>> Thursday, February 10, 2011
I have a nasty cold. I am a wreck. And I do feel that way. This has not prevented me from feeling an urgent desire to make a dessert with apples though, being them one of my many addictions. I've said it before, inspiration is a very peculiar animal and comes whenever she wants to, not when it is convenient for you. Serves no programs or schedules. Just like death. That is why John Barry died on January 31st, the composer of such famous film scores as Out of Africa and well-known arranger of the original James Bond theme, when it was completely untimely for him to die... Any movie fan knows his music. He was also British and, as some say, that's a plus. Among his not so well-known compositions is the evocative soundtrack to the movie Robin and Marian, an utterly romantic movie with Sean Connery (sigh...) and Audrey Hepburn (another sigh...). Yes, the quintessential love story. I recommend you watch it, you will not regret it now that honeyed Valentine's day is on its way. Because the movie is not cloying in any way, it shows us the reunion of Marian and Robin Hood after his return from the Crusades, both middle-aged and already-done-it-all. But that does not prevent... sparks from flying between them. Delightful. Wonderful. Sublime. Totally underrated. And another excuse to enjoy the voice of Sir Sean Connery... a religious experience (although I might be thinking of something more profane). This is your homework for this cloying, sugary week. No complaining. Search for this movie and watch it, little children. And if you like it, you can watch it on every Valentine's day with your partner from now on. Though I don't wait till Valentine's day to celebrate.
You may wonder what is the relationship of the apple cream with everything that I mentioned earlier. Well, in the opening scene of the movie we see some fresh apples on a window sill that are displayed later rottening as a symbol of a world that is falling apart, Robin and Marian's. Okay, the relationship is difuse. But the ways of the subconscious are mysterious. And mine is even more mysterious, I tell you. Do not wish to know further. Also, I write my own scripts, just like Pedro Almodóvar. And that is obvious for both.
The recipe for this rather symbolic cream comes from an interesting monograph on reinette apples by a Spanish chef, famously cultivated among other regions in the north Castilian area of El Bierzo. Reinette apples are known for their tart and peculiar taste, the best for cooking desserts. Though who knows where the apples I find in my area come from. Maybe they are brought from the other side of the world, where the growers get a ridiculous revenue from them and then loads of fuel are wasted in bringing them here so that the oil companies are very happy... thanks to us. But that's another story. To the point:
This simple cream is as versatile as pastry cream, because it is really quite similar. I like it well in small pots, but it can be used to fill cakes, pastries and whatever you can think of. Although to make it as pot de creme, I use a more fluid consistency than that of pastry cream, as a smooth cream for the sick... It has the pleasant color of coffee with milk, but it surprises you with the taste of apple and cider. And I've added one teaspoon of sugar on top of the cream that was conveniently caramelized with my brand new blowtorch, a gentle gift from my mother, in a créme brulée fashion.
And... celebrate your love everyday, not only when the department stores tell you to.