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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Pushing Color; Jazzing up Creme Brulee; Dreaming about Crema Carmeled

Sweet Choices, (Note I changed the title of this painting); detail lower right corner.

In a few minutes, slices of lime will top off the Key Lime tarts and differentiate them from the Creme Brulee tarts.Lime green will give that area the spark it needs. And more highlights are needed on the nutmeg crust atop the Brulee, red oxide specks perhaps, to bring a red down into that area of grayed down color.

Odd that I should be painting pastries. I never buy them and bring them home. I never ask to see the dessert tray at a restaurant, (but that would make a good "choice" painting), UNLESS they have Crema Carmele. Few restaurants in the States do. Brulee is the norm on US menus. It's no where near as light and smooth in texture as Crema Carmele, which is on a par with the sorbet of the day price-wise at nearly all the European restaurants I've visited. The only place I've found Crema Carmele is at Morton's Steak House. Honey and I would run over there for a brandy and my favorite dessert late night. We'd indulge ourselves at the bar in the Cigar room. We had to take everything we wore to the cleaners the next day--but we didn't mind--the dessert was good, the brandy warmed our cockles the company was stimulating. Unfortunately they don't have it anymore; they switched to brulee like everybody else. How sad nothing is forever.

Did a little tweaking to My Front Walk as well. Lightened it up. I don't think it made much of a difference, but it did blend in the too centered sidewalk a bit and help the composition. I'll try a new drawing tomorrow angling the walk.

CARMEL CUSTARD (CREMA CARMELE) Recipe from The Settlement House Cookbook, copywrite 1965, Simon and Shuster with suggestions by me.

Melt 1/2 cup of granulated sugar (or brown sugar) in bottom of baking dish or loaf pan,(sprayed with cooking spray), till brown, tilting dish until evenly coated. Then add custard mixture (2 eggs, pinch salt,4 TBsp sugar, 2 cups hot milk. Beat eggs slightly,add salt and sugar and stir till sugar dissolves; pour milk gradually onto egg mixture stirring constantly. Sprinkle with nutmeg after pouring into caramel coated baking dish. Set in pan filled with 1" of water. Bake in oven at 325 degrees 30 to 45 minutes or until a knife blade comes out clean. Patience is needed here.

To serve: invert loaf pan into bowl. Custard will slip out and the caramel sauce will pool around it. (I always double the sugar in the caramel recipe. I like extra sauce). You could sprinkle the top of your caramel loaf with more nutmeg to break up the plain plane,which was the bottom, but is now the top. Some people like a dollop of gingered whipped cream on top.Crucial note: make the custard first and have it ready to pour on the nearly hardened caramel coating. The caramel is going to harden fast when it hits the cool loaf pan. You want to move fast to add that layer of custard to a nearly wet caramel layer--just like you do when you make a layered jello mold.

My boys loved this dessert; our dentist would have preferred I made sugarless jello on special occasions.



  1. ahhh dessert. Always nice in paintings and on the table in front of me! The front walk is a unique perspective...I like it!

  2. Thanks Celeste. You got me thinking bird's eye view with your recent painting of buildings top down. My pastry paintings and a lot of photographs I've taken of showcases full of goodies are more about the many choices we have in front of us everyday. I probably should make that clear in the blog post? People think it's a strange pastries are a strange subject. I do enjoy your work.

  3. Looking at the the thumbnail image on blogger dashboard, I thought that it was a photo. Looks great Linda.

    Had Creme Brulee yesterday - yummy. My husband had Creme Caramel - unfortunately his was not as good as mine. It certainly was a treat - I don't normally have room for dessert, especially after a full meal, what more at a Brazilian meaty reataurant!

    Hey, I like "My Front Walk" too. Nice angle.

    Happy Weekend Linda,

  4. Crema Carmeled is just custard without the sauce. I like it because it's lighter than brulee. Isn't that a coincidence that I should blog about it while your husband was eating it! I'm sorry his wasn't very good. When you make it, you really have to be careful not to burn the sugar. If that happens, the sauce tastes awful.

    Thanks. I have no idea why pastries, I think I love all the gorgeous colors all mixed up in the display cases. Lots of enticing choices--the stuff of parties, happy times.

  5. Hi Linda.
    These Cake paintings are truly amazing. Beautifully painted and beautiful colours. Thank you for visiting my blog and becoming a follower. You made it 100, yippee! I shale look to join yours now. Thanks again Linda and all the best.

  6. Thank you Vic. I'm enjoying your art too. You are so lucky to have such interesting architecture all around you for your plein air outings; I envy your access to historic sites.