HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >
What's your latest food quest? Tell us about it
TELL US

Maryland Crab Puffs/Fluffs

l
LuckyThirteen Apr 27, 2011 07:58 AM

I've heard that I have to try Maryland Crab Puff's but I see different descriptions of them.

Are they battered and fried crab cakes? Or just breaded? I also saw some that are like a pate a choux paste (like a cream puff) but with crab inside?

What exactly ARE Maryland Crab Puffs? Thank you!

  1. h
    hon Apr 27, 2011 08:20 AM

    It's a "crab fluff" and it's a battered and fried crab cake.

    3 Replies
    1. re: hon
      l
      LuckyThirteen Apr 27, 2011 11:52 AM

      Do you have any restaurant recs for who you think makes them well? Thanks so much for your reply!

      1. re: LuckyThirteen
        h
        hon Apr 27, 2011 12:14 PM

        last time I had one was eons ago but it was at the Ocean Pride in Lutherville just north of Baltimore City

        http://oceanprideseafood.com/

        1. re: LuckyThirteen
          c
          cb1 Apr 27, 2011 12:14 PM

          Gunnings Seafood in Hanover Md.

          http://www.gunningsonline.com/index.php

      2. m
        MDicecreamguy Apr 27, 2011 06:00 PM

        WOW....this is a blast from the past! Don't see these around too much anymore....can't think of a more unhealthy way to eat crab. It's a crab cake dipped in a heavy pancake batter ...then deep fried.
        Used to get these at Buds on Pratt Street and the Millrace Inn in Woodlawn back in the day....not a Pate a choux paste...that would be much lighter.

        14 Replies
        1. re: MDicecreamguy
          GraydonCarter Apr 28, 2011 06:00 AM

          Doesn't sound very "fluffy". A crab puff is made with a Phyllo dough.

          1. re: GraydonCarter
            j
            Jason1 Apr 28, 2011 06:20 AM

            I've never heard of a classic crab fluff made with phyllo dough. It's usually a batter that puff's when it's fried. Where have you had a phyllo dough version?

            1. re: GraydonCarter
              Terrie H. Apr 28, 2011 06:29 AM

              Lived in Maryland for 52 years and have never seen a crab fluff/puff made with filo crust. Where did you you have that? I'm intrigued!

              1. re: Terrie H.
                m
                MartinDC Apr 28, 2011 10:57 AM

                I'm sure there are a few caterers out there who have thought putting a crab filling (lots of filler) between sheets of phyllo. But the original poster was referring to the old Maryland version of crab fluff, which is essentially a ball of fried batter with some crab thrown in. The key, of course, is the crab content. That usually fluctuated with the market price of crabs. The last fluffs I had, probably 15 or more years ago, tasted mostly of bread. I think I got them at Bud Paolino's, now gone.

                -----
                Bud Paolino's Restaurant
                3919 E Lombard St, Baltimore, MD 21224

                1. re: MartinDC
                  h
                  hon Apr 28, 2011 11:44 AM

                  batter with crab thrown in is not at all what a crab fluff is, it's a battered and fried crab cake. What you described would be crab fritters.

                  from the Gunnings website:
                  Crab Fluff Jumbo Lump crab cake, dipped in our special batter and golden fried. Served with today's vegetable
                  $16.99

                  1. re: hon
                    m
                    MartinDC Apr 28, 2011 12:14 PM

                    See what I mean about being away from B'more for 15 years? I do recollect fritters. But I did have what Bud's called a crab fluff, and there wasn't a crab cake inside. Must have been when crabs were scarce. But a couple points:

                    1. Do Marylanders really recognize crab fluffs/puffs/fritters as part of the inviolable Crab Canon? No one I knew actually paid them any attention -- and that they were popular among young kids and the inevitable guests who thought streamed crabs were gross.

                    2. Marylanders are really stubborn about what is in side their crab cakes, particularly when it comes to the amount of fillers. Ergo, I have a hard time believing that enshrouding a perfectly good crab cake in junk batter would thrill a native-slash-traditionalist.

                    Just wonderin'.

                    1. re: MartinDC
                      e
                      elgringoviejo Apr 29, 2011 12:53 PM

                      I make my own cakes rather than order them in restaurants and certainly don't ruin perfectly good crab meat by maiking a "crab fluff". Agree with two other posters that Ocean Pride and Gunning's are two fine Maryland seafood houses, but would give the edge to Ocean Pride.

                      1. re: elgringoviejo
                        agarnett100 Apr 29, 2011 01:19 PM

                        What is you receipe for "carb fluff" if you don't mind sharing

                        1. re: agarnett100
                          e
                          elgringoviejo Apr 30, 2011 07:16 AM

                          I often use McCormick's mix for cakes, never made a fluff since I don't do deep fat frying, the issue being fats not carbs.

                    2. re: hon
                      i
                      ivysmom May 1, 2011 04:20 PM

                      The Gunnings website might describe the crab fluff that way, but unless they changed their recipe, I'd describe their crab fluff as more of a crab fritter. Gunnings is the only place I've eaten crab fluffs but it has been a few years. (fluffy certainly is not the way I'd describe them.) They used to include it as part of their crab feast dinner when they had it as a special.

                      1. re: ivysmom
                        e
                        elgringoviejo May 2, 2011 07:36 AM

                        I have always found Ocean Pride on York road to be a solidly traditional Maryland seafood eateing house.

                        1. re: ivysmom
                          f
                          flavrmeistr May 2, 2011 08:05 AM

                          I always see them on the menu at Gunnings, but never ordered them. Gunnings has a solid crabcake, so that's what I stick with.

                  2. re: GraydonCarter
                    m
                    MikeR Apr 28, 2011 01:25 PM

                    That sounds like something they'd pass around at a cocktail party.

                  3. re: MDicecreamguy
                    h
                    Hal Laurent Apr 28, 2011 03:34 PM

                    A blast from the past, indeed! I last had a crab fluff around 1971 or so at Bo Brooks, back when it was still in Gardenville.

                    -----
                    Bo Brooks Restaurant
                    2701 Boston St, Baltimore, MD 21201

                  4. k
                    KAZ Apr 29, 2011 12:10 PM

                    I believe the new Sterlings stand in Lexington Market offers a crab fluff. I am not positive because for less than $2, I can't get beyond their fish cakes.

                    -----
                    Lexington Market
                    400 W Lexington St, Baltimore, MD 21201

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: KAZ
                      v
                      Vidute Apr 30, 2011 07:58 PM

                      Not only does Sterling's have a crab fluff, they also have an old-school fried hard crab. That's a steamed crab that has been cleaned of its innards then filled with a crabcake, dipped in batter and deep fried.

                      1. re: Vidute
                        h
                        Hue May 1, 2011 02:37 PM

                        The fried hard crabs Mom use to make were never steamed, but live crabs, cleaned ,dipped in batter and deep fried in lard!!!

                        1. re: Hue
                          j
                          JRCann May 2, 2011 10:17 AM

                          mine of my youth were always made from live crabs

                    2. h
                      hon May 2, 2011 08:47 AM

                      http://www.flickr.com/photos/abaynoas...

                      Show Hidden Posts