I’ve been playing with creme anglaise a bit lately, and I had two willing victims^wdiners tonight to iterate on. I started them out with my Andalusian-ish green gazpacho (which still needs *something*) your basic feta and watermelon salad with pepper, and some garlic bread. For dessert I did a straightforward creme anglaise by the thirds- three egg yolks and a third of a cup of sugar for a cup of creme with vanilla. (I used extract. It wasn’t nice.)(I’m poor, ok? Grocery store beans are reamingly expensive. All hail eBay.)
Anyway I picked up this weird green south American fruit I can’t remember the name of, which we’ll call WGSAFICRTNO for short. The WGSAFICRTNO was definitely tropical, and had huge brown seeds, but also vaguely pear like. Raw it had a tang and a touch of bitterness that was, let’s face it, unpleasant. Victim #1, Tina, viewed it with some doubt. I also had a safety mango.
I recommend safety mangos.
I was pretty sure the creme wasn’t really going to cut the problems with the WGSAFICRTNO. I started by squirting some lemon on it, which Tina and I both agreed helped but didn’t fix the problem. Then I remembered one of the slogans I live my life by: Almost anything can be improved by being browned in brown butter. (So I quickly did brown it in butter, but lemony butter.) At the end it was almost apple like, but but more complex. Not every problem was solved, but what was left seemed fixable by the power of custard.
Boy was I right. The custard soothed the last of the WGSAFICRTNO’s hard edges and the WGSAFICRTNO imparted lots of flavor to the neutral richness of the custard. All three of us mango fans shunned my safety dessert in favor of the WGSAFICRTNO in Creme Anglaise, served in a martini glass and garnished with sliced almonds.1
I still like nailing desserts more than savory dishes, because while a good meal will get you strong and loving praise, it takes something decadent and rich and sweet to get your hosts furtively withdrawn, planning how they’ll tie you to the basement on a tether long enough to reach the kitchen. That’s right, for me a meal hasn’t really succeeded until someone plotting to turn me into a culinary gimp against my will.2
I decided afterward the almonds were kind of eh, and it would have been better with pine nuts. And caramel. And then I thought, pine nut caramel! Oh I think so.
1 By shunned the mango I don’t mean didn’t eat it, I mean expressed preference for the WGSAFICRTNO. We aren’t insane.
2 My latex gimp hood will require copious nose holes and either an always open mouth bit, or one I can easily open myself. FYI.