Help w/ Venetian Fried Creme
This recipe is from Mario Batali, I think and the creme part of this turned out very nice. But there was something about the frying that just didnt work out. Here is the recipe
Venetian fried cream
Olive oil, for frying and oiling the work surface
1 1/2 cups milk
4 eggs, yolks and whites separated
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, more for dredging
1/2 lemon, zested
1/2 cup bread crumbs
Powdered sugar, for garnish
Using a little olive oil, lightly and evenly grease a small baking sheet or a large piece of waxed paper lying flat on a work surface. Keep the greased surface nearby while you work at the stovetop. In a small saucepan over low heat, heat the milk warm, but not bubbling.
In a second small saucepan over low heat, combine the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla. Using a wooden spoon, stir constantly until well combined, about 2 minutes. Add the flour, milk, and lemon zest and continue slowly stirring. Be sure to use the wooden spoon to clean the bottom of the pan with every few stirs to avoid letting any egg cook and congeal to the bottom of the pan. Turn the heat to a gentle medium and continue stirring slowly until the mixture thickens and forms a very dense homogenous pastry cream, about 5 minutes.
When the cream has thickened gently pour the cream onto the prepared work surface. Using a spatula, spread the cream so that it forms 1 layer 1-inch thick. Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight until firm.
When the cream has cooled, use a sharp knife to cut the layer of cream into 2-inch shapes (circles or squares). Fill a deep pot no more than halfway with extra-virgin olive oil. Heat oil over medium-high heat until it reaches a temperature of 350 degrees F. The oil should remain at or around this temperature throughout the cooking process.
While the oil is heating, place the some flour, the egg whites and the bread crumbs in separate shallow bowls. Carefully dredge the cream circles 1 by 1 through the flour, then the egg whites and then the bread crumbs. Working in batches of 6, fry the fritters until golden brown. Use a slotted spoon or spider to gently drop the fritters into the oil, being careful not to splatter. Using the same spoon or spider, remove the finished fritters to a serving plate. Repeat process until all the crema fritta are cooked. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.
Okay, I put the creme in the fridge for about 2 hours and then I could see it wasnt hard so I put in the freezer for about 20 min or so and it hardened up. You see, the recipe called for it to be "Chilled" and I didnt think that out. But when I took it out from freezer and cut it and then heated up the oil it started to fall apart again. THis was only about 5 min. time. By the time we got to dredging the middle portion of the creme it was pretty much the consistency of heavy creme. We had to basically roll these piles of goo in the flour/egg/crumbs and I dont think the coating turned out like it should it was more crumbly than anything.
So while the inside of the pastry was very tasty the outside just didnt seem to cook right or come out right. It wasnt very tasty and it didnt seem to add anything to the pastry. It wasnt flaky like I thought it should be it more like crumbs the texture of what you'd see on breaded chicken. I would definitely use the creme recipe again but it would be great if I could get these like lady fingers: with that fine, layered pastry shell on the outside.
Any suggestions? Do you freeze these for a long time? Are they then hard to cut up? Any thoughts on the coating? Do you add any flavors like nuts to the coating.?
Also, the next day I flambe'ed them using Brandy/sugar/butter. This was interesting, my wife didnt like the strong taste but I liked it. It did sort of add a little flavor to the coating.