Tuesday, May 31, 2011

TWD: Caramel Pots de Creme


It's ridiculous how blase I've become about baking. Over the past 3-4 years, I went from someone who, while knowing the general steps of baking, was tentative in them to someone who just whips up cakes and cookies and pots de creme at the drop of a hat. Crazy, especially when you realize that for many of my first blog posts, I had moral support in the kitchen. Friends who I'd drag over to my teeny tiny Wisconsin apartment so that if something went wrong, I had help to fix it. Ignore the fact that most of them weren't actually adept enough in the kitchen to truly help. Seriously, one was straight out of the generation of canned soup + meat + noodles = dinner. Cheese counted for bonus points. How in the world was she supposed to help me if I burnt caramel? Nonetheless, this particular friend stood by me and chatted while I put together a Black and White Chocolate Cake - my very first Tuesday with Dorie dessert. She was also around (and actually helped!) when I made baked doughnuts for the first time.



But now? Well, to illustrate the point, I'll have to explain my thought process about this week's pick, caramel pots de creme. First, I actually know what pots de creme are. I also knew that we were flying to Nebraska mid-day last Friday, returning home around midnight last night. So I need to make these, oh, sometime very very soon. Especially given the fact that I had lost quite a bit of baking time thanks to the trip to Sacramento. So Thursday night, right after dinner, I pulled out the book. Two eggs. Five egg yolks. Sugar, milk, cream. Combine that with my distinct meh-ness about creamy desserts, and you have a solution that I wouldn't have tried in a million years just three years ago. I one-sixthed the dessert. Used one yolk, caramelized a mere tablespoon of sugar, and generally just winged it. Expecting a quicker-than-instructed bake time (my oven runs hot), I pulled them out at 20 minutes and let them rest for ten. Jiggly. Back in the oven they went, now for another 10 minutes. Another ten minute rest, and we were good to go. 45 minutes from start to finish, and I had a dessert that would have given me serious anxiety not too long ago. Crazy, right?



It makes me wonder about all those people who say they can't cook, or bake, or do anything in the kitchen other than open a box of mac & cheese or a can of soup. What if they just made one new thing, every week? If things were chosen that were easy or had good instructions, and ingredients that were actually familiar - would people be a bit less scared of the kitchen, and of cooking? I'd like to think so.



Last Week: Oatmeal Nutmeg Scones
Next Week: Blueberry Brown Sugar Plain Cake (oh, be still my heart... we're already getting local berries here!)

6 comments:

Marcela said...

I agree with you, it is such a pity that people are scared of baking. And baking can be such a joy!

BTW, your pots de crème look great!

Peggy the Baker said...

I completely agree about having a good set of instructions and trying something new. Instead of being in awe of caramel, I feel like I can achieve caramel greatness! Thanks for baking with me this week!

Becky said...

Oooh, those look delicious! Also, thanks for the link to the doughnuts post--definitely adding those to my "to bake" list!

Jennifer said...

That looks awesome! And I completely agree about people who are scared to bake/cook. Growing up, my dad always told my brother and I "If you can read, you can cook". At 23, I'm still amazed how many of my friends can't (won't) cook, and who insist upon Hamburger Helper and ramen as their primary food sources. Get something really basic, like "The Joy of Cooking", and work your way on from there! Phew, rant over. By the way, I'm coming out of the lurking shadows because I agree so strongly with what you said, and because I think you rock!

Megan Gordon said...

I smiled reading this... when I first started my own baking business I was so uptight and stringent about baking times/standards/rules. And that's all good...but yes, you get to a point where it's like, "meh. looks like you're going to need another 10" and just going with the flow a little more. Lovely looking recipe. Happy to have stumbled upon your blog again after too, too much time...

TeaLady said...

Agree. Never made anything from scratch til joined in with TWD. Thank goodness for Dorie. She taught me how to really bake!!

How do you ever make such small amounts. Whew!!