October 14, 2009

Adventures in French Cooking

So far my family has been gracious about my adventurous cuisine but you know what they say: Real men don't eat quiche. So when the menu for the week was

Quiche Lorraine
Creme Brulee

I decided to feed my friends who have been keeping up with my cooking plans and have been anxious to try some for themselves.

Well, as you know from here and here, French cooking is a contact sport. It's a tie-your-hair-back, don-an-apron-with-big-pockets, make-a-potty-trip-first kind of activity. In other words, it takes a loooooong time to make. Thankfully it didn't take so long for this meal.

The Creme Brulee was made the night before to give it time to set. Other than the batter bath I gave myself (refer back to the apron tip) it went smoothly. Two cups of creme mixed with eggs and sugar plus homemade caramel brittle for the topping. Délicieux! And nary a blow torch in site. Hear my husband's sigh of relief.

The next day I started early on the pie crust for the quiche. I love pie crust. Especially made with real butter. Julia's recipe called for 3/4 cup butter plus 4 Tbsp. of shortening, which I didn't have so I used butter. :) She even gave me permission to blend it in my food processor. I love you Julia! While the crust was baking I whipped up more eggs and cream for the quiche-y part while my son sizzled some bacon(because I only specialize in the black kind). It wasn't until after I had added the bacon and quiche-y part to the crust and put it back into the oven that I realised that not only did I not prick holes in the bottom of the crust and baked it for 5 more minutes like the recipe said but I also forgot to add an ingredient to the crust. I've never put sugar in pie crust before. How was I supposed to know? I mean besides the fact that it was written in front of me. I figured no one would notice if I didn't tell them.

When the quiche came out of the oven it smelled like heaven and looked like Jupiter. Now I see why it's so important to prick holes in the bottom of the crust. There was a big brown spot where the crust had grown a tumor. I considered putting some silk flowers over it but those things are dirty. Then I considered making more crust cut in a pretty shape to set over it but I was running out of time. Then I decided to love it despite its looks and eat the crusty part myself.

This is the point where I pull out the Creme Brulee. I knew it didn't set right when it slopped over my hand when I took it from the fridge. Hmmm. More like Potage Brulee(potage means soup). Friends arriving in 10 minutes. Just sprinkle on the caramel brittle and set it on the table. Caramel brittle mostly sinks to the bottom. "But," think I, "it will still taste fab. Right?"

Of course it did. After all, this is Julia's recipe. Jupiter quiche is delish and Potage Brulee is still yummy. My friends ate and laughed and agreed to be my guinea pigs again sometime.

So I learned that pie crust doesn't need shortening or sugar but it does need to be pricked and baked a little longer. And I learned that the recipe for Creme Brulee will not yield what one expects but my friends will gladly drink it from a bowl with me. Tres Bon!


Charley said...

That's too bad that your creme brulee didn't set, since that first crack is such a rewarding feeling, but everything looks delicious nonetheless.

Petunia said...

The recipes are pretty complicated, and I've found a printing error once already(maybe related to the Creme Brulee, I don't remember). If you don't know what you're doing, like me, then you can easily end up with something unexpected. But I'm loving it none the less.

bermudaonion said...

I make quiche fairly often but I cheat and buy refrigerated pie crust.

Zibilee said...

I so admire you for trying out all these recipes, it sounds like you are having a great time and learning a lot too. And I also think it's really nice that your friends drank your creme brulee with you. These posts are always so funny, and I look forward to reading more of them.

Petunia said...

BermudaOnion-I considered that but I love how a fresh made crust feels. I don't even mind the mess of making it. It just tastes that good.

Zibilee-As long as my fans appreciate my work I will keep appreciating my fans. ;)

Ti said...

I'd eat this meal in a second! Cream, sugar and butter. It's all good.

Linda said...

I've never made either. I applaud your willingness to try. You'll try again and share the results right?

Petunia said...


Linda-I'm trying to make a meal a week. Stay tuned for the next installment.