I have to end my meals with something sweet. Even if it’s just a piece of chocolate or a sip of liqueur, sugar represents a kind of closure, a signal that the meal is ended.
When I have dinner guests, though, I feel compelled to actually make dessert: It’s important to me to feel as if I’ve provided a complete culinary experience. A couple of nights ago, I had a friend over for dinner. I had beautiful cherries from the farmer’s market, but not much time; I thought about making a fruit tart and filling it with sweetened strained yogurt, but didn’t have time to let the yogurt transform into a thicker, mor luscious version of itself. Ice cream would have required a trip to the store.
I had duck eggs, though, and pistachio biscotti, so I figured I’d make a trifle (this, despite the fact that the aforementioned friend had in the past expressed distaste for such desserts. His objections are completely aesthetic, though: he finds their air of thrown-togetherness offensively lazy. I, on the other hand, love the simple, breezy whimsicality of fresh fruit, custard, cream, and cake or cookies layered together). I made a simple crème anglaise with a duck egg, a little sugar, and some half and half, added a drop of vanilla, and let it cool. Finally, I folded in about a cup of plain Brown Cow yogurt (cream top, of course). I layered it in glasses with cherries and crushed biscotti.
It was pretty good: creamy and crunchy and fruity, simultaneously light and rich. I’m still not quite sure how I feel about the yogurty crème anglaise: It was pleasingly tangy, and had a smooth, velvety texture… I’m just not sure I preferred it to regular old sweetened yogurt.
In the event, my friend did like it, so I counted it a success.