Preparing the apples as a purée and then mixing with meringue make these filled crêpes very light. They are finished off in the oven where they will puff up and look quite impressive. Then a dusting of cinnamon – this a very different type of crêpe.
240ml (8 fl oz) full fat/whole milk (1 cup) and 60ml (2 fl oz) water (¼ cup)
For the filling
565g (1¼ lb) dessert apples (4 medium)
120ml (4 fl oz) water (½ cup)
3½ tbsp caster/superfine sugar
20g (¾ oz) butter, softened (1½ tbsp)
3 eggs, medium (U.K.)/large (N.A.), whites only
ground cinnamon for dusting
You will also need a shallow-rimmed, lightweight pan, 20–23cm (8–9inch) in diameter with rounded sides for the crêpes and four shallow, ovenproof dishes, each large enough to take two folded and filled 15cm (6 inch) crêpes.
First make up the batter for the crêpes. Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Break the egg into the well and, using half the milk, gradually whisk the egg and milk into the flour, using a balloon whisk. Once a smooth consistency is reached and lots of bubbles rise to the surface, add the rest of the milk quickly. Do not over-mix.
Or use an electric mixer. First mix the egg and milk together then mix in the sifted flour and salt until the batter is smooth and lots of bubbles rise to the surface. Be careful not to over-mix.
Let batter rest for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel, quarter and core the apples and place in a large pan. Add the water, cover the pan, and cook over a low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is reduced to a pulp.
Now to cook the crêpes. Get the pan really hot and then reduce to a moderate heat – about the temperature needed for frying an egg. Use oil or butter to grease the pan. If using oil, use groundnut or another flavourless oil (not olive oil) and pour a little in a small bowl. If using butter, melt a large knob of butter in the pan and then pour into a small bowl. Add a little oil or butter to the pan and tilt the pan to cover the base. It should just glisten, not run with oil or butter.
Stir the batter, then pour about 45ml (3 tablespoons) of batter in the centre of the pan for each crêpe. Immediately lift and tilt the pan in all directions to spread the batter. You are aiming to make a 15cm (6 inch) crêpe.
Turn when the batter starts to curl away from the sides of the pan, the mixture begins to bubble and the underside is golden. It should take about a minute. If it seems a bit sticky, give it a couple of seconds more. Loosen the edge of the crêpe from the pan, then flip it over with a palette knife and cook until the underside is golden. Slip each cooked crêpe from the pan directly onto a piece of kitchen paper which will absorb any grease and keep it light and dry. Repeat the process with the rest of the batter, greasing the pan each time, until you have 8 crêpes.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6).
Now once the apples have been reduced to a pulp, turn up the heat and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes until thick. Stir continuously to prevent the apple catching on the bottom of the pan.
Add 2 tablespoons of the sugar and stir to melt the sugar.
Now to make the meringue. Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until stiff.
Add the remaining sugar, a tablespoon at a time, whisking well between each addition, until the meringue is glossy.
Stir a quarter of the meringue into the apple to loosen it a little, then fold in the rest.
Spoon 2–3 tablespoons of the meringue mixture over half of each crêpe. Then fold the other half of the crêpe over the meringue mixture.
Grease the ovenproof dishes with butter and place two crêpes in each dish, a little apart so they are not touching. Bake for 10–12 minutes until puffed up and hot.
Dust with cinnamon and serve immediately before the soufflé has a chance to sink.
This week we’ve had a couple of nights where it feels quite cool – it seems as though the time has come to say goodbye to summer and all those lovely berry desserts.
The coming of fall, although a beautiful but short season here in Ontario, will mean that winter is just around the corner. Now being a summer person, that is not my favourite time of year. It means there is often a very reluctant dog (our yellow labrador) and us to venture out on walks. The bright sunny, even snowy days, are a delight – it’s the ice and wind I could do without!
So – where I was going – it seems that it’s now time to start bringing out the fall recipes with that bit of comfort food about them. The first one we had again for supper last evening – a Lemon Surprise Pudding – which has just been added to the blog. I hope that you will want to try it.
This Lemon Surprise Pudding makes a lovely, citrus dessert. The mixture creates a thick, very lemony sauce that is covered with a really light and airy sponge.
A dish that is full of flavour and very scrumptious. Lamb cutlets sit on a base of garlic roasted vegetables with a hint of basil and rosemary and served with thinly sliced potatoes cooked in a garlic cream sauce.
Mediterranean Lamb Cutlets with Potatoes Dauphinoise
Prepares: 4 servings
Preparation time: 55 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes
For the ratatouille and lamb cutlets
2 tbsp olive oil
½ medium aubergine/eggplant
1 red pepper, deseeded
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
8 lamb cutlets
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
400g tin cherry tomatoes (small can)
1 tbsp fresh basil leaves, torn
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the potatoes dauphinoise
800g (1 lb 12 oz) potatoes (5 medium)
240ml (8 fl oz) whole milk (1 cup)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
240ml (8 fl oz) double cream/whipping cream or heavy cream (1 cup)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the potatoes dauphinoise
Peel, wash and cut the potatoes into 5mm (¼ inch) thick slices.
Bring the milk to the boil in a sauté pan with the garlic.
Reduce the heat and stir in the cream, seasoning, and a little grated nutmeg.
Now add the potato slices and turn to coat. Simmer very gently for 20–25 minutes until they are just tender. Turn every 5 minutes so all the slices cook evenly and they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
Tip into an ovenproof dish 28 x 20cm (11 x 8 inches).
They will need to cook in the oven for a further 20–25 minutes until bubbling and the top is starting to brown. Before putting in the oven, though, prepare the vegetables for the ratatouille. They will need to cook for the same length of time as the potatoes and so they go into the oven together.
For the ratatouille and lamb cutlets
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) gas 5.
Pour the oil into a roasting tin/pan and put in the oven while it is heating up.
Cut the aubergine/eggplant, pepper and courgettes/zucchini into 2.5cm (1 inch) cubes.
Tip into the roasting tin and sprinkle over the rosemary and seasoning. Turn in the oil to coat, then return to the oven and roast for 20–25 minutes until tender. (At this point, also put the potatoes in the oven.) Turn the ratatouille halfway through cooking.
Meanwhile preheat a griddle pan or heavy based frying pan/skillet.
Season the cutlets and spread the garlic over them. Then, over a moderate heat, cook for 5–10 minutes on each side, depending on how thick your cutlets are.
While the cutlets are cooking, empty the tomatoes into a medium sized pan and place over a gentle heat.
Once the ratatouille is cooked, add it to the tomatoes and stir through. Now add the torn basil leaves.
Divide the vegetables between four plates and top with two cutlets each. Serve with the potato dauphinoise alongside.
If your day-to-day bread is used for sandwiches or for toasting, you might want to try this milk bread. It produces a softer, tighter crumb and a softer crust than breads made with water.
Bread isn’t difficult if you break the process down into 3 steps. Each step involves a ‘wait period’ during which you can get on with something else. For more information about the technique I use, here’s a link to my page on Breadmaking.
Pour the flour into a mixing bowl and make a well in the middle. Add most of the milk and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon or a plastic dough scraper. If some flour is left in the bottom, add the remainder of the milk. It may not need it all. Just make sure that all the flour has been taken up.
Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave it to stand for 20–30 minutes.
In the meantime, prepare for the next step by weighing out the salt, yeast, sugar, and butter.
At the end of the 20–30 minutes, melt the butter and add it with the salt, yeast, and sugar to the mixture, making sure that the yeast doesn’t come into contact with a wodge of salt, and mix well.
Cover the bowl with the tea towel and leave for 10 minutes.
Lightly oil your hands and the work surface, and tip the dough out. Take the edge of the dough that’s furthest away from you and fold it towards you to meet the near edge. Push it into the dough with your fingers or the heel of your hand, stretching it gently away from you. Give the dough a quarter turn and repeat. Do this 8 to 10 times, then rotate the dough into a ball and put it back in the bowl.
Cover with the tea towel again, leave for 10 minutes, and repeat the fold and stretch.
Cover again and leave for 10 minutes. While waiting, lightly oil another large bowl for the dough to rise in. Then fold and stretch the dough for a third time.
The dough should now be smooth and silky. Tip it out and shape it into a ball. Put it into the lightly-oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel or cling film.
Leave it to rise until it's at least doubled in size.* At room temperature, this should take a minimum of an hour but it's fine to leave it for 2–3 hours. The longer the better – it improves the flavour.
Depending on the kind of loaf you want, prepare for the shaping while you wait. If you want a classic rectangular shape as shown in the photograph, prepare a loaf tin. (For this amount of dough, I use one which measures 23.5 × 13.3 × 7cm /9¼ × 5¼ × 3 in. Lightly oil the whole of the inside to prevent the loaf sticking.) If making a natural-shaped loaf, say a cob or a boule, line a baking tray with baking parchment.
Tip out the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface and knock the air out by folding it in on itself a few times. It should feel smooth. Then flatten it out into a rectangle, with a short side towards you. Lift the dough from the furthest edge and fold it down towards you about half way. Press the edge down with the heel of your hand. Turn the dough round and repeat. Then shape the dough.
For the classic shape
Flatten the dough into a rectangle, short side towards you, with the width about the length of the loaf tin. Roll the dough up away from you making sure that the join ends up at the bottom. Place the dough in the tin, moulding as necessary to make sure it's even along its length.
For a natural shape
Rotate the dough into a ball and shape appropriately. Place on the baking tray.
Cover with the tea towel or cling film and leave to prove for at least another hour. You can tell when it's ready when it's doubled in size again and the dough springs back readily if you poke it gently with your finger.
Before the end of the hour, preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F (gas mark 6).
Dust the top of the dough with flour and slash the top lengthways with a sharp knife. Then bake for 35–40 minutes or until nicely browned. Turn out the loaf and tap it on the bottom – it should sound hollow. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
* Doubled in size means doubled in volume. This means that if the dough is in the shape of a ball, the diameter increases by about 25%.