If you've ever wanted to have dinner with Joan Didion, this is probably as close as you're gonna get. Last fall, her nephew Griffin Dunne ran a highly successful Kickstarter campaign to fund a documentary about the famed author, whose books include "The White Album" and "The Year of Magical Thinking." One of the donor prizes was an electronic copy of her recipe book—which a denizen of the Internet has now kindly posted online. It contains that one thing you've always wanted: Joan Didion's borscht recipe. How about artichokes au gratin? Risotto? Vodka sauce (for the record: 1 stick butter, 1 t red pepper flakes, 1 c vodka, 1 8-oz can tomato sauce, 1 tomato, 1 c heavy cream)? Yes, please.
To get you started on your Didion-style culinary adventures, here's the author's recipe for crème caramel:
Melt 1 cup sugar in 1/2 cup water in saucepan + cook until golden. Line 12 cups with this caramelized sugar + let it set.
Scald 4 cups milk with long piece of vanilla bean. Meanwhile, beat together 6 eggs, 4 additional egg yolks, and 1 cup sugar.
Remove vanilla bean + trickle hot milk into egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour this mixture with care over caramel in cups.
Place cups in pan of hot water + into 350° oven for 20-25 min, until point of knife comes out of center clean. (Water must not boil.) Chill + unmold.