THE WASHINGTON POST – The Washington Post Food staff recently answered questions about all things edible. Here are edited excerpts from that chat.
Q: I’ve always wanted to make one of those cakes made of a huge pile of crepes with icing in between, but it’s always seemed like a crazy amount of work to make 50-100 crepes. Well, I’m spending my birthday quarantined alone this year, so I was thinking that I would only need to make like 10 or 15 crepes and then cut them into quarters and layer them so I’d just have a wedge rather than a whole cake. Sound like a plan?
What type of frosting would you suggest should go between the layers? Buttercream seems like it could rip the crepes and may be too heavy for 40ish layers. (I’m not against indulgence, but even indulgent things can be too much sometimes.) How long could it stand after I assemble it? Can I put it all together the day before or is it better to do it in the morning, day-of?
A: I have never made one of these, but we have Holiday Crepe Cake in our database. In it, the author says: “The crepes can be made up to a month in advance and frozen with pieces of parchment paper or plastic wrap between them. Defrost in the refrigerator before using. Otherwise, prepare the batter and refrigerate at least one day and up to two days in advance, then make the crepes and filling, assembling the cake one day in advance.”- Ann Maloney
A: A whipped cream based frosting will do best, it’ll be light enough not to tear the crepes. Also, why not stack up the 10-15 crepes with frosting, then cut into quarters and stack those quarters up? Would make the assemblage easier. – Kari Sonde (KS)
Q: My husband and I have recently discovered we are of differing opinions on the methodology of kneading bread, specifically when it is very sticky. I’m talking about so sticky that more of the dough is stuck to your hands than to itself sticky. I feel that the best way is to add more flour so that the dough doesn’t stick to your hands constantly, whereas he argues that it makes sense to simply keep kneading the dough for as long as it takes. Even if it takes over 40 minutes of the most frustrating kneading ever to get it significantly less sticky. Suggestions? Which way is the better way to knead bread?
A: Would help to know the recipe before wading into this marital discord. In general, if a dough is that sticky, I’d say you should add more flour. More kneading might just make the dough really, really tough. 40 minutes is way too much, I think, even by hand. – Becky Krystal (BK)
Q: I’ve found I walk longer around my neighbourhood while listening to podcasts. I’m new to them and so far have only listened to a few. I like Splendid Table and find Lam very entertaining. But I’m doing a lot of walking and wanted any recommendations for food centred podcasts just for listening, please?
A: Yes, this made a huge difference when I got into running! My favourite food one right now is Home Cooking with Samin Nosrat and Hrishikesh Hirway. I’m a fairly regular listener to the Serious Eats podcast, too (go back and find Joe’s two episodes!). And last night I listened to a delightful episode of the Sporkful with Dorie Greenspan, one of my favourite people. – BK
A: If you like more food politics type podcasts, I like Meatless and Bite (by Mother Jones). I have been meaning to start AnthroDish. – KS