Here at The Ordinary, in our illustration division (located in a spacious and sunny atrium between the rooftop greenhouse and the outdoor swimming pool in the parpapets) we like to draw mixed up animals. You can find us hard at work, day and night, combining winged creatures, finned creatures and those with claws and tails. The best part of this fantastical exercise, is that the resulting mixed up creature is usually quite delightful. Let us present a few choice examples from our archives…
Isaac’s Ring-tailed Ouzel
Ring tailed ouzel
And my squirrel-giraffe
This dessert is a mixed up animal, too! Part cobbler, part crisp, part frangipane, part clafoutis. It’s fruity, soft, chocolatey, and crispy all at the same time! Here’s how it all went down: I had bought a bag of cherries. In general, cherries don’t last long in this house. However, we went away twice for a few days within a week or two, and before we knew it, the cherries were past their first blush of youth. Well! A chance to bake!! I wanted to make a cobbler/crisp type dessert. I also had clafoutis on my mind (the french cherry & baked custard dish) – specifically I was thinking about clafoutis with a frangipane type of custard. This combines all of those things. We have a layer of warm cherries splashed with rum, a layer of soft baked almond custard with bittersweet chocolate chips, and a crispy coconut topping. If I do say so, and I do, this is one of the most delicious things I’ve ever made! It has a lot of different flavors, it’s true, but they all go very nicely together. We ate it warm with lightly whipped cream flavored with maple syrup and vanilla.
Here’s The Kangaroo Rat from the Beastie Boys. I know that’s an actual animal, but they look so unlikely (perfect, but unlikely!) And the album is called the mix-up, so it’s double extra good.
Here at The Ordinary, we are done baking with cadbury mini eggs (until the next time!). We’ve used the milk and royal dark mini-eggs in cookies. But we hadn’t used the mini creme eggs. That was a bridge we’d have to cross. Some might say a bridge too far. As you are no doubt aware, I am a scholar of savory pastries, and It has come to my attention that throughout the world you find some variation or a pastry with a crust, a soft yet firm inner layer, and a hard-boiled egg hidden inside. This would be the starting point for our mini creme egg experiments. The jumping-off point from that bridge too far. So I made little tarts, with a paté sucrée crust (kind of shortbread-y) a blackcurrant-almond filling, and one mini-egg hidden in each one. I was very curious to see how the creme eggs would fare in a hot oven. They sort of melted, but they’re still recognizable as creme eggs, I think. I like them! My boys love them! David thinks they’d be better without the cadbury creme egg, because what the heck is that cremey stuff made out of, anyway?!? My one regret is that I mixed the blackcurrant jam with the almond paste, rather than including it as a layer. But only because it turned the inside a bit grey, not because it doesn’t taste good. I think if you used raspberry jam, the whole thing would be pink and pretty. I don’t know for sure – I might have to try it!
My love of black currants is the legendary stuff of legend. Unfortunately, they’re not readily available in America, and my tiny black currant bush doesn’t produce very much in the summer, let alone in January. What bad luck! But black currant jam and creme de cassis are readily available in America. What good luck! For a while now, I’ve been wanting to make a bakewell tart…a tart with a pate sucree crust, a layer of jam, and a layer of almond-cake-like frangipane. I have such fond memories of eating them as a child, when we lived in England, out of a little box, with fondant and a cherry. Mine would be a little different, though. Of course I wanted to use black currant jam. And then I decided to add dried tart cherries and chocolate chips, for a balance of deliciousness. I soaked the cherries in cassis, then mixed them with the jam and the chocolate, and, I must say, the combination is killer! Especially together with the crispy cookie-like crust and the soft fragrant almond topping. A wonderful combination of crunchy, chewy, sweet and tart.
Here’s Ska Jam by Tommy McCook and the Supersonics