Crème brulee is my ace in the hole. It’s the kind of thing I like to keep in my back pocket and pull out when I need it. Frequently, I have 2 ramekins in the fridge awaiting a sprinkling of sugar and a pass of the torch. It’s not a bad thing to serve when your boyfriend or husband is a little mad at you. One bite of rich creaminess paired with crunchy sugar and you’re out of the dog house. You can trust me on this one.
See, I wasn’t going to talk about this because I like to pretend my life is a perfect square box all wrapped up with pretty ribbon. But it ain’t. My life is not all clean counters, empty dishwashers, and non-mildew smelling sponges. Nor is it all petite ramekins, small whisks and eggs that perfectly separate themselves.
Mr. Dessert For Two and I spent all of last month apart. I decided on my birthday that I wanted to be alone on the road of life. Do birthdays make anyone else do crazy things? It wasn’t so much him as it was that the idea of marriage paralyzes me with fear. I wanted to push him away from me just in case we got married and things didn’t work out exactly like I thought they should. Just in case I woke up next to him and hated my life one day. In case my logic is failing you: I feel like if I wake up alone and hate my life, it’s my own fault. I like to be in complete control of my life: my time, my space, my feelings, my heart. I want to be the only one in charge. Yes, it’s a lonely life, but it’s a safe life. If I love no one, then no one can let me down. If I didn’t have everything I wanted in life, it was up to me to get it—I don’t want to depend on anyone.
I feel a little like a freak: I don’t know why marriage terrifies me, while every other woman is elated at the thought of a big white dress. I don’t know how other women can put on a shiny diamond ring everyday and announce to the world that they have found the only person with whom they want to spend their life. What if you meet someone great at 50 and you’re stuck with the person you married at 27? What do you do?! These thoughts used to race through my head almost daily.
The thing about me and Mr. Dessert For Two is that marriage has always been on the table: he told me on our third date that I’m the woman he wants to marry and he asked me to “just let him know in my own little way that I was ready.” When he said that almost a year ago, I instantly picked a fight and pushed him away. That’s what any sensible woman does when the perfect man walks in your life, right? Tell me I’m not the only one.
Well, last month was a long one. I did a lot of thinking, and I’ve decided that the 27th year of my life is going to be a good one. The path Mr. Dessert For Two and I want to travel on sounds much better than the one I was planning alone. We have plans to buy land and create a farm that’s more than just a source of income: we want our farm to be the center of our lives, and maybe even the center of our little town. We decided we’d rather have 50 acres close to the city than 500 acres far outside the city because life is richer with people in it—including husbands.
On a small but very special side note: I’d like to thank all Veterans for their service today, especially Mr. Dessert For Two. And I’d also like to wish the Marine Corps a very happy 236th birthday. Ooo-rah!
- 3 large egg yolks
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon maple extract
- 2 teaspoon sugar
- Preheat the oven to 300 and put on a kettle of water to boil for your water bath. Make sure your 2 ramekins fit inside the dish you will be baking them in.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients except the sugar. Divide the mixture between 2 ramekins and place in the baking dish. Pour boiling water into the baking dish half way up the sides of the ramekins, being careful not to splash it inside the ramekins.
- Bake for 40 minutes for wide shallow ramekins and 50-55 minutes for regular ramekins.
- Let cool in water bath, then move to fridge to chill thoroughly, at least 8 hours.
- Right before serving (and only then), sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sugar over each and brulee with a kitchen torch until browned and crispy.