Photo by Ellen Silverman
Late in the evening, I often find myself wandering into the kitchen like some sort of hungry bear, or raccoon, or snuffling truffle pig, looking for something sweet to eat: not fruit, something more powerfully dessert-like.
That's when I devise odd, curiously delicious and satisfying concoctions that are the products of serious constraints: a pantry and fridge with a hodgepodge of offerings due to my aversion to buying a bona fide dessert, coupled with my refusal to bake or spend much time cooking, or get dressed and go out to buy ice cream.
The occasional sweets I do keep in the house, like amaretti cookies, are invariably too austere and chaste to be truly satisfying--my attempt at not keeping anything really fattening around.
Amaretti are perfectly honorable Italian cookies make from egg whites, sugar, and bitter almonds, but my wild hunger one night craved extremes of cream puff and gateau.
Photo by alice q. foodie/Flickr CC
I suppose what possessed me to stack amaretti with crème fraiche into a miniature leaning tower was a faint, sudden memory of the classic ice box cake of my childhood: thin, store-bought chocolate wafers layered with whipped cream, left to soften for a couple of hours into a cake.