Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pancake Tuesday

Pancake Tuesday, my favourite little known holiday.
I mean, who doesn't love to have an official reason for eating breakfast at dinner. It gives us licence to enjoy every syrup soaked bite of warm, fluffy goodness. It's just not possible to be anything but happy while consuming pancakes.
It was a given while growing up that there would be pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. No more likely to be missed than birthdays or Christmas. A special family tradition that seemed our own, unknown by everyone else I knew. I wish I could say that we were pious through Lent, but truthfully it was really just about the pancakes.
Over the years of working with children, I would always make pancakes with them on the eve of Lent. Little fingers cracking eggs, flour everywhere, passing the bowl so everyone had their turn to stir.
Today Jack and I whipped up a batch at play group to share. I've been referred to as the "pancake lady" by more than one child over the years.

And, of course, more for dinner tonight. I doctored them up with some hemp hearts for a nutrition boost. Anna was rather suspicious of the "weird dots" in her pancakes. Jack was deep in his happy carb place and noticed nothing. Deliciously deceiving, I call it.
But this year a tinge of sadness in the sweet for me. Eighteen years ago my dad, or "Grandpa Edward" as we call him now, left us to eat his pancakes in a better place. You are still greatly missed Dad, this post is for you.
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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Nutella Creme Brulee

Did you know that today is World Nutella Day?
I kid you not, February 5th is all about the deliciousness that is Nutella.
Growing up, we never had Nutella. Never heard of the stuff until I was in my twenties. Personally, I think this borders on child neglect of some sort. It is now a staple in our pantry, enjoyed by all on toast, waffles, graham crackers (ever had a Nutella s'more? Swoon!) and by the spoon full. Thank goodness Costco sells it!
Earlier this week I had grand plans for a triple layer Chocolate Nutella Mousse Cake. I also had a nasty cold, foggy brain and an epic cake fail. So I decided to step back from the flour bin and take a different approach.
Nutella Creme Brulee.
Rich, creamy and deceptively simple. Throw it together in the morning, let it set up in the fridge for the day and then show off your mad torch skills after dinner. You'll be a rock star.

And is there anything quite so satisfying as cracking the top of creme brulee? I think not.
Nutella Creme Brulee
2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp melted Nutella
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Place five ramekins or custard cups in a larger baking pan and fill with hot water until the water level is about half way up the ramekins.
Bring heavy cream to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. When it starts to simmer, take off the heat and add the vanilla. Let cool.
In a separate bowl whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until pale and thick. When the cream has cooled a bit, slowly whisk it into the egg mixture being careful not to "cook" your eggs. Then mix in the melted Nutella. Pour through a fine sieve to strain out any weird eggy bits and then divide evenly between the ramekins.
Bake for approx. 45 minutes until the edges are set and the centre in slightly wobbly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least four hours.
Sprinkle with sugar and slide under broiler, watch VERY carefully or torch until sugar melts.
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