Custards

There’s a reason creme brulee sells well at restaurants. It’s silky, rich custard topped with a thin sheet of caramelized sugar. When you break through it with your spoon you’re left with an incredible experience of sweet, creamy and smooth, with crunchy and bitter rounding it all out. Delicious. They’re pretty simple to make, too. All you need to do is a bit of minor planning, since they need to chill for about four hours. Make them now, or tomorrow, and eat them on Valentine’s Day. Just a thought. I’ve added some spice to kick up the chocolate a little in this recipe, but feel free to omit the spices and celebrate just plain chocolate. I like to serve creme brulee with some fresh fruit, or crunchy cookies. But it’s [...]

Oh, this is good. Lemon-scented brioche buns split, filled with luscious roasted strawberry ice cream, and topped with a generous dusting of powdered sugar. A new take on ‘strawberry shortcake’!? I think yes. I can’t believe I never thought of this before. Brioche is a French bread that almost tastes like it could be cake. The texture is incredibly tender with a tight crumb. As a professional pastry chef, I can say that this kind of dough is your ultimate secret weapon in the kitchen. It makes the best cinnamon rolls, fries up the best doughnuts, and is excellent for french toast and bread pudding. I was already smitten with brioche a long time ago, when we met in pastry school. But to sandwich creamy, frozen custard in between it? [...]

Sometimes I walk into my kitchen and just stand there. How much of a mess do I feel like making? If I have to contemplate my cleaning procedures, then I usually remind myself that sometimes simple is best. However you choose to plate it… Bring on banana pudding. Stovetop custards and puddings are practically instant gratification. Throw your milk, sugar, and vanilla in a pot. Separate your egg yolks in a bowl with a little starch. Heat, temper, and cook until thick. DONE. Now you’re left with spoonfuls of pure comfort. When I used to work at the restaurant, sometimes I would amaze myself at how quickly I could make things happen. Oh, we now have 10 more people added on to this set menu? That starts in 1 hour? [...]

There’s just something about chocolate and cheesecake. This recipe is the love child of two of my heaviest hitters. I combined fudgy chocolate truffle cake with smooth, creamy, and tangy cheesecake. And the best part? You don’t have to live at altitude to make this recipe, and you also can enjoy it as part of a gluten-free diet! The two layers could also be baked individually. Sometimes I will bake the chocolate truffle cake in a 9 x 13 pan and serve it as super decadent brownies. On other occasions I will bake it in a circular cake pan and cut it into thin wedges, accompanied with some blood orange or coffee gelato. At the restaurant, I used to bake the cheesecake without a crust and served crunchy walnut tuiles [...]

Living in the Rockies means you go through massive quantities of windshield wiper fluid every year. I’m not kidding. Drive down the Vail Pass when the roads are wet and just try to see through your windows. It’s ironic to think that this light and powdery snow could create such a big mess when it melts. I’ve been eyeing my truck each day for a week now, debating a trip to the car wash. After work today I finally settled on an express wash since more snow is in the forecast. These white coffee pot de cremes remind me of that white, pristine snow. Their appearance is misleading, because within they harbor deep, delicious notes of coffee. The cream is steeped with coffee beans, so the custard is infused with [...]

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