Just looking at the title, aren’t you getting excited for this post? :D
Because this entry is all about CREPES. And honestly, who doesn’t love crepes?
But if they’re completely made from scratch, from batter to filling, even better. And that’s exactly what my Food for Thought class did last Friday.
While our class has cooked in McEwen before, this time around my professor really wanted us to get a hands-on experience on putting a dish together from start to finish using seasonal ingredients. The answer? Crepes with ricotta cheese and sautéed apple filling. Now doesn’t that sound yummy?
So we were split up into 2 groups: the crepe team and the filling team, with a chef each to guide us. After a while, the groups rotated so everyone could see and take part in both processes.
First up, the crepes!
Prior to our entering the kitchen, the chef had already done a couple of test runs to check that both the batter and the griddle were working a-ok.
So before my class had even started cooking, the entire area was filled with the delicious aromas of sweet, cooking crepe batter. Mmmm…
Trying not to drool over how good these crepes were going to be, we got to work actually making the crepes (with the help of the chef, of course).
Even my professor tried his hand at making a couple of these (with a little help from the chef, of course).
Crepes cook up really fast – it didn’t take any more than 3-4 minutes for each one. So before long, we had a veritable of army of plain crepes, just begging to be filled.
So while the crepe team was busy a-crepein’, the filling team had to hustle to get a-fillin’.
We had a little help from this UBER COOL, NIFTY, APPLE GADGET MABOB. Check it out:
WHOAHOAHAOHAOAHOAAAAAA!!! HOW COOL IS THAT??!! Not only does this thingamabob peel your apples, it cores and slices them for you too!
So thanks to the uber-multitasking apple corer/peeler/slicer set up, in no time, we were ready to start sautéeing the apples.
With cinnamon, butter, sugar. Really, is there any other way to do it?
Of course there is! WITH APPLE CIDER!! Doesn’t it just TASTE like fall? Well if you could taste it, you’d think so.
Hot, bubbly, appley goodness. Seriously, this was just like apple pie, without the crust. That’s right. We filled our crepes with apple pie filling. YUM.
But we can’t forget the ricotta.
This was a batch the chef had made prior to us coming to cook in McEwen. I guess you could call it another test run. It was sweet and creamy and delicious.
For the second batch, the chef heated up whole milk and half-and-half with just a little bit of salt, stirring constantly so it wouldn’t burn. Once that had come to a boil, he added lemon to get the separation process started.
With the addition of the citric acid, the curds and the whey began to separate almost immediately; I’d say within 5 minutes, the dairy had clumped together enough so that it could be strained.
Using a cheesecloth (funny, I know :D), the whey was strained out,
and the remaining curds were squeezed of any extra water.
The end product…?
Ta-da!!! Fresh, creamy, delicious riiiiiicotttaaa!!
As you can see, this batch is considerably more solid than the one the chef had made before. We’re not sure what it was – it might’ve been a little more lemon juice, a longer separation time, more straining, etc. The thing is when you make your own cheese like this, you’ve got to learn to embrace the inconsistencies! So regardless of the difference between the 2 batches, everyone tried a little bit of both. I think it was almost unanimous that this newer ricotta would’ve been better in savorier recipes – like lasagna? The texture was firmer and drier, although it was still spreadable, kind of like cream cheese. The first batch was a lot looser and it tasted a little sweeter – perfect for our crepes.
At the end of the class, everyone assembled their crepes and chowed down. I spread a little bit of both ricottas on top of my crepe, with a little dollop of the apples on top. While not a tradition crepe filling, I thought that the ricotta went really well with the apples, melding the cinnamony, autumny goodness in creamy clouds of fluff. Sounds appetizing, no?
I think the crepes might’ve tasted even better because we actually made them every step of the way. Really, how often do college students get to make not only their own crepes, but fresh ricotta cheese?
Only in my Food for Thought class, apparently :D.
So yeah, I thought I’d show you guys our very hands-on cooking experience in McEwen last, last Friday. Yeah, yeah, it’s kind of late, but at least now you know what we did!
There’s bunches of stuff coming up this weekend that I’m super-excited about, so you guys should DEFINITELY be super excited about it too – think about it, it’s the last weekend before Thanksgiving Break!
ZOMG THANKSGIVING BREAK. IT’S SOON. IT NEARS. IT’S CLOSE.
You know, not that I’m counting down or anything.
P.S. 10 days left :) We’re down to the nitty-gritty, folks. Fighting!