Mary Baldwin of Baltimore wrote: "I'd be the envy of the ladies at my pinochle card party if I could obtain the recipe for a hot crab dip that is served over toast and was the hit of the Maryland Top 100 Women affair held at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in March this year. The buffet was the best I've ever seen, but there was no mention of who prepared the dish. Please get it for me."
Food tester Laura Reiley chose a recipe sent in by Kirk Kraft of Baltimore, who wrote, "Well, I've never been to the Maryland Top 100 Women affair, but I have made this for little get-togethers, and it always is a hit."
Myra Lou Herman of Manchester requested a recipe for a batter in which to fry hard crabs - "like the batter served at Duffy's restaurant on Frederick Avenue in Baltimore."
Again, Kirk Kraft of Baltimore came to the rescue. He wrote: "I'm not sure if this is like Duffy's, but it is similar to a beer batter, and it tastes pretty good. Make sure that your oil is at 350 degrees or else you will have a greasy crab."
Hot Crab Dip
Serves 12-16 as an appetizer
1 pound crab meat
2 pounds cream cheese
1 tablespoon Old Bay
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 small onion, minced
3 tablespoons fresh chives or 1 1/2 tablespoons dried
Pick through crab meat. Mix all ingredients except chives. Place in a 9-inch-by-9-inch baking pan. Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Remove from oven and top with chives. Serve with a variety of crackers: wheat, water biscuit or club.
Tester Reiley's comments: "The Worcestershire and onions give the dip a little kick, and the richness of the cream cheese melds with the sweetness of the crab meat. Fresh chives look infinitely more appealing than dried do as a garnish. We ate the dip on thin slices of warm baguette."
Hard Crab Batter
1 cup flour
2 egg yolks
8 ounces beer
2 egg whites
2 tablespoons corn oil
1 small onion, finely minced
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
Beat flour and egg yolks, then add beer. Beat egg whites to stiff peaks in a frozen stainless-steel bowl with a frozen whisk. Add remaining ingredients to the beer batter, then fold in egg whites.
Put crab in freezer for 10 minutes to put it into a deep sleep. Remove from the freezer and remove the underneath shell, intestines (fat) and lungs (devil's or dead men fingers). Dip crab in batter and deep fry in plenty of oil at 350 degrees for 5 to 6 minutes. Drain on a paper towel. Don't be squeamish if the crab begins to move; it's only the nerves reacting.
Tester Reiley's comments: "It was puffy and flavorful, the way a good beer batter should be. My advice is to use a good, flavorful beer to add interest to the batter. A lager doesn't add enough body and flavor to beer batter."
* Joanna Cohen of Owings Mills wants a peanut-butter bread recipe. She says she made the bread one time and then "I put the recipe away for safekeeping and you can guess the rest. I can't find it. Hope you can help me out."
* Chuck Paris of Baltimore writes: "I was horrified to discover that a grandchild of a friend of mine had never tasted or heard of tutti-frutti ice cream. Could you find a homemade recipe for me?"
If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request for a hard-to-find recipe, write to Ellen Hawks, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278. If you send in more than one recipe, please put each on a separate sheet of paper with your name, address and daytime phone number. Important: Please list the ingredients in order of use, and note the number of servings each recipe makes. Letters may be edited for clarity.
Pub Date: 10/14/98