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There are certain desserts that seem perpetually remote.  Clafouti.  Mincemeat pie.  Almost any dessert that calls for rose water.  Whether I’ve ordered these desserts in a restaurant or made them at home, I still don’t feel like I know them.  Not really.

Show me a slice of chocolate cake, or an eclair, or an oatmeal raisin cookie and I’ll show you a dessert that wants to be loved.  These desserts reveal their charms at once.  Nothing is held back.

But blanc manger is a mystery to me.  It’s not silky like flan.  It’s not creamy like pudding.  And my guess is that if you ask me in five years to describe it, you’ll get a blank look.  “Oh, yeah, blanc manger.  It’s… oh… it’s like…. Well, hmmmm…..”

Frankly, it’s a little like baby food: light bodied, milky, slightly sweet.  Strawberries are in season here, so that’s what I used on top.  Not a good choice.  The base is bland and it cried out for a tart fruit like raspberries.

Dorie says this is a foolproof recipe and I had a chance to test that claim.  In the final stage, you’re supposed to mix the almond mixture into the softly whipped cream, and I somehow managed to drop the entire small bowl of almond mixture into the big bowl of freshly whipped cream.  Not the contents of the bowl.  The bowl itself, bottom first.  I plucked the small bowl out and dumped the almond mixture straight in, without stopping to think that perhaps it would have been wise to re-whip the cream just a touch.  Ah well.  It didn’t seem to hurt it, so I can vouch for this dessert’s “foolproof” status.

Thanks to Susan of Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy for selecting this week’s recipe.  You can find the recipe on her blog or on pages 398-399 of Baking: From My Home to Yours.

There’s something unknowable or indescribable to me about desserts like this one.  They’re not at all like chocolate cake, or banana cream pie, or oatmeal raisin cookies – these desserts just want to be loved.  They reveal their charms at once.  Nothing is held back.

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Hello world!

Here we are.  On the web together.  What should we do?  What would be fun?

Here’s a thought.  Let’s share our all-time favorite recipes, the ones that receive rave reviews, the ones your family requests every holiday, the ones that have prompted total strangers to ask, “can I have the recipe for that?”  I want to see the recipes that have made you famous (even if it’s just with your immediate family, or maybe especially if it’s with your immediate family).

I love to track down the best, the most popular, the most discussed recipes available in cookbooks and online.  I’m talking about things like the chocolate lava cake (which is no longer new, of course, but it was once…).  How is it that no one had ever thought of that before?  Last year, for me, it was Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread.

But the truth is, most of my all-time favorite recipes come from friends, family, and, on occasion, total strangers.  And that’s why this blog, My Famous Recipe, exists.

I’m going to ask friends and family — well, the ones who are good cooks — to submit their most-requested recipes and/or recipes they’ve requested from another good cook.  Each recipe will be accompanied by a little blurb that describes its origin (kinda like they do it in the RSVP section of Bon Appetit, my favorite part of that magazine).

We all go to potlucks, parties, work functions, and discover that a neighbor or colleague has created something really special: the best brownies you’ve ever had or a fabulous pumpkin bread.  Get that recipe and send it here!

Before long, we’re going to have a great collection.  I’ll try to keep them organized and I’ll confess up front that I’m partial to baking and desserts, so we might be a little heavy in that area.  But I hope you’ll agree that’s not a bad thing.

Here we go!

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