No, I’m not kidding! Using only 3 eggs, I managed to make 2 different desserts in a single hour. It was amazing! What did I make? Creme brulee (for a Bookish Bakes post inspired by The Secret French Recipes of Sophie Valroux by Samantha Verant) and coconut macaroons because I’ve been dying for one since 2007.
I was actually a little surprised by how quickly they both went, and how easy they were. I’ve never made either before, so this was kind of fun, kind of a we’ll-see-what-happens-since-I’ve-never-done-this-before. The kids were occupied. The Husband was occupied. It was the perfect time for me to putter around the kitchen all by myself. I always seem to be alone in the kitchen because my kids would rather eat what I make than help me make it. We’ll see what happens when they’re older and I force them into the kitchen so they can at least make some kind of food so they can survive and not eat out every night.
It started with creme brulee. My post for the book review was coming up, so I had to have my Bookish Bake post ready as well since it was planned for the day after. Never mind the fact it was about 2 weeks before then and I had never made creme brulee before, much less eaten one. We’ll also forget the fact that my First Grader is now doing school from home and that’s just working out oh so well (it’s actually not that bad, but juggling him and his toddler sister is not a walk in the park).
My husband decided he would be helpful and keep the kids occupied one Sunday. It turned into him spray painting a Lego car, some fancy and flashy car I don’t know, gold because it’s fancy and flashy in real life. Supposedly. It really turned into him sitting by the balcony door all morning with Lego pieces and spray paint while the kids ran around with a trash bag. Anyways, I took it as my chance to finally get this creme brulee I’d been thinking of for a few weeks made.
Before starting, I read through a couple pages worth of a Google search for creme brulee only to find it usually uses egg yolks. Well, that’s not a problem. I’m sure I can find something to do with the whites. I didn’t want to make too much since I’m not a big fan of anything eggy and I really didn’t want a jar of egg whites staring at me accusingly for the next week, so I decided 3 eggs would be okay. I hoped.
Since creme brulee is really just a custard topped with burnt sugar, I just used the custard ratio of 2:1, dairy to eggs. That just means the weight of the dairy (milk, cream, etc.) should be twice that of the egg yolks.
Eggs are easier to separate when they’re cold. I recently learned it’s easier to separate when using a slotted spoon. Just gently crack the egg very close to the spoon and gently shake. As long as the eggs are cold, the yolks shouldn’t break. At least, that’s been my experience.
Get the weight of the eggs and then double it to get the weight the dairy should be (I used heavy cream). It also needs sugar. My quarter cup measure has mysteriously vanished. I know one of the kids is the culprit. Finding said measuring cup is a lot harder. I also don’t care too much since I’m more likely to just use a big spoon to measuring things out now that I only work with weights. I still had my 1/3 cup measure, so figured a third of a cup of sugar shouldn’t be too bad. It is a dessert, after all, and I do prefer sweet desserts.
I set up a metal bowl over a pot of boiling water and added the yolks, cream, and sugar into the bowl, whisking constantly. Always whisk constantly otherwise risk having lots of cooked eggy bits. It shouldn’t actually take too long as long as the ingredients aren’t cold, the water is boiling, and you’re not making enough creme brulee for a crowd. It took me about 20 minutes because I forgot to bring my cream to room temperature and didn’t have my heat on high enough, but it still wasn’t bad.
Once you start feeling some resistance while stirring and splashes against the side take longer to ooze down, it should be almost ready. Then you just have to keep cooking until you’re satisfied with the thickness.
I never trust myself to not have any cooked egg bits, so I always strain it.
Then I separated the custard into 2 ramekins and pressed plastic wrap to the tops before refrigerating so a skin wouldn’t form.
After it’s chilled, just add a light layer of sugar and stick under the broiler, monitoring it closely.
I don’t know about you, but having spare egg yolks and whites staring at me from the fridge makes me feel guilty. I don’t like wasting food, and wasting eggs as a baker just feels sacrilegious. Fortunately, I found myself staring at a bag a third full with shredded coconut while I was separating my eggs, so hit on the idea of making macaroons early on. I just had to figure out what, exactly macaroons are.
Now, I’m not talking about macrons with one “o”. Those are beautiful little sandwich cookies that are dainty, fragile, and so delicious. One day I hope to try them, but almond flour is just too expensive right now.
No, I’m talking about those amorphous, lumpy cookies dipped in chocolate with coconut sticking out of it all over the place. Macaroons with two “o”‘s that makes me think of loons, for some strange reason.
Remember a whole lot of words earlier when I mentioned I haven’t had one since 2007? Well, I might have. I just don’t remember. Back in the fall of 2007 I was studying abroad in Denmark, home of the best pastries ever. My alma mater and the study abroad program had an agreement where, each year, one professor from the college went abroad and taught a class in the program. He invited the 5 of us from the same college to go over and have a little check in. It was incredibly nice of him to take us to a bakery and let us select something. I picked a macaroon, which turned out to be a massive blob of sugar and coconut. It was big enough to cut up and share. Best macaroon ever.
Anyways, I had egg whites and coconut. Macaroons felt perfect, especially since I’ve been trying to get rid of the coconut since before the pandemic. I just had no idea what, exactly, macaroons are.
Turns out they’re cookies that are typically made with almond flour, egg whites, and shredded coconut. I don’t have almond flour, so I looked at a number of recipes. Most of them use sweetened condensed milk, but I’m saving the one can we have for when my husband wants flan, so that was out. I dug a little deeper and it sounded like macaroons are really just a meringue with coconut in it.
Well, only one way to find out for sure.
The meringue ratio is 2:1, sugar to egg whites. Yes, it might be a little confusing since the custard ratio is also a 2:1, but remember custard is creamy and meringue is overly sweet. So, for meringue, the sugar should weigh twice as much as the egg whites.
Meringue is so simple to make. Just whisk the egg whites until it looks like a big puffy white cloud and then slowly add in the granulated sugar. You could also make an Italian meringue instead by cooking the sugar with some water until it reached the soft ball stage and then slowly add it into the fluffy, white, cloud-like egg whites. But back to the macaroons. Once the sugar is fully incorporated, add in about a cup and a half to two cups of shredded coconut.
Now, most recipes use a bit of flour or sweetened condensed milk to add structure. I chose to do neither. Instead, I opted to dump in all of the coconut I had, hoping it would add enough structure. Then I whipped it until it didn’t look liquidy.
After preheating the oven to 350 degrees, I prepared my baking sheet with parchment paper and the took a small cookie scoop to scoop the mixture onto the sheet as lumps.
Then I baked for about 15 minutes, until the bottom was browned and the tops lightly browned. They, er, flattened out, though some of them had a neat little peak in the middle. I probably could have continued whisking my egg and sugar mixture a little longer before adding the coconut, but I was also depending solely on the coconut for structure. Still, they looked like cute little discs.
I melted some chocolate with a bit of heavy cream and drizzled it on top.
They tasted just like macaroons, and I managed to have my creme brulee custard chilling and macaroons to snack on in a single hour. Now I might just have to fight my sweet and chocolate-loving daughter for the macaroons.