Annette & Vernette from Wisconsin (2018 Week 4: Desserts)


Annette & Vernette



Baking Challenge

Creme Caramel

Give your dessert a clever name – and tell us about your recipe.

Editor’s note: Annette and Vernette’s baking story is unique. Annette submits two entries each week: one for her, and one for her 94-year-old mother, Vernette. Vernette’s arthritis prevents her from baking herself; Annette bakes to Vernette's specifications.

From Annette: This week I wanted to try the creme caramel and my mom, ever a Schaum Torte enthusiast, wanted to make the four-layer dessert.

What was the biggest surprise during your baking journey? Did you use any unconventional approaches? What did you learn along the way? Tell us about it!

I had trouble with both desserts. When it came to the creme caramel, I have never melted sugar before and wanted to try doing it. The first time I ever saw anyone melt sugar was Julia Child when I was a kid. My mom and I were both devotees of her show; she always did something fascinating. I followed the directions for melting the sugar and thought it was the right color. For an extra Wisconsin twist, I added a tablespoon of maple syrup. I removed it from the heat and put in the cups right after adding the syrup. I decided to cut the custard recipe in half and make only four desserts because I'm not that big of a fan of egg custard – well, it was a hot day and I decided that since I had the oven on I would bake three different things at once, so I had three different recipes going on. I forgot to cut the egg amount in half. Needless to say, the custard was firm and a little eggy, but what surprised me most was that the caramel tasted a little burnt. I liked the custard more than the caramel.

The pavlova was troublesome, too. I followed the recipe for meringue and the circles I made turned brown and tasted overcooked. The recipe said to bake the meringue in a 300 degree oven, and that clearly was too hot. So I found a different recipe and baked the meringue at 250 degrees, and as you can see from the pictures it turned out much better. My mother insisted that I use canned milk when making the pudding, so I made a cooked pudding with half canned milk.

How did you add a Wisconsin twist to your flavors or decoration?

For our Wisconsin twists, the creme caramel had lots of milk and cream, eggs and the maple syrup. The four-layer dessert, again, has lots of milk in the pudding, eggs, and the toffee topping is from Gail Ambrosius. What could be more Wisconsin than that?

How did you do?

Feeling humbled.