in a preheated oven with a pan underneath to catch possible dribbles. In about one hour, when the gateau has started to rise, turn oven up to 400 degrees. It will eventually rise an inch or more. Cook another 45 minutes, or until a meat thermometer in center reads 160 degrees. Remove from oven and let rest at room temperature for 20 minutes, allowing the custard to set and settle. Unmold.
Ta da!!!!!!! And slice.

15 comments:

Sage Trifle said...

Wow, Rosie, that is absolutely gorgeous! It makes my mouth water to look at it.

zzzadig said...

Brilliant.........I hate you. You know very well that flour is my arch enemy and will atack me, the floor, the counter and even the ceiling if I just peek into the sack. Perhaps I can talk a friend into making the crepes; I can take it from there. Ditto on the potato rolls above. Can I replace the broccoli with creamed asparagus and egg slices?

Rosie Hawthorne said...

I'm the same way with flour, Zzzadig. And I think the asparagus would be a nice touch.

maxthunder said...

Thanks for posting this recipe. Your instructions and pictures are extremely helpful! We're having vegetarians over for Thanksgiving this year and this looks like a great vege dish to serve...one that looks very special. I also heard it's possible to do with puff pastry on the bottom, sides and top. Thanks again :-)

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Thanks, Maxthunder. It's truly an excellent dish. Let me know how you like it.

MarcellaJ said...

OMG Rosie! I too watched Julia almost religiously back in the day and I immediately fell in love with this Gateau and hastily wrote the ingredients down in a spiral notebook as I watched her prepare it. I used to make it regularly but then for some reason I stopped. Recently ran across the old spiral notebook and wanted to make it, but my handwritten notes, coupled with my faded memory were a little lacking. Thank you so much for posting this!! I made it this past weekend and although I cheated and left the veggies and shrooms in larger pieces, it was as lovely and tasty as I remembered!

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Marcella, I'm so glad you made this.
Thanks for commenting.

Nancybeth said...

I made this for Easter dinner. I too watched Julia make this on TV 30 years ago. I even bought the pan she used, a tinned metal charlotte mold. The fresh tomato sauce she recommends is wonderful on the side. This dish never fails to get raves.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Nancybeth, I'm so glad you made this. It's truly one of my favorite dishes. Labor intensive, but well worth it! And everyone loves it.

Anonymous said...

Can someone help me? I made this recipe this weekend and once in the over, the custard very soon started to leak over the sides. I'd covered it with wax paper and foil as indicated in the recipe. By the time I'd turned the oven up to 400, so much custard was spilling over the top that I decided to turn the oven back to 350. When unmolded, the gateau caved in. However, oddly enough it was still delicious, though not presentable for company. Help is appreciated as I'd like to try again. Thanks! Pamela

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Hi Pamela. It sounds that your baking dish was not big enough. I use a 2 1/2 liter souffle dish. So glad you tried this. I hope this was your problem and next time it'll work.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Rosie. Instead of a two liter charlotte mold, this time I used a round ceramic pan, larger than the mold, as you suggested. This worked much better, with no leakage, but needed an extra fifteen minutes to cook. Once sliced, there was still runny liquid that did not solidify into custard, so perhaps I should let the cake sit longer before unmolding. If you have a moment to spare, please let me know what you think. Many thanks, Pamela

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Pamela, I'm thinking you should let it cook even longer. Custard needs to cook. Then set. Else, I got nuttin'!

Carol Kreitner said...

I was so happy to find this as I too watched Julia on TV gosh 30+ years ago. I made this once and it was an amazing all day project. But it turned out spectacular. I recently bought an All-Clad pan just for crepes and I'm gearing up to make a pile of crepes. Now this may take a few sessions to put this together but can't wait to wow my friends. Thanks for the great photos and directions!

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Hi Carol. Thanks for reading and commenting. I apologize for the formatting on this particular recipe, with all the ingredients run-on together. I had them each on separate lines, then Blogger changed their formatting and ran them together. Glad to know someone else is making this. It's one of my favorites. And you are very brave to do it all in one day! I usually take 3 days. Make the crepes the first day, the mushrooms, carrots, and broccoli the 2nd day, then assemble and bake on the third day. This is one of those dishes that only gets better. That is if you have any left!