Weekly Dish Blog - My Worst Cooking Failure
Well, we probably all have had them, but I had a real winner once. Here’s my kitchen disaster that I’ve still not lived down in my family.
After having crème brulee for
the first time in a very nice restaurant, I thought “How hard can
this be? It’s just custard!” So we were having some family over
for a birthday dinner, and I decided to forego the traditional birthday
cake and opted for a coconut crème brulee instead! I was religiously
following a recipe and lined up all my ingredients on the counter, Food
In went the heavy cream, the sugar, the many eggs, the coconut milk and vanilla. Mix, mix, mix, pour into crème brulee dishes, set them in a pan of water and bake low and slow. “How easy was that”, I thought to myself smugly as I cleaned up the kitchen.
Let me interject here by explaining that in a neat freak frenzy a few weeks prior, I organized my pantry by putting my sugar in a clear glass jar, as well as brown sugar, salt, baking soda, etc. The pantry was a thing of beauty.
Okay, fast forward a couple of hours to my great crème brulee unveiling. As I’m sure you know, you always sprinkle a little sugar on top of the crème brulee and then you “torch it”. The name “crème brulee” actually means burnt cream. The “burnt” part is achieved by torching the sugar on top, thereby creating a crust that is wonderful to crunch through with your spoon till you get to the creamy goodness that IS crème brulee.
So, my teenage son couldn’t wait to man the torch. I sprinkled the sugar and gave him the go ahead. Torch, torch, torch. Nothing’s melting. More sugar. More torching. Nothing. Oh well. Maybe there’s a trick to it, but never mind, it’ll still taste good. Pass out the crème brulees in those cute little dishes. As I was basking in the “oohs” and “aahs”, my brother-in-law took a spoonful and I happened to be looking right at him as he put it in his mouth. The face he made is still ingrained in my mind. It was the face of someone who just tasted something horrible but yet didn’t know how to delicately get rid of it. Just as I was wondering what his problem was, the rest of my family followed suit, all making that same face. Well, if you haven’t figured it out by now, I had added a cup of SALT instead of SUGAR, due to the non-labeling of my nifty little pantry jars. You can imagine what a lovely custard would taste like if there was a cup of SALT in it rather than sugar! Kinda makes your mouth pucker just thinking about it, doesn’t it?
We all laughed and went out for dessert,
but that was about 13 years ago, and I still get kidded about it. Needless
to say, I now own a label maker.
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