1 c rice, rinsed until the water runs clear then drained (long or short grain are both fine)
1 c filtered water
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp garam masala
3 bay leaves
2 tbsp dried currants
1 tsp olive oil
In the pot of a rice cooker, combine all ingredients. Add 1 cup of water to the outer pot.
Cook until the rice is tender but well-defined. Fluff with a rice spatula, put the lid back on and keep warm.
Roasted Garlic Tahini
1 c roasted garlic
3/4 c tahini
1 tsp honey
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
water, as needed
Place all ingredients besides water in a blender and blend until smooth. Add enough water and blend through to adjust the consistency to that of thick yoghurt. Store in a mason jar and refrigerate until needed. Stores up to 3 weeks.
1/2 c Roasted Garlic Tahini (above)
1/2 c plain Greek yoghurt
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
salt, to taste
Stir together all ingredients until smooth. Use immediately.
2 small eggplant, washed
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Slice each eggplant lengthwise in half, and cut off a thin slice from the rounded side of the eggplant so that the slices have a flat base.
Season both sides of the eggplant and brush generously with olive oil.
Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes or until completely tender.
Let cool for at least 10 minutes.
1 cup Tahini Crema (above)
1 cup Rice with Turmeric and Currants (above)
Roasted Eggplant (above)
arils from 1 small pomegranate
2 tbsp crushed pistachios
1 handful torn mint
pomegranate molasses, to drizzle
pistachio or extra-virgin olive oil, to drizzle
sumac, to finish
Place the roasted eggplant slices on 2 plates (as main course) or 4 plates (as starter). Spoon over the tahini crema to cover the eggplant.
Add some clusters of rice around the eggplant.
Scatter all over with pomegranate, pistachios, and mint.
Drizzle with pomegranate molasses and oil, then dust with a pinch of sumac.
I enjoy reading The Economist during dinnertime, a source of convenient insight and quick information that I generally trust to have some level of class and be reasonably unbiased. In the rare cases where opinion is wheeled onto center stage on a trolley, it would be clearly labelled “THIS IS AN OPINION. NOT FACT”, so nobody unknowingly swallows it to end up suffering an ill reaction. But a couple weeks ago, an article The beneficial effects of ice-cream on intelligence – a delicious correlation left me in want. Sure, it reminded me that I hadn’t had ice cream in weeks, but the article straight up from its title, made me spit out half of my dinner (a confit tuna tartine, if you were wondering).
It’s like that moment when you hear the bubble containing your prince charming pops and out hops a silly google-eyed frog.
First, correlation is correlation is JUST correlation. And not in a million years, not EVER, will it mean causation. Consider two statements:
Red cars are more likely to be involved in car accidents than any other colour.
Driving a red car is more dangerous than driving a car of any other colour.
Both say the same thing, right?
Not quite. The first one is a statement about correlation and the second is about causation. A correlation acknowledges a pattern in an observation. It is a description, and is completely acceptable. However, the second is a statement of a causation, that the colour red itself has an influence on a driver’s likelihood of getting into a car accident. This is not acceptable, because obviously if the colour red really made a car more dangerous, all the red cars would be recalled. In this case, it is actually psychology at work as seeing the colour red tends to arouse excitement and aggression in people, and drivers of red cars usually pick that colour because its boldness resonates with them. I’m probably wrong with this last explanation, but forgive me, I’m no psychologist.
Now, back to ice cream. From the graph, one could say that for most countries higher per capita consumption of ice cream tend to be observed with a higher PISA educational performance test score. But by stating that eating ice cream somehow makes you smarter, they’re implying a cause and effect relationship that is found not even in the most all-things-fit dietitian’s handbook. But of course, most people would’ve already headed out to grab a tub of Breyers or Ben and Jerry’s upon reading the title.
But let me make this clear, despite my burning desire for the opposite to be true: ice cream does not make you smarter.
Scooping back into the graph, you’ll see a bunch of uber-smart Asian kids from rich East Asian countries (Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Hong Kong) who are way too smart for the amount of ice cream they eat. (Them Asian parents are strict!) Some rich white countries who are eating way too much ice cream for their brain to absorb (brainfreeze!). And places like Peru, Brazil, Germany, and Canada where the kids are eating just the right amount of ice cream for their IQ.
That definitely made logical sense to me.
Said no one ever.
So how do we explain this weird semi-solid pattern? I’m no economist, or social scientist, or education specialist or whatever, but I do know a thing or two about ice cream, so let’s start there.
There are a few things that ice cream needs: ice, and cream. See? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure stuff out.
Now ice** does this inconvenient thing where it melts, so in order to have ice (or ice cream), we need refrigerators. Refrigerators are one of the best things that came out of the industrial revolution. They are typically quite pricey, and you’d only get one if there’s a reliable source of electricity in your house. Even now they are only widely distributed in fully industrialized countries. In India, for example, less than 10% of households have a refrigerator (only a portion of which would include a freezer). In the United States on the other hand, of those households below the poverty line (living off less than $1 per day per person), 97.8% have a refrigerator. In other words, the availability of refrigeration, depends on the presence and extent of a nation’s level of industrialization, wealth, and access to stable sources of electricity. This would explain why developing countries don’t eat much ice cream.
As for this cream thing, it comes from dairy cows which require tons of land. In East Asia, the population density index or number of people per square kilometer is between 336.33 for Japan and 7987.52 for Singapore. Compare that to the average minimum land requirement per dairy cow of 0.0074 square kilometers or maximum density of 135.91 cows per km2 , and you’ll realize that a single cow can be worth up to 59 people in terms of land requirements. Now you see why dairy’s just not that big a deal in East Asia, in fact, signing up to do dairy production in East Asia is probably the worst deal ever. The unavailability of dairy, and the fact that East Asian food cultures were virtually dairy-free for thousands of years largely explains why Asian kids don’t eat much ice cream.
For developed nations with tons of land for their population such as Australia, Sweden, Finland, and United States whose population densities range from 2.91 to 32.45, they have the perfect conditions for eating ice cream. And I mean, it’s ice cream, so sky’s the limit.
Now what about the middle countries that seem to follow the rule? A bunch of things, but the main relationship between ice cream consumption and educational test scores among kids I would say is this: since ice cream is more or less a product of wealth, industrialization, basic utilities and infrastructure, land, and western culture, it should be closely related to student test scores which shares much of the same inputs. (Again, East Asian culture would be an outlier as its emphasis on early education exceeds that of the already strong emphasis in Western culture. And land isn’t really an issue with learning.)
I don’t blame the Economist, really, after all the fun the article provided me. But now I wonder what they’ll post next – “Eating rice turns you Asian”? That’ll be a fun one.
**Ice cream used to be cream poured into a bucket surrounded by ice, have ice cream machines now, where you freeze the bowl so you don’t need chunks of ice.
For the foolishness of God
is wiser than human wisdom,
and the weakness of God
is stronger than human strength.
1 Corinthians 1:25
Orange Pekoe Ice Cream – about 1 pint
375 ml half-and-half or 18% cream
6 egg yolks
165 g brown sugar
8 orange pekoe tea bags, cut open
2 earl grey tea bags, cut open
1/2 tsp salt
Empty the tea bags into a small saucepot and pour in the cream. Bring almost to a simmer on medium low heat, stirring constantly. Turn off the heat as soon as the mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat and place on a trivet. Cover and let steep for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together the yolk, sugar, and salt until pale.
Strain the steeped cream through a fine sieve into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly to prevent cooking the eggs.
Strain the mixture through the sieve again back into the saucepot.
Cook on medium low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat.
Cool completely before chilling overnight in the fridge.
Once the custard is completely chilled, churn in an ice cream machine for about 25-30 minutes, or until the consistency of buttercream frosting. (I like to churn it slightly past the creamy gelato stage because I find the ice creams tend to be a bit too solid and hard to scoop with the smaller amount of air incorporated.)
Enjoy immediately (the biggest joy of making your own ice cream), or
The teas suggested here are just the beginning – I’ve made the same recipe using chai and thai tea as well, I just can’t tell which one I like better! Want to next-level it? Scoop it into a whisky glass and top with home-cooked boba! You’re welcome.
It’s been a while since I last posted, so forgive me if my words seem a little rusty. And no, I haven’t forgotten the whole debate thing, but when I have a recipe that really excites me, I don’t want any distraction – I just want to get it on the table.
As many of you know, dessert-for-breakfast is a pretty standard card on my table. From apple pie, to pain au chocolat, to honey kasutera, and black sesame tang yuan – you see why I have no trouble waking up each morning.
This week, it’s been brownies. The first batch had crisp, crumbly edges and a dense interior. I ate these for breakfast for five days straight, and they were fine, but far from perfect. They were a little too tall, a little too crumbly, and they didn’t have the shiny craggle-top. So I changed a few things – same ingredients, same measurements, different technique, and these came out.
I tried to give as much detail as possible and as much reasoning as possible to demystify what makes a ‘perfect’ brownie and in a way that you’d remember. And by the way, these are gluten free – not because I was trying to go for a GF recipe, but because I love the combination of dark chocolate and buckwheat, and believe it or not, I find it much easier to work with.
“I have always loved you,”
says the Lord.
Dark Chocolate Buckwheat Brownies – makes 1 8 by 8 inch slab
4 free range eggs, at room temperature
180 ml packed golden sugar
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
60 ml olive oil
125 ml unsalted butter
300 ml chopped dark chocolate or dark chocolate chips
240 ml buckwheat flour
Place the eggs, sugar, salt, and olive oil in a mixing bowl and beat with a fork until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside. (Using a fork instead of a whisk or electric beaters will minimize the amount of air incorporated into the batter, giving you denser and fudgier brownies. The dissolved sugar that binds with the egg forms a skin as it dries during the beginning stages of baking – similar to the smooth shell of macarons.)
In a small saucepot, melt the butter over medium low heat, swirling occasionally. As soon as the butter is melted, add all of the chocolate and turn off the heat. Let the mixture sit for 30 seconds, then stir gently for about 2 minutes until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. (Butter melts at 35°C, and chocolate melts at 30°C. Since the eggs only coagulate at around 60°C, you should have no problem combining the two directly.)
Pour all of the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and mix with a fork until smooth and shiny. Add all of the buckwheat flour and fold it in gently with a fork, making sure you get rid of any lumps. (The finished batter should be smooth, shiny, and considerably runny for a brownie. Don’t worry, it only seems very runny because it has tons of melted fat and un-coagulated protein.)
Line an 8-by-8 inch square baking pan with parchment extending up the sides and pour in the batter. Tap it firmly against your counter for 5-7 times to get rid of any air bubbles. (Air bubbles will rise to the surface during baking and break the craggly skin you want.)
Allow the mixture to rest for 20-30 minutes as you preheat the oven to 325°F, placing the rack slightly above the middle of the oven. (Most recipes will give 350°F as the temperature setting, but the same ingredient transformations such as proteins denaturing, sugars rearranging, and starches gelatinizing can all happen at a lower temperature. In addition, the low temperature ensures that the cooking is more even since heat travels through mediums at a constant speed regardless of the difference between the surrounding temperature and the medium’s temperature, and a slower and lesser rise which will not disturb the delicate wafer-thin skin that forms at the top nor turn the brownie cake-y.)
Bake for 28-30 minutes, or until the middle is puffed up, shiny, but still jiggles when you shake it gently. (The middle only puffs up because the moisture there is heated through, becoming steam which rises, but it is still wobbly which means that the starches haven’t completely expanded and set up. In other words, it’s cooked but not over-baked.)
Place directly on the counter and cool to room temperature. If you would like, now is the time to sprinkle on some fleur de sel – while it’s hot and still giving off steam so it sticks. (You want to cool the brownie down as quickly as possible so that the center stops cooking immediately, contracts back down, and turns the smooth shiny skin into the craggle-top. Air is a poor conductor of heat, so cooling it on a rack is about as ineffective as you can do. If you have a marble countertop that is the best way to go.)
Chill completely in the refrigerator, uncovered, for about 2 hours. Once chilled, lift the brownie slab from the pan by holding the extended sides of parchment. Cut into 4, 6, 8, 9, 12, or 16 slices – whatever you fancy. I like to cut them into 6 pieces, makes the perfect breakfast size for me. (Chilling the brownies before slicing solidifies the butter and chocolate fats, giving you cleaner edges.)
You can bring them back to room temperature to serve once you’ve cut them, pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds so they get all gooey, or have them straight from the fridge. I prefer the last one.
I know I cannot do my angst justice, but I will try anyway. You see, I am not rational. Nobody is, if you think about it. Think about it.
But we try to be, don’t we? We’ve taught ourselves and our children and the children of other children to believe that more is more, that bigger is better, and that if indeed you are better and more, you must have what is bigger and more.
And because time is money, and land is money, and labour is money, we maximize them like the swollen udders of a commercial dairy cow and yank them hard and fast – but wait, why get people to do that when you have robots that cost less than people and can do a better job?
The fault of our rationality is that it cannot be corrected. Because we assume our own rationality, this forbids us from looking back and asking if we’ve done anything wrong. The logic goes like this: “if at every step I’ve exercised my rationality to make the optimal decision, then everything I have done up until now must be correct and needs not be given a second thought. I am at the best place I can be, and all I need to do is continue to use my rationality and make even more of today than I did yesterday.”
With blinding naivety, we forget that the scaling of rationality across time necessitates omniscience. There are two pieces to this: scalability and being omniscient. Scalability, as defined by Wikipedia, is “the capability of a system, network, or process to handle a growing amount of work, or its potential to be enlarged in order to accommodate that growth.” Omniscient, a word you would have likely heard in either Bible Study or your grade 8 English class means all-knowing regardless of time. Since rationality exercised in a single point in time requires and is restricted to knowledge of all information up to and possibly including that point in time it excludes any information about the future. In other words, the validity of each decision you make stands only in the moment of your decision.
And this isn’t hard to understand. We’ve all done something we’ve regretted, but of course we didn’t regret it in the moment. The regret came only after we realized what we missed out on, or the costs we didn’t anticipate.
Except, even the best decisions we make can be overturned by just a single piece of information.
Consider the case against of antibiotics, which were heralded as miracle drugs in the 1940’s when they were first widely introduced. It cannot be disputed that millions today owe their lives to Alexander Fleming’s discovery, but as Princeton’s Bonnie Bassler points out, “no one thought that bacteria were going to become resistant.” And that single fact has changed the way we look at antibiotics ever since it was uncovered.
Due to this discontinuous nature of decisions (that their validity expire as soon as they’re made), a series of decisions has a tendency to paint itself into a corner. This happens despite the continuous spawning of new information because under the rationality assumption, all past decisions are indisputable and therefore will continue to govern future decisions even with their deteriorating validity. Consequently, our ability to make rational decisions becomes impaired due to limited choice and inability to admit new information into our model.
We thought the Earth was flat, so we thought the oceans were limitless.
We thought the oceans were limitless, so the number of fish in there must be as well.
We discovered the Earth was not flat, but round. But we still believed the oceans to be limitless, and the number of fish in it, too.
We built the biggest cities by the ocean, because that’s where the fish were.
We sailed from one end of the ocean to another. But we still believed that the fish in it were endless.
Fish were becoming harder to catch, so we thought bigger boats to take us further out would solve the problem.
It did, so bigger boats were built to chase the infinite number of fish in the sea.
But it became hard again, so we brought bigger nets along. There were always more fish to catch.
There would always be more fish to catch. There needs to always be more fish to catch.
Otherwise, what were our big nets for? What were our big boats for? What were our big cities for?
Yes, there are more fish to catch still.
In a nutshell, we’re all deep f*cked.
So can we get unstuck again? Yes, by admitting that even the best of our intentions will fail to be sufficient, that we being humans in our puny three dimensions cannot know all things hidden and yet to unravel in the universe. By admitting that our assumption of rationality is itself irrational.
Then will we be released from the shortfalls of our yesterdays. Then we can begin to try to fix the world we’ve torn apart.
The secret things belong
to the LORD our God,
but the things revealed belong
to us and to our sons forever,
that we may observe all
the words of this law.
Now that I’ve depressed the heck out of you and stripped you of your faith in humanity, you can have your cake. And the name basically sums it up. There’s whole clementines, almonds, sugar, egg, almond liqueur, and a pinch of salt. That’s it. It’s super moist, with variations of texture throughout, from a crisp edge to a japanese honey kasutera interior. It gets better with time, so leave it overnight in the fridge before you cut into it. A dusting of sugar is all you need, really, but a dollop of amaretto-spiked mascarpone or clementine curd doesn’t hurt either.
Clementine Almond Torte, serves 12-16
6 free range eggs, separated
250 g ground almonds
200 g sugar and 1/4 tsp cream of tartar (optional)
1/2 tsp almond extract or 1 tsp almond liqueur
1/2 tsp sea salt
Place the clementines in a small saucepan, cover with water, and bring to the boil. Continue simmering for 30 minutes until the clementines are puffed up and soft. Let cool, but do not discard the liquid.
Preheat the oven to 360 degrees with the rack in the middle of the oven. Line the bottom of a 9-inch spring-form pan with parchment paper and grease the sides with olive oil or butter.
Place the cooled clementines, egg yolks, ground almonds, salt, and almond extract in the blender or food processor and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides occasionally. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
Meanwhile in a stand mixer, beat the egg whites on medium speed until frothy. Gradually tip in the sugar and cream of tartar, until fully incorporated. Turn the speed up to medium-high and beat until the sugar is completely dissolved and the egg whites are glossy and form firm peaks.
Add 1/2 cup of the reserved clementine liquid to the clementine almond mixture and stir until fully combined. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites to loosen the mixture, then fold in the remainder of the egg whites until even.
Pour into the prepared pan, tap to release any large air bubbles, and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out with moist crumbs.
Cool completely, cover, and chill overnight in the fridge. Don’t worry if the cake sags in the middle – that’s what you’re going for, and it means the middle’s still nice and moist!
Dust with icing sugar and serve, with a cup of joe or orange pekoe.
Those were the words etched into the pristine white wall of the Museum of Moving Image, in sans serif bold.
Meanwhile, 226.2 miles south congregated in front of the White House is the Women’s March on Washington. Perhaps it is because I have been hardened by the Canadian cold, or that I’ve nested myself too comfortably in this culture of sorries and eh’s. But I’m not one bit partial to this movement.
But you’re a woman?
Of course I’m a woman.
But you don’t care about gender rights?
Of course I do.
But you don’t care about the Women’s March on Washington?
Those do not correlate.
Take a read from the following excerpt, extracted from the event’s Facebook page:
The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us–women, immigrants of all statuses, those with diverse religious faiths particularly Muslim, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native and Indigenous people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, the economically impoverished and survivors of sexual assault. We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear.
This does not look to me to be about advancing the rights of my gender. To me, this is an outlet for the anger that is not getting who you wanted for president. For the frustration that was the Orlando Shooting. For the restlessness that was terrorism. For the disappointment that was Brexit. For all the lost fights of 2016.
I am a woman. I care about gender rights. But I am not with her. At least not in the context of this movement pretending to be for advancing the rights of women.
I will not agree to any single agenda that claims to represent the dreams and goals anyone who is a woman. Because such a thing does not exist. That’s what’s beautiful about being human. I will, however, honour the system that is democracy despite its shortcomings because even with all of these flaws I am still damn lucky to be a part of it. I will recognize that in a society that is priviledged enough to have the opportunity of figuring itself out there will be disagreement, and there will be disunity. And that disunity should be in hopes of achieving unity, and the disagreement in progression towards deeper understanding. These are not excuses for kicking the dog when shit don’t go your way.
In a world where we are increasingly seeing only what we want to see (thanks Facebook), without a doubt we’ll have greater and greater trouble seeing eye-to-eye with anyone who bursts that bubble. It’s easy to believe that something’s wrong with the world and that it needs fixing if the news popping up on your feed looks nothing like the world as it is.
Here’s to you America, and anyone whose hearts are feeling broken: this is your chance to reconnect, to re-evaluate, and truly restart. Not with another post of self-righteousness. Be patient, and do what’s in your power to make positive change starting with those closest to you, those who you care about most. Why should I care what that middle-aged man with a permanent pout and corn-yellow hair thinks? I’m focusing on making an impact on those closest to me, those whose opinions matter to me most.
How are you going to make that change?
Oh, and to whoever said “Don’t forget to set your clocks back 300 years tonight”, it may have been @chrisrock, for the record, we’ve made huge progress in placing our trust in democracy and its results, whatever they may be. If we turned our backs on that now we’d really be turning back our clocks 300 years.
And Obama, you did okay I guess.
It is He who changes the times and the epochs;
He removes kings and establishes kings;
He gives wisdom to wise men
And knowledge to men of understanding.
Tahini Date Truffles
2 c chopped pitted dates, no need to splurge on medjools for these
1 c raw almonds, ground in your blender or food processor
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 c raw cacao or cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 c tahini
Place all ingredients in a food processor in the order listed. Pulse until the mixture begins to clump together. If the mixture still appears dry after 2-3 minutes, add a tablespoon of water at a time until it comes together.
Shape into bite-sized balls and roll in cocoa. Shake off any excess in a sieve.
Store in Ziploc bags in the freezer. Don’t worry, they won’t freeze hard!
Enjoy straight from the fridge, with a cup of uber creamy and frothy matcha coconut flat white!
Coconut Matcha Flat White
1/2 tsp ceremonial grade matcha powder
2/3 c hot water, about 80 degrees F
1/4 c full fat coconut milk (not the stuff you put in your cereal)
Place the matcha in a mug and add about 1 tbsp of hot water. Use a milk frother (I used this one) to mix it up evenly.
Add the rest of the water and continue frothing for 25-30 seconds.
Meanwhile, heat the coconut milk in another cup piping hot, about 1 minute.
Froth up the coconut milk the best you can, because of its low protein and high fat content it won’t form the nice fine foam you might be expecting.
If you asked an economist if free trade was a good idea, he would probably say yes. He might even give you a look, to make you feel slightly embarrassed for asking such a dumb question.
If you asked an economist why free trade was a good idea, he would probably say that it increases world prosperity and peace.
And if you were really in a mood to learn you’d then ask the economisthow free trade increases world prosperity and peace, and he would tell you a little story.
Joe can make five pizzas or ten sandwiches in an hour. Jill can make eight pizzas or fifteen sandwiches in an hour. If Joe does what he’s best at, and Jill does what she’s best at, then in one hour there would be a total of ten sandwiches by Joe and eight pizzas by Jill. Which is more than what they would have produced if they each produced both goods.
So since both Joe and Jill can enjoy to a greater quantity of goods, both have increased their wealth. As for the promise of peace, since they now have to depend on each other in order to acquire the good they’ve ceased to produce, both are less likely to pick a fight.
Seems solid, right? Those guys at New Hampshire and sure thought so. In fact, they loved it so much that they had to tell the whole world about it at Uruguay.
But hey, what if Joe never learned to make pizzas?
On paper all’s still well and good, we still get Joe to make the ten sandwiches and Jill to make the eight pizzas. No biggie, right?
But you see, Jill’s smart and she knows that Joe can’t make pizzas. So what does Jill do? She keeps on increasing the price of her pizzas, ain’t nothing Joe can do to stop that. Okay, now an angry Joe starts to increase the price of his sandwiches too, both so he can continue to buy Jill’s pizzas and maybe a little out of spite too. And here’s the trippy bit: Jill’s actually pretty good at making sandwiches herself, so she doesn’t have to take Joe’s marked up sammies.
So poor Joe, with all his extra sandwiches that will soon go bad, has no choice but to lower his price to what they were originally or even lower in order for Jill to want to buy again. As for the pizzas? They’re still expensive as parmigiano reggiano.
In fact, Joe might be better off not trading in the first place – at least it would have made him learn his pizza skills.
Now, what’s Joe and Jill have to do with sugar you ask?
Well, let me ask you this: what if Jill had factories and farms but Joe only had plantations?
“Bad, bad,” says the buyer.
But when he goes his way, then
Some people use whole eggs for their creme brulee, but as far as I’m concerned, creme brulee is all about that khhhrehme, and egg whites get in the way of that and degrade what’s supposed to be an euphoric experience clinging to the corner of your lips to a weird jiggly flan. So I use only yolks, eight of them. The result? A creme brulee of which Amélie would approve.
Cardamom Creme Brulée:
2 generous c heavy cream
1 generous c milk
1/4 tsp each ground black cardamom and cinnamon
1/2 tsp pure vanilla
8 egg yolks
1/4 c sugar
Combine the cream, milk, spices, and vanilla in a saucepan and bring almost to a simmer (the surface should start to froth), stirring occasionally. Do not let the mixture boil.
In a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until the sugar has fully dissolved and the mixture is pale.
While whisking so your yolks don’t scramble, slowly pour the hot cream mixture into the egg yolks until smooth.
Strain the mixture into a large beaked measuring glass and pour into six ramekins.
Use a blow torch to torch away the bubbles at the top and set in a water bath.
Bake at 300 degrees F for 50-60 minutes, or until the edges are set. Don’t worry if they still look pretty fluid in the middle. (Without egg whites these have very little protein to set them while they’re still hot, but there is a bunch of butterfat in them which will set as they chill.)
Chill overnight, uncovered in the fridge or until set.
Notes on brulée-ing:
Fact #1: You SHOULD NOT brulée it right before you serve.
This is counter-intuitive, I know. But there are three reasons for this. One, if you’re afraid that the sugar crust will melt, it won’t as long as you don’t cover your creme brulées with plastic wrap – the fridge will keep the surface nice and dry which keeps your sugar crust robust for a good three hours or so. Two, the heat of your blow torch actually effects not just the sugar on top but also the custard underneath. Since your custard’s texture is largely due to the firmness of the butterfat from chilling, it can actually start to melt as you torch it. Therefore it’s a good idea to re-chill the custard after the torching to bring it back to that super thick and creamy consistency. Three, you don’t want your guests to be waiting around for their creme brulée, pure and simple.
Fact #2: There’s ALOT of white sugar involved.
Yup, there’s actually more sugar in the crust than the custard. You’ll need 1 tbsp for each sugar crust, and there’s only 4 tbsp of sugar in all six custards. Do the math. Also, do take care to sprinkle it on evenly.
Fact #3: You DO need a blow torch.
In case you didn’t read the recipe, you needed it for getting rid of the bubbles at the top already. Also, it gives you much better control over the sugar crust. And um…it’s kind of badass, at least I think so. Hold it at a 45 degree angle with the flame 2-inches away from the sugar. Wave back and forth repeatedly while rotating your custard and your should be good as…golden brown?
And again, don’t forget to re-chill after torching!