Great news! Truffle is coming to visit me in Davidson, NC! She arrives in a couple of days and will be here through the weekend. I have been excitedly planning fun foodie things for us to do together. In addition to trying out various Southern dishes and traipsing through the country side to take photos of barns and water tanks, on the itinearary is a cooking lesson at our country club. I have invited my blog-reading friends to join us for the evening of "Learn to Make Desserts with Cinnamon & Truffle." But, neither Cinnamon nor Truffle will be teaching, it will be The Chef at the club.
One dessert that I have requested The Chef to teach us is my all time favorite - Creme Brulee. I first discovered my love for Creme Brulee at the staff canteen at Flemings. I started my career at Flemings in London, then one of Britain's blue blooded investment banks, well known in Asia for its joint venture with Jardine Matheson, Jardine Fleming. I was a bright faced, smiling young girl who loved working in the City in my tailored suits and my string of pearls. I don't think I quite realized how fortunate I was to have landed the job.
It was a special place to work at. In honor of its Scottish roots, the day always started at 7:30 am with bag pipe music floating up through the seven-story atrium of metal and glass where each floor was lined with Scottish art. Building security was manned by retired Scottish guards and there were a couple who could play the bag pipes, and it was their duty to help instill and remind us of the pomp and splendor of glories past. Lunch time was always looked forward to by its employees. The young graduates would plan to meet at the canteen most days. Lunch was a choice of three main dishes (one always vegetarian), a large salad bar, side vegetables, and a dessert bar. It was at that bar that I discovered my love. Did I mention that lunch was a benefit to all employees at no charge? Yes, and the senior folks had their own canteen, called The Director's Table. You were served at your table in that room. Too busy for lunch? No worries, you could order sandwiches that would be delivered to your floor in a paper bag with an apple or banana to boot.
So, since those early days, I have earnestly looked for creme brulee of the same standard. Sometimes I find it, and most often I don't. Room temperature custard, almost warm, creamy, with a sweet, crusty top the color of brown glass. Tap, tap, and you crunch through it into its depth. The problem with creme brulee in the U.S. is that it is often too cold in the middle. I was discussing this with The Chef the other day and he reckoned it was because they use ramekins that are too deep. "It has to be shallow enough that the custard gets warmed up when you use the blow torch to create the crust." Let's see if he can do it this Thursday evening at the club.
Dear Truffle, I look forward to your visit! Don't forget to bring your camera!
The art work is by Peploe, from the collection of art from the Fleming Art Collection that was originally housed in the building that I worked in many years ago....