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7.31.2006

Orangette turns two

Hooooo boy. I just don’t know where the time goes. You wake up one morning, start a blog, and all of a sudden, two years have gone by. It makes me feel a little like my mother, who greets my birthday each year with the same slightly bewildered question: “How can it possibly be that my daughter is [insert ever-increasing number here] years old?” I mean, really, people, how can it possibly be that my Orangette is two years old? I tell you, I just don’t know where the time goes.

This sort of occasion seems to call for a new unit of measurement, something more expressive than boring old calendar days. They’re too intangible, anyway. They don’t mean much. You know, I hardly even remember the day when I sat down and started this site. I had only moderately lofty goals and slightly shimmery dreams: I wanted a place to write and a few readers to keep me accountable, that’s all. But what I got was something much better than that, something with a life of its own, and a big, happy, lusty one at that. I got stories—two hundred or so, thus far, and a few more up my sleeve. I got an easy excuse for long afternoons at the stove, and for tearing through bags of flour and sugar faster than should be allowed by state law. I got you and you and you, dear readers, new names and faces and friends. Hell, I even got a fiancé. Talk about hooooo boy.

Put that way, this site feels much older than her years—and gladly so. Thank you, all of you, for making it fly by so fast, and for making it so, so fun.


Blackberry Brûlée
Inspired by Saveur, June/July 2006


I was up in Bellingham this past weekend with Brandon, celebrating our negative-first anniversary—one year till our wedding, get it?—when I remembered Orangette’s birthday, which, by complete, utter, and mind-boggling coincidence, is the same date as our wedding: July 29. [We didn’t plan it this way, I promise.] I’m pretty bad with birthdays, I guess. But this dish, which we had whipped up the night before, seems as fitting and celebratory a birthday offering as any, especially for a late-July baby.

For those of us in the Pacific Northwest, where blackberry bushes are standard-issue backyard shrubs and common roadside attractions, it’s high berry season. Nearly everywhere you look, there’s a little cluster of purply-black orbs just waiting to be picked. The berries for this dish came from our own backyard, in fact, and from a bush that we only noticed a week or so ago. [Suffice it to say that it will never go unnoticed again!] It’s a classic berries-and-cream number, but better, because the cream has been whipped and sweetened—and then brûléed. Served heaped in a single bowl, family-style, it looks like a series of soft little mountain peaks—baby Mount Rainiers, maybe—capped with caramelized sugar instead of snow. Cool and lightly sweet, airy and rich, it’s one of the few things that’s better than a plain blackberry eaten straight from the bush. It’s eminently worthy of a birthday.


1 cup heavy cream
6 Tbs superfine sugar
3 – 3 ½ cups fresh blackberries, gently rinsed and dried on paper towels
2-3 Tbs demerara or other raw cane sugar

In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Add half of the superfine sugar, and beat very briefly to combine. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the remaining superfine sugar until well combined. Add the blackberries, and fold gently to mix.

Carefully scoop and scrape the blackberry mixture into a 9-inch pie plate or serving dish of similar size. Liberally sprinkle the top with demerara sugar. Using a kitchen torch, evenly caramelize the sugar until it turns bubbly and golden brown in some spots. [Pay no attention to the color or evenness of the brûléed spots in the photo above. Our torch started to run out of fuel, so our brûléing job was pretty weak.] The cream will melt and run a bit under the flame, but don’t worry, that’s good.

Place the brûlée in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to let the sugar harden slightly. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Note: If you find yourself blessed with leftovers, as we did, try sticking the stuff in the freezer. We spooned it into a Tupperware container, pressed a bit of plastic wrap against the surface to keep it from getting icy, put on the lid, and froze it. It doesn’t get smooth like a churned ice cream, but it’s crisp and airy and refreshing. Brandon says that he—gasp!—almost likes it better this way.

43 Comments:

Blogger christine said...

Wow that looks so good, I love anyhing with berries! And your title has me singing "blackberry brulee'" to the tune of Prince's raspberry beret. :)

12:16 AM, August 01, 2006  
Anonymous Tanna said...

Well, Happy Birthday!

2:53 AM, August 01, 2006  
Anonymous bea at La tartine gourmande said...

Time just flies by when one is having fun, and I am sure you can say that there have been a lot done in the last year! Joyeux anniversaire et plein de bonheur à suivre !

3:08 AM, August 01, 2006  
Blogger Zarah Maria said...

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday Dear Orangette!
Happy Birthday toooooooooo yoooooooouuuuuuu! (voice all shrill for the last sentence)

Really, that is amazing. Keep up the good work - you know we love it!:-)

3:58 AM, August 01, 2006  
Blogger Shari said...

hi molly!
congrats on two years! how wonderful! the blackberry brulee looks yummy. will have to try it! cheers, shari

5:08 AM, August 01, 2006  
Blogger I need orange said...

Happy birthday to Orangette. Long may she thrive.

5:35 AM, August 01, 2006  
Blogger a. said...

Happy B-day Orangette! and congrats ! You have a really great blog here. It is amazing to me in the world of food blogs how many people -blogging are cooking really amazing dishes,quite consistently and don't work in professional kitchens (like me).
On a visit to Oregon a few years back the place reminded me of a Utopia in the states, waterfalls on the side of the road, fresh streams, lush foliage, and wild berries growing everywhere! Simply amazing

5:59 AM, August 01, 2006  
Blogger wheresmymind said...

Going to be the "Terrific Twos" for you, right cool kid?

6:28 AM, August 01, 2006  
Blogger Funky Finds said...

happy blog bday! so fabulous. i can't imagine blogging for 2 years!!! terrific :)

6:30 AM, August 01, 2006  
Blogger foodiechickie said...

Happy blogaversary!

7:32 AM, August 01, 2006  
Anonymous Stef Noble said...

Happy birthday!

Your site has become a great resource and every recipe you've posted that I've tried has become a favorite... I look forward to the next year!

7:33 AM, August 01, 2006  
Anonymous Luisa said...

Happy Birthday, Orangette! And happy minus-1 anniversary, Molly & Brandon. What a lovely way to celebrate. If I could stand to turn on the broiler, I'd make this too! xxoo

7:48 AM, August 01, 2006  
Blogger Kitchen Queen said...

Happy anniversary, and thanks for all you've shared with us! I really love that your blackberry brulee doesn't have wheat flour—I can make it to celebrate my daughter's birthday later this month!

8:09 AM, August 01, 2006  
Blogger Alice Q said...

Happy Birthday - and many more!!

8:19 AM, August 01, 2006  
Anonymous Leah said...

Happy days, Molly! And yay! Congratulations to you for all your many wonderful milestones. xoxo

11:08 AM, August 01, 2006  
Blogger Catherine said...

You're blog is a leo! I like leos. (My beau's a leo, too.) Happy Birthday Orangette!!! ;D

12:21 PM, August 01, 2006  
Blogger jenjen said...

Congratulations, can't wait for the next two years of food, food and more food! What could be better!

3:08 PM, August 01, 2006  
Blogger Callipygia said...

Congrats! Your blog is wonderful and feeds so many of us. I think that it is lovely that your wedding will be the same as your blog birthdate, clearly two significant things. Much happiness to you both!

3:27 PM, August 01, 2006  
Anonymous robotic gourmand said...

ah, anniversaries and websites. two things we have in common, though orangette is a year older than my robotic gourmand.

congratulations on the two year mark and i look forward to many more recipes from you in the future. keep up the great work!

5:24 PM, August 01, 2006  
Blogger Nic said...

Happy birthday/anniversary Molly, er, I mean, Orangette! It does seem like it's been more than two years, but I mean that in the best way possible.

7:27 PM, August 01, 2006  
Anonymous Lauren said...

Happy birthday to Orangette! And all the happiness in the world to you and Brandon, one year from now and forever!

9:22 PM, August 01, 2006  
Anonymous Molly said...

Happy Anniversary from a fellow Molly and person-who-loves-to-cook!

10:14 PM, August 01, 2006  
Anonymous Ellie said...

Congratulations on reaching 2 years ;) Your blog is a wonderful creation which I love reading, and hopefully will continue to read in the future!

3:41 AM, August 02, 2006  
Blogger Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Happy 2nd anniversary! Time passes very fastly indeed...

4:44 AM, August 02, 2006  
Blogger Pille said...

Happy birthday to your blog, and a blissfully happy year leading up to your wedding, Molly!

7:56 AM, August 02, 2006  
Anonymous LPC said...

Congrats and Happy birthday Orangette!

9:43 AM, August 02, 2006  
Blogger Tokyoastrogirl said...

Happy birthday to Organette and Happy Negative One Anniversary to you and Brandon!

11:20 AM, August 02, 2006  
Anonymous Anna said...

happy blog-aversary! I've really enjoyed reading it these past couple years-- great recipes, fun anecdotes and my abiding crush on your friend Nicho-- what could be better?
anna

9:12 PM, August 02, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The brulee looks amazing. Happy Birthday and thanks for all of the great recipes.

AnnieD

10:25 PM, August 02, 2006  
Anonymous melissa said...

A very happy second birthday to Orangette, who just gets stronger, wittier, sexier and more mouth-watering with each passing year. May there be many more to come!

And that coincidence of anniversaries is just too amazing. Sometimes life really is stranger than fiction - I'm sure you couldn't have planned it better if you tried.

10:41 AM, August 03, 2006  
Blogger Molly said...

Awww, you guys are just so wonderful. Really, you're the reason that Orangette is here - you do know that, right? I hope so.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all these lovely birthday wishes and, more than anything, for letting me and Orangette be a part of your lives and your kitchens.

10:56 AM, August 03, 2006  
Blogger Anali said...

Happy Birthday Orangette! And thank you Molly for being such a good mom so we can all admire your kid!

11:17 AM, August 03, 2006  
Blogger Garrett said...

Props darlin'. Props.

10:39 PM, August 03, 2006  
Blogger Tea said...

Yay Molly, yay Orangette! Happy Birthday--and many returns of the day. I can't wait to see what the next year brings!

9:11 AM, August 04, 2006  
Blogger s'kat said...

And what a two years its been! It's been an amazing and beautiful journey- congrats!

12:18 PM, August 04, 2006  
Blogger kickpleat said...

it's been wonderful to get to know you through your recipes and your stories. congratulations on your 2 year blog-a-birthday! as for your blackberry recipe, i'm drooling already. i've already tangled with a few blackberry bushes last week and have frozen all the remains and this is just the inspiration i need!

8:38 PM, August 04, 2006  
Blogger Rachel said...

Yum! I love blackberries!

12:55 PM, August 05, 2006  
Blogger annulla said...

Happy Birthday!

2:48 PM, August 30, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Molly,

You had loftovers of the blackberry brulee?? We can´t believe it! We prepared the recipe as you posted it. Just the two of us and a quarter of an hour later it was gone! It was so delicious we had to eat all.

The pickled onions,too, are very good, as well as the granola (really, really crunchy).

I joined your family of readers in april just at the time you became engaged. At that time I had to stay home for 5 weeks. I red a great part of your blog then. When I´m online at home, the first thing I do is checking our blog if there is a new entry.

I´m looking forward reading the next one!

Rianta (Germany)

2:22 PM, September 01, 2006  
OpenID H said...

Anything that starts with a cup of heavy cream is a winner in my book!
Read your blog for the first time today. Super. Congrats on the anniversary...all of them! I am a champagne lover too. A dedicated fan of the "the widow", Veuve Clicquot. What is your fav?

7:17 PM, September 22, 2008  
Blogger Michelle said...

hi! i just discovered your blog tonight and i am so glad i did. i am from federal way, wa and go to uw so it is great to try recipes from someone who understands that blackberries (while the thorns are a nuisance at times) grow everywhere. i am going to pick some from my yard tomorrow to make this dessert. i also promise to come to your restaurant as soon as i can! how exciting for you and your husband! congrats!!!!!!!!

1:06 AM, August 03, 2009  
Anonymous Juliann D said...

Hi. Do you think I can use the broiler for this instead of a torch? My freezer is still filled with bags of blackberries from the summer that I really need to use up, but I don't have a kitchen torch. I was thinking it would be great as part of a holiday brunch.

2:57 AM, December 17, 2009  
Blogger Molly said...

Juliann D, I haven't tried using a broiler for this, so I can't say for certain, but I think it could work. You'll need to watch it closely, because it'll brown a lot faster than it does with the torch, but go for it.

9:32 AM, December 17, 2009  

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