Monday, January 7, 2013

This is it!


I have spent a lot of time thinking about starting this blog. And kicking around different ideas for what it should look like, sound like, what types of things I will write about. But here we are - it's 2013! I'm 28 years old! Hiya! Where does the time go? After much thinking and little writing, I've decided to jump in and figure out the details later. The design, the photography skills, maybe even the name of this blog - there will be time to mess with all of that. Let's go right to something sweet instead.

I'm going to start off by sharing the recipe for a dessert I love. While most people are talking about lighter recipes in the first few days of the new year, here I am to give you a dessert of cream, eggs and two kinds of sugar - one of the best things to ever come out of my kitchen. Butterscotch Pots de Creme.

This dessert is truly my go-to for dinner parties, because it is simply that good. The complexity of the sugars makes it rich but not too sweet, and it's intensely creamy. It's the type of dessert that makes people pause after the first bite, and point at the dessert with their spoon with a look of surprise on their face. As my friend Emily said, mid-spoonful - I don't want this to end.

And - it's simple to make. It involves little more than heating some cream and sugar on the stove and separating a few eggs. Anyone can make this. The one thing I will say is that you'll have to buy two kinds of sugars - dark mucovado and demerara. They're not cheap (I think mine were $7/ea per pound ((my mom would be appalled))), but I swear, they're worth every penny. I made these desserts once with a good quality dark brown sugar in place of the muscovado, and they were nice, but the muscovado sugar puts them in an entirely different class. And, after dropping the $14 on sugars one time, I made this dessert probably five more times over the course of the year before having to replenish my fancy sugar supply.

I brought these little "pots of gold" most recently to a dinner party hosted by friends on New Years Eve - a night of debauchery, of beef wellington!, some serious NFL trash talk, arrangements (and bets) made for a future half marathon race, champagne wine gin beer, dancing in the basement, some high kicks (believe me, it was a good looking dance move), and a very unproductive January 1. And if you ask me, that's the way to send off a year - heavy-handedly, letting it all out, with cream, sugar and eggs.

And now, here we are. A whole new year looking at us. As I declared, more than once, on New Years Eve - this is our year!

Here's to
taking more risks,
visiting a new place,
hitting my fastest marathon time,
keeping the kitchen ledge free of junk,
trying new recipes,
creating some of my own,
more books,
more writing,
one roof,
dancing at the end of the night,
dancing otherwise,
more adventure,
more order,
not worrying about perfection,
seeing what happens,
being thankful,
finally, starting this blog.

This is it! Cheers.

Butterscotch Pots de Creme
Recipe from Gourmet, 2003, by way of Orangette

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
6 Tbsp dark muscovado sugar
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp demerara sugar
4 large egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Prepare a baking dish (I use a 9x13 cake pan) by lining the bottom with a folded kitchen towel - this will help protect the bottom of the custards from the heat.

Put the cream, muscovado sugar and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat to just a simmer, stirring to dissolve all of the sugar. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, in another medium saucepan, heat the water and demerara sugar over medium high heat to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Continue boiling, stirring occasionally, until the sugar water becomes a nice dark brown. Remove from heat. Slowly whisk the cream and sugar mixture into the sugar-water mixture.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the vanilla. Slowly whisk in the cream mixture until combined. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a two cup glass measuring cup. Skim off any foam at the top (this will make your custards look impossibly smooth on the top when they're finished). Finally, pour the mixture evenly into four ramekins or teacups. Seal the top of each ramekin with a small piece of aluminum foil.

Place the ramekins into the prepared cake pan, and carefully pour hot tap water into the cake pan until it comes half to two-thirds of the way up side of the ramekins.

Bake 40-50 minutes (in teacups, this takes closer to 40 minutes for me - in ramekins, it has taken me 50 minutes or longer). To test the doneness, remove the tin foil from one ramekin - the custards are done when the edges are set, and the center is still a bit giggly, like a firm jello. Remove the ramekins from the water bath and cool to room temperature; then, refrigerate for at least a few hours, until ready to serve.

To serve: top with barely sweetened whipped cream.


  1. Looks amazing to me :-) Looking forward to hearing from you, fellow Two-Page Spread Queen.

  2. Thanks Emily! Great to hear from you - I have lots to learn from you in the blogging world :) Long live the two-page spread queens!