I think the first time I had Crème Brûlée was on our Honeymoon Cruise, and considering it was part of a buffet line I’m a bit surprised that it made an impression that was positive.
The cruise director admonished us not to exchange personal information with the locals, probably obvious, but when we docked the reason for the warning was blatantly apparent. A little kiosk off the side of the street rented scooters in exchange for a credit card, a drivers license, and a little cash. We walked away, of course, but surprisingly they called us back and said we could rent the scooter for just the fee, no plastic required.
It was marvelous. We were able to drive up and down the coast of the entire island, mingle with the natives, eat outside the tourist traps, and swim in beautifully clear ocean water on vacant beaches. The only down side was that I forgot sunscreen.
Having lived in the South for a little while, visiting New Orleans was like coming home; sharing it with Gabriel was magical. Café Du Monde beignets and sticky powdered sugar tables, French Quarter and eccentric painters, balloon contortionists and a romantic stroll along the Mississippi river at dusk.
I always thought that Crème Brûlée was a dessert that would never be a part of my repertoire. Not because I didn’t find it heavenly, I did after all say that cream would be one of the foods I couldn’t live without, but because it seemed too complicated. Of course now that just seems silly.
My first successful cream tart arrived delicately thin, silky, fluffy, pale yet sweet, and fulfilling.
Pastry: Crème Brûlée
Over medium heat bring to a boil:
3 cups cream
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (or vanilla)
Dash of salt
Remove from heat and let cool slightly
1/2 white sugar
1/2 brown sugar
6 egg yolks
Slowly pour cream into yolks while whisking
Pour into ramekins and bake in a shallow casserole dish filled halfway with warm water, at 300°F 45-60 minutes
Allow to chill for a minimum of 3 hours
Sift white or brown sugar over tops and torch, or place on top rack in oven under broiler