"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Creme Caramel

There is something so comforting, so soothing about creme caramel. It's as bland as vanilla ice cream (and in fact is made from a similar base), and the dark sugar syrup just carries you off into a space where you want to curl up with a blanket and suck your thumb. It's such a basic dish that's it hard not to want to fiddle around with it, to jazz it up.

Witness my search on Epicurious (new readers, please note that The Gourmet Cookbook and Epicurious.com were crafted by the same folks, though Epicurious has recipes from other sources as well). A search for simple creme caramel turns up...maple creme caramel. Lemon creme caramel. Mocha creme caramel. But no plain old creme caramel!

The best thing about this dessert is that the serving of it is a snap, especially if you make it in individual ramekins. You just loosen it and flip it over into a dish and you've got an elegant little dessert that you didn't have to cut or scoop or even heat up. And don't fret (as I did the first time I made these) about the carmelized sugar that will remain in the bottom of the dish--it's not supposed to come out, and it's done its job by liquifying just enough where the creme meets the caramel to give you that nice sauce. And yes, it will come out in the dishwasher.

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