Sunday, August 30, 2009

Creme Caramel Squares

Recipe #3:

Yeah, my attempt at this recipe doesn't quite look like the above photo (follow link). I'm pretty sure if you check out the photo of this recipe in the new What's Cooking issue too, you'll agree that they photoshopped the vanilla pudding layer colour. It's not that yellow in real life. But don't get me wrong, it's not all bad.

I tried looking up a dessert idea under the "Healthy Living" section of the Kraft Kitchens site: Yeah, right. After 360 dessert recipes, I think about 8 of them were marked with the sunshine symbol to be qualified for "Healthy Living". Is this why I don't often eat dessert? I give up. Fruit kabobs just aren't challenging enough for me. Give me the high fat, bad-for-you-but-super-yummy dessert recipes!

I will admit up front that I had help with this recipe. My friend Sean requested that I try making it, and in exchange, he offered to help. Normally I prefer to be alone in the kitchen because other people make me too worried about making mistakes. I also don't do everything the same way that others might which can cause stress. Since this recipe felt rather challenging, I thought it would be foolish to turn down the aid of someone more experienced in the baking department.

I did a couple of slight modifications to this recipe: I used skim milk because that's what I drink and I'm not buying "special recipe milk" for no reason; I made whipped cream from uh, whipping cream instead of using Cool Whip (I refuse to cook with a dessert item that bills itself as an "edible oil product"); I used Splenda instead of sugar; I added a little vanilla and extra Splenda to the whipped cream. I also cooled the dish in the freezer between layers, and cooled each pudding in the fridge a bit between layers. Take from that what you will.

Aside from forgetting that the cream cheese was supposed to be softened, and having to ask how to best measure the butter, the recipe wasn't too bad to make. I did encounter some problems with the puddings however. The box for each says 2 cups of milk, the recipe counters with 1 1/2 cups of milk, and, of course, I follow the recipe. Only problem was that the vanilla pudding was a bit runny and tricky to spread on the cream cheese layer. I started out with most of it near the middle of the dish; in hindsight, that wasn't the greatest idea because I wasn't able to spread it out to all of the sides without wrecking the layer below. Therefore, with the butterscotch pudding layer, which ended up being thicker for some reason, I started it out at the edges of the dish and attempted to drag it inward. Being heavier than the vanilla layer, the butterscotch tried very hard to resist my attempts at moving it and the vanilla layer got kind of smeary. I eventually gave up and covered it all in whipping cream. Take that!

Some thoughts after 3 recipes now:
1) It's not a good idea for me to be cooking on a very empty stomach, especially since my work always takes longer than predicted and planned. Hunger makes me angry, irrational, and unfriendly.
2) Make sure you've enough room in the fridge for the various ingredients required for the recipe, not to mention for the finished product itself, especially if you ate out most of the day before and brought home leftovers.
3) Take a break from cooking every now and then, particularly when your fridge is very full, the recipes make large quantities, and you're still trying to finish the first one you made last Wednesday...

I haven't yet tasted the product in final format but the spoons and beaters I licked while making it were tasty. It's supposed to sit in the fridge for 4 hours which will give it a finished time of 11:24pm tonight, long after I'll have gone to bed. Since I've made a 9x13" pan of the blasted things, I should have plenty of chances to sample them for the next week or so. Any takers?

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