Culinarily Contrived Condolences

When I came home yesterday I was in a funk. I had been all alone while at work (both my boss and my office-mate were gone) and being alone for 9 hours straight can do wonders for a person’s sense of isolation and social awkwardness. I came home, changed out of my work clothes, put on The Bobs (SpongeBob slippers. The left one has a wee mustache and is named “Monsieur LeBob” and the right one is just “Bob”), and went into the kitchen fully intending to make dinner.

What did I make instead? Creme brulee. Yep, neither substantive nor nutritive but so much fun to make. Wes came home and didn’t notice the chocolate and cream in the saucepan but when I pulled out my little brulee torch he realized I wasn’t making ground beef. He took the dog for a walk while I melted the chocolate into the cream, mixed up egg yolks, vanilla, sugar, and salt, and combined the two mixtures and added them to the little custard cups.

I made my chocolate creme brulee which has the sugar crust on the bottom. It’s helpful to do this step first because torching the sugar takes for-friggin-ever! Also, it’s fun to listen to the sugar crust cracking as it cools. It sounds like the world tiniest little percussion section.

When Wes came home, the little cremes were in the oven and I was starting on our actual dinner. Dinner turned out fine and when the oven chimed I pulled the little cremes out and tested one for consistency.

Now, you want a creme brulee to “set”, meaning that it assumes the consistency of custard. Firm yet pliant. Mine were not firm. They were jiggly. Too jiggly. That is when I knew that my poor little creme brulees were indeed star-cross’d.

What makes me so sad about this is that while they were delicious they were not creme brulee. They were nothing more than glorified pudding. Now, I love me some pudding, but not when it’s the result of my failed creme brulee.

Also adding to my sadness is that, for the first time, I was sharing my chocolate creme brulee (of which I have bragging for about a year) with my sister-in-law who loves both chocolate and creme brulee. I invited her to partake of the little cups-o-custard and was very excited to share them with her.

When I realized that they had not set properly I was very distressed because, well, dang it! Is there anything more disappointing than trying to make creme brulee and having it turn out pudding?! No, I didn’t think so either.

Sure, you can have a Jack Bauer kind of day wherein you continually try to save the country only to be thwarted at the zenith of every hour for 24 straight consecutive hours but really, that is nothing compared to losing a batch of wonderfully chocolatey creme brulee.

I’m sure my sister-in-law thought they were yummy, because they were, but I’ll forever be branded the deliverer of failed creme brulee. The purloiner of spontaneous Monday-chocolate-craving dreams, the dastardly delayer of culinary satisfaction.

So today I hang my head in shame, mourning those little cups of chocolate custard that should have been. Little cups they were, yes, and chocolate they were as well. But custard…no, custard they never were. In pace requiescat.

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