Monday, January 26, 2009
Like most people, I start each new year with the best of intentions. This year I'm hoping to be more organized (hey, a girl can dream, can't she?). I haven't carried a pocket calendar for years--I scrawl haircut dates on the back of my checkbook (which I never have in my purse unless I'm getting a haircut), and write down important dates (school meetings, dentist appointments, and birthdays) on the backs of receipts that seem always to float around in my purse. Lunch and drink dates I can track in my head just fine. Go figure.
But this year I had a lapse that really hurt. I missed the eggnog at Pearl Bakery. Perhaps you already know how much I love eggnog, especially the kind with plenty of bourbon and fluffy beaten egg whites trapped within. This is not the kind Pearl makes. Theirs was made, I think, mainly for use in the eggnog latte. I opted last year for a cold cup of it--they humored me, but I got the feeling I was the first person to want it that way.
Their eggnog isn't like the one I make at home. For starters, no bourbon (note to self: bring a flask). And I always make mine with raw eggs--a no no for a business. Did any of this mean their eggnog wasn't as good? Not at all--what it meant was when I sat down to my cup of eggnog, what I got was a cup of crème anglaise.
And I love crème anglaise as much as, or maybe more than eggnog. As a child, it was my first favorite dessert at Chez Panisse, where my mother was pastry chef. For 75 cents (okay, I guess I got it for free) you could get a small metal dish of it, plain. Later, one of my favorite birthday celebrations was with floating island--in a sea of tangerine crème anglaise.
Back to today. Soon after New Years, I was at Pearl and remembered. Did they still have any? The answer was predictable--"We sold the last of it yesterday."
Luckily, Powell's bookstore is a block away--I stepped in and bought a red moleskine 2009 calendar (oddly reminiscent of the 'Little Red Book' people used to sell in the Berkeley of my childhood). Inside, I made a note on the week of December 14th: "Look for Pearl eggnog".