Ready Made - How To Make It
The READY MADE & HOW TO DO IT page provides sources for products you can purchase to make preparation quicker and easier (like ready to fill cannoli shells or crepés, and prepared crab cakes), and “how to” information for those who want to do more themselves (like recipes for cream puffs and crab cakes).
Ready Made Ingredients
Cannoli Shells (ready to fill)
Prepared regular or mini
size cannoli shells can be purchased online, at specialty food stores, and at
some bakeries and grocery stores, including Wegmans®. They're delicious,
and make this dessert exceptionally easy. Fill with prepared mousse for
amazing new cannoli flavors.
Find regular and mini size cannoli shells in Wegmans® Bakery Department and information about them at http://www.wegmans.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?productId=749022&storeId=10052&langId=-1
Frozen Ready To Fill Cream Puff Shells
Cream puffs are a decadent way to serve mousses, and a delightfully light “container” to dress up mousses, sandwich fillings and cream cheese based dips. If you know a bakery that sells filled cream puffs, there’s a good chance they will sell you just the shells if you ask in advance. If you’re near a Wegmans®, many stores carry them in the fresh bakery section of their stores. You can see the details about those packages of 6 cocktail size cream puff shells at http://www.wegmans.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10052&catalogId=10002&productId=859483
Otherwise, frozen shells are your best bet. If you are serving a large crowd, or just don’t like to bake, these cream puff shells are just what you need. They can be thawed in the fridge and filled the night before your event, or at the last minute. They typically come in two sizes, regular (which holds about a good sized scoop of ice cream), or cocktail size (these hold about 1 Tablespoon of filling).
Frozen cream puff shells are available on line from the two following sources. The cream puff sizes and number included follows each link.
http://www.bakedjustforyou.com/CPF01.html 12 large or 24 small
If you want to make cream puffs yourself, directions can be found below in the How To Do It section.
Ready To Heat Crepés
Although crepés are
basically ultra thin pancakes, these delicate wrappers add a level of
sophistication to creamy desserts, fruits and anything savory that can be
served in a cream sauce. Ready-to-heat crepés are time saving and perfect
for those who don’t like to cook, but want to entertain with style.
Ready-to-heat crêpes can be found at specialty produce stores, World Market®, Wegmans® and in some areas even Walmart®.
Available at World Market® stores (not online); see details about this product at http://www.worldmarket.com/product/ready+made+crepes.do?&refType=&from=Search
Available at Wegmans® stores. See details about this product at http://www.wegmans.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?productId=355213&storeId=10052&langId=-1
Prepared Crab Cakes
Most frozen crab cakes get fairly dismal ratings from real enthusiasts, but Trader Joe’s® and Phillips® (sold almost everywhere) are generally described as pretty good, for frozen cakes, if a bit lacking in flavor. This can be overcome with a light dusting of Old Bay®. For a large group, frozen crab cakes will probably be the best option because they’re already made and many can be cooked without thawing (or thawed at 30% power in the microwave).
Wegmans® sells fresh crab cakes in two sizes that mostly get pretty good reviews, clearly from real enthusiasts.
The most important elements that make crab cakes appealing are the amount of crab/size of crab pieces (more & bigger preferred), seasoning (how much Old Bay®) and the amount of breading (less is better). Lump and Jumbo Lump describe the biggest pieces of crab (they are also the most expensive).
HOW TO DO IT
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1 cup all purpose flour
Heat oven to 400°.
In 2-1/2 quart sauce pan, heat water and butter to rolling bowl over medium high heat.
Stir in flour. Reduce heat to low. Stir vigorously over low heat about 1 minute or until mixture forms a ball.
Remove from heat.
Beat in eggs, all at once. Continue beating until smooth.
On ungreased cookie sheet, drop dough by slightly less than /4 cupfuls, about 3” apart.
Bake 35-40 Minutes or until puffed and golden.
Cool away from draft, about 30 minutes.
Fill as desired, or store in air tight container in fridge until ready to use.
When ready to fill, cut cream puffs in half and pull out any small pieces of dough before filling. Fill bottom half to above rim Push top half down gently to secure in place with filling.
For dessert cream puffs fill with prepared mousse, dust with powdered sugar or drizzle with chocolate syrup to garnish if desired.
For savory cream puffs, fill with chicken, shrimp or crab salad, cream cheese based dip or creamed chicken with veggies.
TIP: For appetizer size cream puffs, drop by scant tablespoons about 1-1/2” to 2” apart. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until puffed and golden.
Emeril Legasse has an easy to follow recipe that kicks this up a bit, and may improve the success for first time cream puff bakers with the techniques he incorporates into the recipe. Here’s the link:
Alton Brown’s Good Eats® episode on pate a choux (cream puffs) is excellent in demonstrating how to make cream puffs for first time or experienced bakers. It is in re-runs on The Cooking Channel®, or videos are available online (for a small fee). Here are the links for “Choux Shine”:
If you want to make your own crab cakes and need a recipe, we recommend the original Old Bay® recipe. It’s pretty easy, and really does taste as good as many of the finer restaurants. The key to success here is buying crab that has at least some big pieces and being careful not to break up those pieces any more than absolutely needed as you mix the ingredients. The recipe takes care of the rest. Here’s the link::
Both the Old Bay® recipe and the frozen crab cakes provide directions for baking and sautéing. We have found that sautéing works best for both, BUT, the cakes stay together best if they are cold or frozen when they go into a pan with sizzling oil and are cooked on medium heat (about 350°). Four ounce crab cakes (flat, not round) should be done in 4-5 minutes (2-3 on the first side and 2 when turned over). Wait to turn them until they release themselves from the oil; they’re ready then and won’t stick or come apart. If you’re going to bake your crab cakes, be sure to brush the top sides with oil, butter or a bit of mayonnaise before putting them in the oven; it will help with browning on the tops.
TIP: Lump and Jumbo Lump describe the biggest pieces (they are also the most expensive). For appetizer size crab cakes, claw meat is fine because you would end up breaking up the larger pieces to accommodate the small size of the finished cakes. A mix of lump and claw meat produces a reasonably dense meal size crab cake with meat in every bite, and fairly large pieces in many bites.