My little brother just got hitched. I’m pretty sure that she only married him for his cooking *wink, wink*. Anyway, it’s hard for me to think of my little brother as all grown up and married. No matter what, I’ll always think of him as my “little” brother.
My brother is 9 years younger than me. I didn’t want a little brother—I was really hoping for a little sister. And I certainly didn’t want a brother so little that I would always get stuck babysitting. He was a real drag by the time I was a teenager. But now that we’re both mature *another wink* adults, we genuinely care for one another. You can tell because whenever we get together, we do nothing but tease each other, poke each other in the ribs, and generally give each other grief. We’re the best of friends.
It seems that my little brother thinks I’m his personal 24-hour cooking hotline. He’ll call me at all hours, and he always starts, “I have a quick question for you…” It’ll be something completely random like, “Can I substitute whole wheat orzo in your recipe?” or, “Why did the fresh mozzarella I made turn slimy?” or even, “What do you need for decorating a wedding cake, and by the way, will you decorate ours?” Once he gets his answer, it’s, “Thanks, bye.” Just like that and he’s gone. I love that he loves to cook, and don't tell him I said so, but it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside that he looks to me for advice.
Though he may not always stick around to chat, I know he appreciates my help. He will call me out of the blue and tell me to expect a package. He’s very generous, but I know he’s not above telling white lies to figure out what to get me. I recently got packages of the cutest lemon-yellow and chocolate-brown espresso cups* that I had been wanting for forever. I’ve already used them to make 3 different batches of pot de crème, 2 of which included lots of espresso. And I made tuiles to go with them.
I feel lucky to have such a clever, fun, giving little brother. His wedding was beautiful, and I cried at the ceremony. But I was really an embarrassing, weepy mess right after, when one of his best friends told me, “Your brother is your biggest fan.” My heart overflowed with love and joy.
Now I’m going to have to get that little brother of mine back for making me cry…
Espresso Pot de Crème
8 ounces heavy cream
6 ounces milk
6 ounces freshly brewed espresso
4 ounces eggs
2 ounces egg yolks
4 ounces sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 325˚F. Combine the cream, milk, and espresso in a small saucepan and heat to a simmer. Whisk together the eggs, yolks, and sugar in a medium bowl. Continue whisking while adding the hot cream mixture in a thin stream. Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Stir in the vanilla and salt and skim off any foam from the surface. Divide the mixture among 8 ramekins and place them into a roasting pan. Add enough hot water to the roasting pan to come half way up the sides of the ramekins and bake for 24 to 26 minutes, or until just set. Remove from the water bath and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours, or until firm.
Serves 8. Can be made a day or two in advance and kept covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator.
*ASA Selection Hot + Fresh espresso/sorbet cups are available from einmaleins (tell Mathias I said hi!) and Joanne Hudson Basics.