Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sweet Daydreams Are Made of This

There are a lot of things that come to mind when I have to really focus on


something (Alberto's duck at Il Pomodoro, pomegranates from Dushanbe, perfect piroshki,) but statistics have never been top on my list.


Figures just aren't my forte. And that sort of gross understatement would have Miss McCullough, my math teacher for six long purgatorial years at school, tossing violently in her grave.


I was pathetic. Couldn't manage to add six plus seven without looking blankly up at her scowling face -- a tinge of apoplectic purple around the jowls with rage by the time she worked her way to the back of the class where I habitually cowered. "Six plus seven, Miss Sinclair," she hollered, spittle flying dramatically.


Confronted with such a barrage of violence, I naturally froze. All my thought processes shut down -- except for the bit that noticed her exceptionally prominent nostril hair.


"Six plus seven," she repeated. I secretly counted on my fingers under the desk while she ranted and frothed above me. It didn't take that long for me to realize that I only had 10 fingers and therefore six plus seven was going to be forever beyond my reach.


Thirteen, I know, I know. It's seared into my brain. But not much else is. I can't count my chickens before they hatch, I can't add up my bills, can't add on value-added tax, but you can count on me for turning up a choice little statistic for this week's column.


A recent issue of Bon Appetit magazine revealed this beauty: In a group of 400 adults, the New York-based Alden group found that 33.5 percent of respondents admitted to thinking about dessert between four and eight times a day. Fifty-nine percent confessed to eating dinner just for the sweet finale; and 41 percent claimed they'd be happy to skip dinner and head directly to the cakes and pies.


Who are these 400 people? They sound like my type of dinner guests: Forget the protein, give us sweets!


And if dessert is all you are dreaming about, go for something simple but rich. This dessert lets you disgrace yourself among friends -- drippy rich orange sauce to be mopped up by French crepes. This recipe serves six. But don't count on it.





Crepes Suzette


125 grams plain flour


1/2 tablespoon sugar


a pinch of salt


3 eggs


1 1/4 cups milk


1/2 cup pouring cream


1 tablespoon Cointreau or Curacao


clarified butter





for the sauce:


6 lumps white sugar


1 orange


180 grams softened butter


180 grams sugar


3 tablespoons Cointreau or Curacao


Juice of two medium oranges





Place the flour, sugar and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Stir in the eggs, one at a time, with a wooden spoon. Pour in 1/2 cup of the milk until the mixture is combined. Stir in the cream and the rest of the milk. Add the tablespoon of liqueur, stir well and let sit in the refrigerator for at least half an hour.


This will give you time to clarify the butter -- this is the best way to stop your butter burning at high heat when you cook the crepes. Clarifying removes water, sediment and salt.


Place a large pat of butter in a heavy-based saucepan and melt very gently over low heat. Once it has all melted and isn't bubbling, remove from the heat and let it cool. Place a clean dish towel or muslin cloth in a sieve and let the warm melted butter drip through into a bowl. Allow to completely cool to store. You can use the luke-warm clarified butter, however, for your crepes.


Heat a heavy-based frying pan and brush with a little of the clarified butter. Carefully ladle in a small amount of batter into the pan (thin, thin, thin) and cook the crepe until golden. Remove and keep warm.


Continue with all the batter until you have an even number of crepes for your six guests.


For the orange sauce, rub the sugar lumps against the skin of the oranges to absorb all the flavor. With a wooden spoon or very strong wire whisk, work the softened butter and sugar together, add the Cointreau or Curacao and sugar lumps.


Use a wire whisk from now on.


Pour the orange sauce into the pan you used to cook the crepes. Set over high heat and reduce by half. Beat the juice of the two oranges into the sauce and bring to boil. When the sauce is bubbling, lift one crepe at a time with a fork and cover it with the sauce. Fold it into quarters and serve oozing with extra sauce.