It takes me a lot of time and hard work to maintain my 'geek' street cred. Take, for instance, what I spent my summer doing (when not traveling): watching the entire rebooted series of Doctor Who, beginning to end. I felt that it was my duty and obligation as a self-proclaimed, card-carrying geek to fill myself in on the cultural phenomenon that is the Doctor. (that, and Star Trek: Deep Space 9 hadn't been released on Netflix on-demand yet.) And I have to say, Doctor Who. is. awesome.
The one sad part about the show is that it doesn't seem to be quite as ubiquitous here as in the UK, so it's difficult to find people who "get" the Doctor Who references that I drop. Laughing silently with yourself is just not the same. So imagine my surprise and delight when my Doctor knowledge actually came in handy one day in class, of all places! [warning: geeky story starts here] One guy in class was joking around about true 'universal' statements in language, having come up with the seeming universal "All language must occur in time." (Backstory: universal statements about languages are really hard to prove and are constantly being debunked. For instance, think all languages have numbers? Some linguists have claimed that certain languages don't have numbers like we do, only concepts like "one, a few, many.") From across the room, a girl in the class suddenly shouts, "Not the Doctor's language! If he occupies the same point in time twice, then his language is occurring out of time!" Now, it will immediately occur to all of you detail-oriented Doctor fans that this statement is blatantly untrue, because the Doctor cannot cross his own timeline, a fact which I quickly pointed out to the class. Finally, in a coup de grâce, my friend in class leaned over and made a time-traveling and theoretical phonology joke that is just far too geeky to print on this blog. #win.
So it seems that I am slowly discovering a hidden world of Doctor fans around me. In reporting this incident on my facebook wall, I proceeded to learn that one of my advisors is an even bigger (and detail-oriented) Doctor fan that I am. ... Here's a mystery of the universe for you: why is it that your advisors are always better than you at everything??? (And please don't say it's because they're doctors....!)
[click photo for larger image]
In my Doctor Who-craze, I really wanted to be a character out of the show for Halloween. If I had the means and time, my first choice would be a Weeping Angel, because they are some of the awesomest and scariest villains on the show. But, in lieu of a costume since I won't have much time this year, I thought I would dress my dessert up as something Doctor Who -inspired: fritter-sticks and pudding, a reference to the favorite (and disgusting) fishsticks and pudding combination of the latest Doctor incarnate. This non-savory version is much, much more appetizing than fish and sweet pudding--I assure you--, consisting of lemon yogurt fritters and vanilla nutmeg baked custard: subtle spices of nutmeg and vanilla in the smooth cream, and a sweet tang of lemon in the deep-fried dough. Eat it as the Doctor does: dipping the fresh, sugar-coated fritters into the pudding!
Even if you aren't a Doctor Who fan, or you have now decided to stop reading this blog because I have betrayed how much of a geek I am, at least try this recipe before you go. No geek street cred required!
P.S. Favorite Doctor moments? Share below! Here's mine.
P.P.S. Also, my how lucky that I happen to have a Tardis-blue table on hand! :)
Read on for recipes....
"Fritter-sticks and Pudding"
makes 15-20 four-inch fritters
oil for frying
2 cups (296 gr) AP flour
1 tspn baking powder
zest of 1 lemon, freshly grated
3/4 cup (150 gr) sugar, and more for rolling
3/4 cup (188 gr) whole fat plain yogurt
juice of 1 lemon
1 tspn vanilla extract
1. Heat the oil until 375 degrees F.
2. Meanwhile, whisk to combine the flour, baking powder, lemon zest, and 3/4 cup sugar.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, yogurt, lemon juice, and vanilla extract.
4. Stir to combine the wet and dry ingredients. The batter will be thick.
5. Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe 4-inch long pieces into the hot oil, a few at a time. Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side until the outsides are deep golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on a wire rack.
6. Once they have cooled briefly, roll the fritters in sugar.
makes four 8-oz. servings
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup (67 gr) sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 tspn grated nutmeg, and more for serving
1 vanilla bean
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Prepare four 8-oz. ramekins in a hot water bath.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, and sugar. Set aside.
3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream and grated nutmeg. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the cream. Add the pod as well. Bring the cream to a simmer.
4. Remove the vanilla pod. Temper the egg yolks by slowly pouring the heated cream into the yolks, whisking the entire time.
5. Divide the custard between the ramekins. Cover with aluminum foil.
6. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the edges are set but the custard still jiggles when gently moved. Remove from the oven, remove from the water bath, and let cool. Sprinkle with more grated nutmeg before serving warm or cold.
Fritter recipe loosely adapted from Tartelette.
Custard recipe loosely adapted from Donna Hay.