**By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the Wild Blueberry Association of North America and I am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.**
Pots de crème is a type of French custard. It literally translates to “pots of cream” and was named so because the dish was usually served in delicate porcelain cups in 17th century France.
Custards are very simple, yet very versatile. They can be used as a carrier for many flavors, which is great when you can’t use a straight-foward, alcohol-based extract. When I have a botanical flavor that I want to contribute to a dessert, the quickest way I do it is by infusing the botanical into the liquid of my recipe, like a tea. The hemlock is a very delicate flavor, and I found an infusion to be the best way to get the essential oils to come through the flavor profile.
It’s the end of March, and spring is showing its colors. It’s so glorious and quite possibly my favorite season. Each day something new is blooming – first the daffodils, then the tulip magnolias, then the cherry trees and redbuds, all unfolding like a much anticipated story. And no matter how many times I’ve seen a cherry tree blossom, I’m still in awe of its beauty.
1. Create An Intimate Space
Nothings says romantic like a cozy nook – a little getaway that makes you feel far removed from the chaos of the outside world. The hollow of a low-limbed tree. A garden teepee. A barn loft. A luxurious canopy bed. Whatever space you love, let it hug you. I tend to love the little spaces nature already provides, but you can create a tiny world of wonderment just in the corner of your living room.
Panna cotta is a bite of heaven. Italian for “cooked cream”, panna cotta is one of those desserts that seems like only a professional should attempt making it. I kept putting off making it because I figured since only fancy restaurants have them, they must be more complicated than everyone says. It’s elegant and eye-catching, but it is so very easy to make.
Beets are a vegetable – I am sorry to admit – that my immature tongue refused for years. But with the coming of age, your taste buds transform, and now I am happy to say that I love beets! And black coffee, and dandelion greens, and strong cheese! All the things that make me feel like a distinguished gourmand, when in reality I just have the palate of a normal adult. It’s not that I’ve completely abandoned my adolescent cravings – like ice cream, my Epicurean heel – it’s just now I do odd things like add BEETS to ice cream.
If you love nature and what it offers to our tables, then you are probably like me – full of wonderment and excitement – when a new natural food is brought to our attention. When I stumbled upon red walnuts in the market, I knew I had to utilize their beauty in a bake. I also had been wanting to experiment with the botanical syrups I had in my cupboard, so I thought that the light floral of rose would complement the earthy nuttiness of walnuts in a sweet confection. It’s all quite romantic. Certainly roses are. As for the walnuts, the red color evokes that romanticism, but being known as “blood walnuts” in their native lands of Central Europe also adds a certain romantic dark charm.
Great British Bake Off 2015: Episode 8: Pâtissière
The quarter finals of the Great British Bake Off challenged the bakers in the realm of French pâtissière. And a challenge it was! The contestants had to take on cream horns, mokatines, and a show-stopping religieuse a l’ancienne. Most people know what a cream horn is, but the mokatines and religieuse are a little more elusive, especially here in America. Mokatines are intricate, coffee flavored petit fours. And the religieuse…