I really don’t have a sweet tooth and rarely think about dessert, except when company’s coming.
It’s the salty, sour tastes that I crave. Chocolate, however, is the big exception. I just love it – the rich, dark, semi-sweet kind, that is.
Without exception my Aunt Flora’s recipe for Pots de Crème is simply the best chocolate dessert I’ve ever eaten. It’s simple and decadent. Most things that came from her kitchen were.
Aunt Flora was my favorite of mother’s four sisters. She, Uncle Harry, and my cousin Bonnie lived on what Daddy referred to as a “gentleman’s farm” in Maryland. Their stately home was at the end of a long driveway, flanked by white fences and green pastures. Adjacent to the house was a big, white barn for the horses.
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I was lucky to spend my vacations at the farm when I was growing up. Aunt Flora was beautiful, gracious and sophisticated. I wanted to be just like her. I learned a lot from my favorite aunt.
I learned that if two little girls (Bonnie and I) want to dress cats in doll clothes and then take those cats for a ride in the car, you patiently drive them around, hoping the backseat upholstery doesn’t get torn to shreds.
I learned that you try to be a good hostess in spite of the fact that the pressure cooker has blown up and the kitchen ceiling is spattered with spaghetti sauce.
I learned that when all those around you start dying their hair, it’s OK to let yours go gray. Silver hair can be stunning and is a neutral color that goes with anything.
The importance of family closeness, entertaining with ease, having fun, being stylish, the wisdom that comes with age, and facing health issues with courage and devotion – all lessons learned from Aunt Flora.
I think of her often. I have a large watercolor of the farm in our front hallway, pictures of her in family photo albums, a set of her dishes in the kitchen and some of her recipes in my recipe box.
Those recipes are dear to me. Some are in her handwriting. All of them are fantastic. Her recipe for Pots de Crème is the one I use the most.
This dessert is rich and a little goes a long way. It’s perfect for a special occasion.
Pots de Crème is rich and elegant. Just like my Aunt Flora.
Joy Smith is a Fort Mill resident. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.