Mon Cheri

“…put the bowl on the table and, with a large spoon and unchecked greed, crack through the sugary carapace and delve into the satin-velvet, vanilla-speckled cream beneath. No more talking: just eat.”

– Nigella Lawson, Nigella Bites

While I may be guilty of gluttony in some cases, I most certainly do not associate myself with greed. Except, maybe where creme brulee is concerned. It’s full of fat and cream but it’s my favourite dessert – it’s simple but so delectable – and I agree with Nigella’s instructions: creme brulee is meant to be indulged in and desired with no restrictions.

The recipe I followed is by Nigella and involves no baking – just heat up the cream and vanilla (I used vanilla paste instead of a vanilla bean), whisk up some egg yolks and sugar, combine it together and pop everything back onto the heat to thicken. This, of course, is before you get to revel in some short minutes of feeling like a professional chef with your mini blowtorch when burning up the sugar for the crispy caramel top. You would not believe how excited I was when blue flame gracefully unfolded out of the blowtorch for the first time since I got it as a birthday gift two years ago.

You also wouldn’t believe how long it took me to figure out: a) that the can of butane gas doesn’t attach to the bottom of the blowtorch; and b) how to turn on the torch.

I need more practice burning the sugar but I think I did a fair enough job – each topping responded with a resounding ‘crack!’ when we got into them. It was a-ma-zing.

The texture of the creme was a bit strange to me and I’m not sure if it’s something I did or if it’s just how it is without having been baked. I’m planning on making a variation soon and I’ll bake that to see if there’s a difference.

Of all the desserts I’ve made so far, these creme brulees have set a record for being devoured the fastest and with the most variations of “Yum!” comments. It makes me so happy to be able to help people realise that creme brulee is actually the best dessert in the world, ever 🙂

Ingredients and tools for creme brulee. Photo: Tao Lin

Ingredients and tools for creme brulee. Photo: Tao Lin

Use all the sugar? Definitely not.

Fudge, brownies and various slices are things that I generally don’t choose to eat and my mind doesn’t give these items much more than a cursory acknowledgement of their existence whenever I come across them. I’m not 100 per cent sure of why that is but it might have something to do with the fact that I find them incredibly rich, sweet and not very filling. 

I did, however, have a fair bit of evaporate milk left over from when I made pumpkin pie and I wanted to use it up before I inevitably spill the can all over the inside of my fridge. A quick Google search gave me this recipe for chocolate marshmallow brown sugar fudge, which surprisingly tickled my fancy (I think it was the marshmallows ;)). 

The process, as I followed it, wasn’t complicated at all. The most time consuming part was chopping all that chocolate up. And by “all that chocolate”, I mean only half the amount of chocolate as required by the recipe (recipe asked for 300g of milk chocolate, I used just under 150g). I also used less than half the amount of brown sugar (130g as opposed to 300g) and much less than half the amount of marshmallows (two handfuls rather than 225g).

The fudge turned out lovely and creamy and very, very sweet. It makes me feel a bit sick to think how much sweeter it would have been if I had followed the recipe exactly. I have a massive sweet tooth but how does anyone stomach THAT much sugar? 

Fudge does have its merits though – apart from being a guilty pleasure, it also makes for an enticing little gift for friends who might be in need of a bit of comfort:

Flowers, chocolates and fudge (lower right-hand corner) for comfort! Photo: Jenny Lee

Flowers, chocolates and fudge (lower right-hand corner) for comfort! Photo: Jenny Lee

Despite not being the biggest fan of fudge, I enjoyed learning how to make it and actually learning what ingredients are in it, something which I had no idea of a day ago. 

Photo: Tao Lin

Photo: Tao Lin