Oct 10 2010

Milk and Eggs, Four Ways

Published by at 5:33 pm under Cooking Classes,Dessert

Who knew there were so many ways to combine eggs, sugar and milk into a classic French dessert? You’d be surprised.

Those were the main ingredients in the dishes my cooking class made during our Friday workshop, which was all about sweet custards. Each student cooked either Crème Brulée, Crème Caramel, Oeufs à la Neige or Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream, which all start out with the same combo.

I crossed my fingers hard for the Crème Brulée, because walking around the kitchen with a giant blowtorch is something of a fantasy. Instead, I was assigned to the dish I was least familiar with, the Oeufs à la Neige. It’s basically little blobs (canelles) of meringue poached in water and served over a base of Crème Anglaise (custard). Then you drizzle caramel on top. I was feeling pretty pleased with myself for actually finishing it (after one discarded pan of caramel) and for some Jackson Pollock-style drizzling effects.

The Crème Caramel (I’ve got one in my own oven as I type!):

The Ice Cream, made with real vanilla beans and served with an incredible caramel sauce. It involved making caramel on the stove, adding in some hot milk and rounding it out with butter, and it was every bit as rich as it sounds.

And finally, the Crème Brulée.

My instructor invited interested parties to try their hand at the torch after the custard finished baking, so my wish came true! After the custard is cooked, you pour a very generous layer of white sugar on the surface and then torch it, moving the flame constantly so as not to char it beyond recognition.

Clearly, we’re all still learning on that last part.

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