Thursday, February 17, 2011

Creme Brulee

As intended, I made creme brulee this week. And it came earlier than I thought. Monday was Valentine's Day, and my roommate and I double-dated plus one for a delightful lamb roast for five. Since it was a week night, we ate late. While the roast cooked, we snacked on spinach-feta dip with pita chips, and the girls beat the boys at a lively round of Taboo. The lamb was cooked perfectly--still a bit pink, and deliciously flavorful from a good salt rub-down. Roasted purple fingerling potatoes and red cabbage were colorful accompaniments on the plate (I had nothing to do with dinner). We were stuffed. But dessert goes into a different stomach, and we enjoyed the creme brulee with port wine to top off the evening.

The Fiddlehead's Creme Brulee (Page 201) is fantastic. It's mostly just cream and sugar (as most great desserts are), plus egg yolks, and super simple to throw together. The trickiest part of the recipe is the timing of custard baking. My borrowed brulee dishes cooked in the suggested baking time, no problem. But the leftovers that I put into a larger baking dish took longer, and I was checking every couple of minutes. I'd estimate you need 8-10 of the classically-sized creme brulee dishes.

It turned out pretty great for a dish that literally means "burnt cream." I wish I had a torch to create that satisfying tap on the brulee crust, but a hot broiler worked fine to melt the brown sugar topping. It doesn't take very long at all--so keep your eye on it: you don't want burnt burnt cream.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Chocolate Mousse

I love chocolate mousse. It’s so rich and fluffy. I made the Fiddlehead's Chocolate Mousse (page 202) for ten, and it was a hit! It only takes 30 minutes to prepare, and voila! Tasty gourmet dessert. Garnished with whipped cream and chocolate shavings, it looks darn good.

Melting, whipping, and folding. Those are the three basic steps of this recipe. Melt the chocolate; whip the cream and egg whites (separately); finally, fold them all together with a dash of dark rum!

I had most of the ingredients for this simple recipe, except whipped cream, which I bought at Costco. It’s a tricky thing to buy a half-gallon of heavy whipping cream and have your thighs not shudder—it’s a race against the expiration date to see if you can find enough recipes to use up that ingredient—and then you’d better have a lot of friends to help you eat it. Never fear, I’m already scheming the next fatty dessert: crème brulee. It calls for “1 cup heavy cream (no substitutions).” Plus, I used 8 egg whites for this recipe, and crème brulee calls for 7 egg yolks! So there’s crème brulee to be had sometime this week. Resourceful, right?

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