Today was The Kid's 14th birthday. If you are a mom with older kids, you understand how surreal this new era is and if you are a mom with little kids, you have no idea, but your time will come. My adorable, chubby little baby now towers over me, wears his father's shoes on his hairy hobbit feet, has to shave his dirty stache and his mile long legs are covered with black man hair. He is still young enough to tell me he loves in his best Issac Hayes' voice every day but old enough that he has a job and does his own laundry.
So, it's his birthday and that means two things will happen for sure - I will have minor heart palpitations over the fact that time is passing like a speeding freight train without breaks and I will be making creme brûlée. Because none of us do birthday cake, we each get to request a dessert of our choosing each year. Some years I have requested a lemon tart from Bonjour Brioche and other years I have been the lucky recipient of a lemon meringue pie, courtesy of my friend Jen of Piccante Dolce. I like to mix it up a bit and so does Shack, who vacillates between flourless chocolate cake and angel food cake with strawberries, but not The Kid. Every single year he asks for creme brûlée without a moment's hesitation. Last year he had a gingered rhubarb creme brulee so this year I had to decide what new and exiting little twist I could throw at cream, eggs and sugar. This is actually his third birthday since I began blogging and this is also my third recipe for creme brûlée. Coincidence? I think not.
I had to increase the volume by 50% since my normal recipe makes about 8 or 9 of my small ramekins and there were going to be 11 of us for dinner. Math is so not my strong point but somehow I managed to figure it out by using a calculator, a divining rod and The Kid's D20 die. Because I was messing with the math, it seemed wise to not muck about with the actual recipe a ton by getting all crazy with changes or additions so, instead, I steaped the cream with some cardamom and lemon zest for a bit of subtle flavour and brightness - both ingredients that would add flavour but wouldn't affect the volume or the magical chemistry that IS a perfect creme brûlée. I am happy to report that, probably thanks to the D20 die, my math was perfect and the end result was a rich, smooth, creamy custard , worthy of any much loved, hobbit footed man child on the anniversary of his birth.