You know your friendship is solid when you ask your gal pal, “Hey are you free on Saturday night?” and she responds with “um, that depends. What are you doing? I may not want to hang out with you.”
I'm so glad that's she's not concerned about my ego or anything.
Let’s just say that if you want to guarantee that your friend thinks that what you're planning is interesting enough, you should always answer with “Crème brûlée and Hamilton!”
We should back up just a minute here to explain why that answer is so compelling. First things first, everyone has heard of Hamilton by now, right? The smash hit Broadway musical from way back in 2015 that actually got Americans interested in history - yes? Believe it or not, as of a few weeks ago I still hadn’t seen it! But that’s ok because it’s on Disney Plus and I had been planning to watch it for months. And once my dear friend found out that watching Hamilton was my plan, she got fully on board and we’ve just been waiting to find the right time. And Saturday night was it!
Her birthday also just passed and we weren’t able to get together to celebrate on her actual birthday, so I told her that we would celebrate at a later date. Typically I try to make a cake for my friends’ birthdays the first year that we’re friends (I move to new cities frequently, so I make new friends a lot, which means that I tend to celebrate birthdays for the first time quite often) and then if they want to order birthday cakes or cookies from me after that, they’re welcome to. But with this particular friend, our locations have not synced up for our birthdays until this year. So it’s showtime!
I was ready to make her something ridiculously amazing with gumpaste flowers,
maybe some sprinkles,
perhaps even a drizzle of syrup on top (seriously, ask her about the syrup story 🤣)
to make this an extra special cake for her. When I asked her what type of birthday cake she would like, she completely surprised me by replying with, “I want crème brûlée.”
I can totally do that.
It’s just not what I was expecting! But bless my darling friends, they sure do keep me on my toes (remember the skull cake topper request? 😳). So crème brûlée it is! But really is that enough? I mean this woman edits and proofreads my resume and cover letter like a pro, puts up with my temper tantrums when someone* has given up sugar (*it was her. We generally aren’t friends in January when her New Year’s resolutions start. But then February rolls around and we're friends again.), and she encourages me to go out for a run with her at least once a month so that I don’t give up on MY New Year’s resolutions entirely. #LikeABoss
So no, I didn’t think just crème brûlée is enough. I needed to ply her with MORE sugar to make this a special one. Typically when I make crème brûlée, I serve it with plain old biscotti. Which is fine, but we’re not going for fine here, we’re going for SPECIAL. Therefore, I decided to add pistachio flour to the biscotti recipe and voila! Now we have an amazing birthday treat: fresh made crème brûlée with pistachio biscotti.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get any glamour shots of the crème brûlée with the biscotti because as you can see in the video... we ate it almost immediately.
The main reason she wanted crème brûlée is because she wanted to use my kitchen torch to brûlée the crème. And I can’t really blame her - I regularly feel the need to set things on fire (I think it’s a family trait - one of my uncles is a borderline pyro at 4th of July gatherings. I think the flame-throwing gene activated in me once knives and fire became a constant fixture in my kitchen. And let's face it, sometimes it’s just awesome to wield a flame.)
When the time came to torch the sugar on top, I showed her how to coat the crème with sugar and torch it. Here’s my tip of the week for brûlée-ing sugar: do two layers! Pour a small amount of sugar on top of the crème and shake it around to thoroughly cover the top in a thin layer of sugar. Torch it. Then cover the caramelized sugar in another layer of sugar and torch it again. The two layers of sugar provides the perfect texture for your spoon to crack through. (Listen for the delicious crack in the video!)
Happy eating, y’all!