by jkatejohnston

6 August 2013

Dear Max,

Teresa took Enzo to Panda Express so that I could make my birthday cake. After eating they opened their fortune cookies. Enzo’s said YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE A VERY COMFORTABLE LIFE. Teresa’s cookie was empty.

My birthday cake was not a triumph this year, but I still ate almost the whole thing myself over a few days. It was a blackberry tart with zabaglione pastry cream and a bitchin’ burnt sugar and almond crust. I lost my springform pan, so I had to bake the crust in a big pasta bowl and the sides cooked faster than the bottom, so the bottom wasn’t really done. Also, the pastry cream wasn’t quite sweet enough. I could only find sweet marsala (which is so wrong) so I cut the sugar from the recipe I was adapting, and I guess I cut it too much. The burnt sugar crust: you make caramelized melted sugar in a saucepan with a bit of ground ginger (and next time I’m going to use salt too). Pour it out on waxed paper and let it cool. Pulverize it into a sand-like texture in the food processor. Then use it instead of regular sugar in the tart crust. It’s nice, surprising, very good. And you could sprinkle the caramel-ginger sugar in tea or on oatmeal and so on. It’s a good thing to have around. I want to try cardamom next time as well as ginger. Or maybe instead of.


Enzo: “Can I say a bad word?”

Teresa: “No.”

Enzo: “It might be bad.”

Teresa: “Whisper it in my ear. [He does.] ‘Chicks’ is okay.”

Enzo: “I mean like girls.”

Teresa: “I think that’s still okay.”

Enzo: “Hot chicks.”

Teresa. “No hot. Just chicks.”