It doesn't work that way for desserts. Desserts are the "hospital corners" of cooking. There is comparatively little room for spontaneity when it comes to dessert recipes. There are repercussions from using baking soda instead of baking powder; you can't just wing it with a cup of heavy cream more or less.
Everyday cooking is theater. It's the scallopine hitting the saute pan with a burst of flame. It's the explosion of bubbles and steam as you add wine to deglaze a pan. Cooking is for showmen, desserts are for surgeons. It's why I cook dinner and SSSal makes the desserts. I just don't have the patience or precision for dessert making. She does.
After senior year in high school SSSal spent the summer living in Paris. She learned to appreciate the French culture and food. So here's a simplified (no, really) version of a dessert that she's always wanted to try. I wouldn't call it easy, but for you precise types out there it should right up your alley (or is that "place"?).
Ile Flottante, Floating Islands with Lemon-Scented Custard Sauce and Raspberries
from Bon Appetit, April 2008, Jeanne Thiel Kelley
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup whole milk
6 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
1/2 cup egg whites (about 4 large)
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup sugar
6 paper-thin lemon slices
2 6-ounce containers fresh raspberries
Gradually whisk hot cream mixture into yolks.
Return mixture to saucepan and stir over medium-low heat until custard thickens and leaves path on back of spoon when finger is drawn across, about 3 minutes (do not boil).
Pour custard into bowl. Stir in lemon juice and peel.
Cool slightly, then chill uncovered until cold. do ahead Sauce can be made 2 days ahead.
Cover and keep refrigerated.
For meringue islands:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Generously butter six 3/4-cup soufflé dishes and dust with sugar. Place on baking sheet.
Using electric mixer, beat egg whites with pinch of salt in large bowl until soft peaks form.
Gradually beat in sugar.
Continue beating until stiff and glossy.
Divide meringue among prepared soufflé dishes, mounding slightly.
Bake until meringues puff and begin to brown lightly on top and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 15 minutes.
Cool to room temperature, at least 20 minutes and up to 3 hours (meringues will deflate).
Invert meringues, then turn top side up and place on sauce. Garnish with lemon slices and sprinkle with raspberries.
The result is this eggy, marshmellowy meringue sitting atop the best vanilla pudding you've ever had. A word of warning, like the recipe says, the meringues do deflate so don't be upset. Also a touch of fresh mint wouldn't hurt the look or taste of this dish.
OK crablings, This one was a little tough but I think you'll find the result worth it. See you next time, remember, you can do it, you can cook.