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Old 12-28-2011, 09:42 PM   #1
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SOS -- Gateau de Crepes a la Florentine

Hi all,

I just spent four hours preparing Gateau de Crepes a la Florentine from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

She usually gives very clear directions, but this has me stumped:

"About 25 to 30 minutes before serving time, place in the upper third of a preheated 350-degree oven to heat through thoroughly and brown the top lightly."

I don't know if this means to heat it in the oven for 30 minutes, or heat it and brown it, and then let it sit for the remainder of the time. I don't want it to fall apart!

Thanks!

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Old 12-28-2011, 10:19 PM   #2
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Take that 25 to 30 minutes to be an indication of about how long it will take, but be guided by the top browning. If your oven temperatures are accurate, the time will be close to that range, and it won't be sitting around long if you timed service for 30 minutes. I think it's one of those dishes where it would be a mistake to give a fixed baking time. Too much variation in how individual examples go together.
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Old 12-28-2011, 10:39 PM   #3
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I wish I had my copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking on hand so that I could read the entire recipe in context. But of course you can't quote it due to copyright. I presume this follows steps for cooking the crepes, making the filling, putting the filling inside the crepes, and then an indeterminate stage (perhaps up to 30 minutes) where they're kept warm, maybe left on the counter, but probably not refrigerated.

I think she means you should put it into the oven about 25-30 minutes before you want to serve it, and then monitor it to observe that the top is lightly browned, and then keep it warm until you can serve it but count on serving it soon. Your key indicator should be brownness of the top, and try to serve it right away.
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Old 12-28-2011, 11:07 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteB View Post
Hi all,

I just spent four hours preparing Gateau de Crepes a la Florentine from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

She usually gives very clear directions, but this has me stumped:

"About 25 to 30 minutes before serving time, place in the upper third of a preheated 350-degree oven to heat through thoroughly and brown the top lightly."

I don't know if this means to heat it in the oven for 30 minutes, or heat it and brown it, and then let it sit for the remainder of the time. I don't want it to fall apart!

Thanks!

I would say it won't take the full 25-30 minutes but once it's heated through and browned, It's OK to let it rest so it's not piping hot when served.
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Old 12-28-2011, 11:48 PM   #5
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i agree that julia was suggesting that in the top third of an oven heated to 350 degress, it would take 25 to 30 minutes to heat through and brown a little on top.

if it takes less time for both (heating through and browning), take it out of the oven and rest it.

the instruction was intended to give you an approximate time to prepare it before serving properly.
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Old 12-29-2011, 12:18 AM   #6
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I was scoffing the 25-30 minute timeline when I first began writing my reply to this topic, but after giving it some thought I decided that it might be reasonable, particularly if there is a sauce already present on the top of the crepes. That's why I said that I wish I had my copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking on hand (it's presently in storage with all my other cookbooks) so I could read he full recipe in context. BTW this is IMO one of the must have all time classic cookbooks by one of the best chefs ever.

So if there's a sauce on top then 30 minutes seems entirely reasonable. If the crepes are exposed and dry then possibly even 25 minutes might be excessive. The degree of browning seems to be the best measure of doneness.
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Old 12-29-2011, 08:32 AM   #7
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I pulled my copy of MTAOFC. In it, she says, "This type of dish may be made ready for the oven in the morning, and heated up at dinnertime."

It's not a recipe for individual crepes, as we usually think of them. It is a 'gateau' (French for cake) made out of crepes. You make 24 crepes, then stack them in layers with filling and sauce between them. She describes it as a 'mound'. It's about 6-8 inches around, and stacked very high, with more sauce over the top. You slice it into wedges like a cake to serve.

Based on the recipe, it really would take 25-30 minutes to set up and heat through, especially if you followed her advice and assembled it in the morning.

Here's a picture of what it looks like.
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Old 12-29-2011, 09:41 AM   #8
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This may not be correctly continued in this thread or forum, but I can't see where else it would go, so I'll leave it here, and it can be moved as desired.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gourmet Greg View Post
I wish I had my copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking on hand so that I could read the entire recipe in context. But of course you can't quote it due to copyright.
Recipes are interesting subjects in copyright. The mere list of ingredients are not subject to copyright. The descriptions and explanations are. BUT, just as with all things, the only work that can be copyrighted is the original work of the author, meaning not copied from elsewhere. And the elsewhere it was copied from still renders it not copyrightable, whether the source was currently copyrighted or not. And it's never the dish that copyrighted - it's strictly the quotable writing and illustrations.

Most recipe writing styles are pretty sparse, not exactly florid prose. It's easy to convey exactly the same directions in different words or word order. And who fights copyright battles over recipes? It's been a while since I read Julia's recipe, but I found one online and unattributed with what I think are the exact baking directions, just without the time phrase. I guess they thought it was confusing, too.

Recipes are also strange animals from the "fair use" perspective. Individual recipes are almost always a portion of a larger work. So it's arguable whether a single recipe is substantial enough to invoke the protective intentions of copyright law. But I think it's safe to say that quoting a portion of a recipe to discuss meaning is well within fair use and can in no way be seen as harming the original author's interests.
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Old 12-29-2011, 11:27 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silversage View Post
It's not a recipe for individual crepes, as we usually think of them. It is a 'gateau' (French for cake) made out of crepes. You make 24 crepes, then stack them in layers with filling and sauce between them. She describes it as a 'mound'. It's about 6-8 inches around, and stacked very high, with more sauce over the top. You slice it into wedges like a cake to serve.

Based on the recipe, it really would take 25-30 minutes to set up and heat through, especially if you followed her advice and assembled it in the morning.
Yeah, I suspected something like that with the sauce already poured over the top. It's looking like a sure thing that the 25-30 minutes guideline is good.

If made in the morning and refrigerated all day I'd advise removing it from the refrigerator and setting on the counter enough time to allow it to return to room temperature before heating in the oven. Otherwise you might get it browned on the top and still cold in the middle, or if left in to be suitably warm in the middle might be overly browned on top.
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Old 12-29-2011, 11:51 AM   #10
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forum rules (includes discussion of copyrights)

It's not good enough to just change the order of a few words. The only safe way to post directions to a copyrighted recipe is to completely rewrite the method in your own words, thus entirely replacing the copyrightable part of a recipe.

Note that it is not a legal requirement for the author to include a copyright notice, and that absence of a copyright notice does not mean the work is in the public domain.
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