Three Recipes to Indulge in for National Crème Brûlée Day, July 27
Consider the noble crème brûlée; in its individual ramekin, fortressed against the world with its flambéed shell of sugary glass jealously guarding the wholesome custard from thine whetted mouth. Ah... with the stamina such a dulcet surprise would promise one could be rather steadfast in the composing of poesies in the name of such a splendid and sweet end to any meal.
My father, a gentleman of jolly disposition and good breeding, in a bout of fancy took my family to France in the summer of my sixteenth year. A Francophile byproduct of French colonialism via Lebanon, my father is a French-speaker and lover of French culture and a gourmand of imposing knowledge and exemplary tastes.
On this trip we had the pleasure of lunching at the Au Pied de Cochon brasserie in les Halles, just a short skip from the Rue du Louvre. A fantastic meal by any standards and thoroughly French; slow and multi-layered. While I've never been one for sweets or rather, for ruining such savory splendors with the vulgarity of dessert, I was becoming rather annoyed by the old man's insistence that I "make room for dessert."
At first, while enjoying a table red I was bemused by his describing of the sugar-missive as the end-all-be-all of all desserts. By the time I was working my salade et plateau de fromages I was getting annoyed in the way only a teenager can get annoyed with their parents while in public. Jesus H. Christ on rollerskates! What was it about this goddamned crème brûlée that had caught his spirit so?
Annoyance yielded inevitably to considerate curiosity... I needed to have this crème brûlée, I need to swirl its promise of saccharine salvation on my tongue and take its sacrament like an obedient and blindly-believing devotee of its confectionary order!
I learned a valuable lesson then. One I try to employ in daily life when appreciating flavors, sounds and visuals. I owe my dad a lot and this was one of his best lessons. Granted, he might've completely turned me away from desserts immediately after a meal, but hey, that's not such a bad thing. That was one of the best summers of my life.
Follow the jump for three variations on the classic crème brûlée you might want to try at home.