Salted. Browned butter. Caramelized. Rice Krispie Treats. Surely, you can’t hold it against me. Who could resist? These are some of the most enchanting words in the dessert lexicon. I am weak within the earshot of them. And if you can imagine my husband–in his predictable but lovable answer to everything–whispering in my other ear that chocolate chips would really make these babies sing (fine, he doesn’t talk like that, but guess who has the last word here? nya-nya!), you can pretty put together the story of how we ended up with this.
Oh, hi. Did you miss me? Are you hoping for a new you’ve-got-to-make-this-omg recipe today? Well, I’m sorry, because apparently the flan was just the beginning of a string of cooking failures. It’s a shame because I was really excited about this one. First, it was quiche, and real women, you know, eat quiche. Second, it had two pounds of mushrooms in it, and I have a mushroom story (no, not that kind!) I have been meaning to tell you for a year, and this would have been my perfect chance to share it. Third, it was a Thomas Keller recipe, and although I may not be his number one fan, I hear that the man can really cook. Finally, it was called “over the top” and if there is one thing I can’t say no to, it’s a dish a simple as quiche made into something absurdly involved.
1 a.m. Saturday, I texted Alex to say: “Being dragged to M Shanghai now. Flan was an inedible disaster. Will turn in cooking credentials now.”
Really people, it was that bad. My friend Molly took one look at it, pushed it away, and said, “I think I’ll skip this one. Sorry, Deb.” Jocelyn had one bite and pronounced that “This is the first thing that you have ever cooked that I actually didn’t like.” Darren smartly pretended he was too full from dinner to try it. And I nibbled on my spoonful, trying to figure out how something with such glorious flavors as rum, coconut, caramel and vanilla–from a batter that smelled so good, I wanted to wear it as perfume–could go so horribly awry. Oh, and then I drank some bourbon and forgot about it.
I think it pretty much goes without saying that I wasn’t going to be allowed to show up to my parent’s seder tonight without one of these, but when my mother came down at the end of last week with both bronchitis and conjunctivitis in both eyes, did not consider this, perhaps, a sign from above that she would be given a pass on the thirteen-guest dinner tonight and insisted upon foraging ahead, she asked if I could attack the second dessert we’d decided upon–the mighty pavlova–as she wanted to wait until she was no longer contagious to start cooking. I thought that was mighty considerate of her, and of course, had been chomping at the bit to make it anyhow, so I didn’t mind.
When I first saw a recipe for a Lemon Confit Shortbread Tart in Wednesday’s New York Times, I was still too deep in my cooking-failure funk to consider trying my hand with it, although I did say out loud and to nobody in particular, “Well, doesn’t that look nice?” But when making weekend plans with my parents and my mother told me that she’d seen some lemon tart in the paper and really wanted to make it, I knew it was destiny, and secretly rejoiced that it would be someone else coughing up for nine lemons.