Now that I am fully on board the catering train with my BookTheCook service, I have quickly learned that minimum fuss equals minimum stress. Although I can't turn back the clock, if I could, I would be taking this philosophy on for when I famously went into public meltdown on the final day of MasterChef Goes Large. AAAAGGHH! How I still have nightmares about that day.
What that day did teach me was to not overdo things, and by that I mean try to do more than you can really do. I could have kept it very simple and progressed through to the final 3, but instead I swapped dishes at the last minute thinking that my original menu was too simple. 'Regrets, I've had a few...'.
Anyway, they say that all things happen for a reason therefore I am glad that I am learning from these mistakes. And I am going to if I want to succeed in this competitive world of catering. So far so good, and as long as I retain my passion and continue to put my all into producing food that hopefully tastes amazing and looks good (and fills people up!), I hope to be doing this for a long long time.
Onto the food. A very simple dessert that has caused many 'oohs'
I can eat a Créme Brulée, or a Burnt English Custard (take your choice), at any time of the day. It is so simple yet so sublime. There are no corners to be cut when you make one; it has to be full blown double cream
There is also the topping to discuss. A blow torched sugary topping which just edges on being burnt is magnificent. But sometimes I yearn for more of a crunch, something to smash with my spoon
So, the simple things in life are indeed the best. Well, they are when you are trying to win a TV cooking competition as well as maintaining your fine dining business. I think I've learnt my lesson. Honest John.
Spiced Pear Burnt English Custard
Feeds 4-6 people depending on size of ramekin
For the puree
1 cinnamon stick
For the custard
300ml double cream
3 large egg yolks
1 vanilla pod
For the topping
A sprinkling of icing sugar which you can torch with a cook's blowtorch or place under a very hot grill or, make a caramel with 100g sugar and a little water and pour on.
1 - Pre-heat the oven to 140 degrees C, GM1.
2 - Peel, core and chop your pears. Simmer in a pan with the sugar until they turn into a puree. Remove the cloves and cinnamon, job done. Tip into 4 ramekins, you want about 2cm in each, and allow to cool.
3 - Split and scrape your vanilla into the cream. Heat the cream in a pan until almost boiling point then take off the heat.
4 - Beat the egg yolks with the sugar thoroughly, then pour on the hot cream, stirring all of the time.
5 - Pour the hot custard into the ramekins. Place into an oven tray then pour enough hot water in to reach halfway up the ramekins. Cook for 50mins-1 hour or until it is just cooked, a slight wobble when you shake them.
6 - Cool completely, place in the fridge then when ready to eat, choose your choice of topping - thin burnt option or thick ice rink.