Mom’s recipe: cremă de zahăr ars

We had a nice and busy multicultural festival in DERI this week. We’re over 130 people from about 30 countries, so there was a lot of interesting things to find out and a lot of yummy (and interesting) food to try.

Our stand (Romania) was very busy and my contribution was quite modest – this desert and mamaliga (polenta).

The literal translation of the name of the desert is “cream of burned sugar”. It is something like creme caramel or creme brulee, but not exactly the same. This is my mom’s recipe, which I absolutely love, and it’s also easy enough to make (the proof of that is the fact I was able to make it successfully 🙂 ).


  • 3-5 eggs depending on how many people you want to feed. I made it from 5 eggs and managed to split it in more than 20 tiny tiny taster portions.
  • about 10 table spoons of sugar, depending on the number of eggs and the size of the pot.
  • 600ml to 1l milk, also depending on the number of eggs used
  • max 1 table spoon of flour
  • vanilla (either essence, stick or sugar)


  1. Melt 4 table spoons of sugar in a pot (about 10cm deep) and cover the inside of the pot with the “burned sugar”. Leave to cool down.
  2. Separate the yolks from the whites
  3. Mix the yolks with 1 table spoon of sugar per egg (3 eggs -> 3 spoons of sugar, 4 eggs -> 4 spoons of sugar, …). Mix until the eggs become white-ish.
    Add vanilla (essence, stick, sugar.. whatever you prefer).
    Add 1 teaspoon / half table spoon of flour.
    Add warm milk (just warm, if it’s too hot the mix becomes scrambled eggs!) Use 200ml of milk per egg.
    Mix them well and set aside.
  4. Beat the egg whites into a firm foam.
  5. Mix in the result of step 3.
    Mix well enough to break any big clumps of egg white foam (they rise up and get burned too much otherwise).
  6. Pour the mix in the pot covered with sugar and put in the oven for 30 – 35 minutes.
  7. Serve cold (if you have the patience to let it cool down).

Organic veggies and lettuce soup recipe

For the past weeks we’ve been receiving organic veggies and fruit from a local farm and we love it! Most interesting is getting strange veggies that we would not normally buy if left on our own, like chicory .. or leek and rhubarb. Also, the carrots taste yummy and the tomatoes are very good and taste like tomatoes. Something else that makes me happy is that they actually go bad in a few days if not eaten. This is double win for us: 1. it makes us eat them fresh and 2. it means no preservatives. I always find it freaky when vegetables look like just bought even after 2 or more weeks .. We also get recipes in the box, to match the contents – one salad in particular was a big success and we had it twice already! (with improvements by the head chef)

We also get loads of lettuce, which is best cooked as soup (my opinion, not shared by everybody). So, I made soup – a big pot of it. It was a bigger success in the office than it was at home, and because it was requested, here is the recipe I used:

Ingredients (for about 6 big portions):

  • 2 medium lettuce heads (any kind is good, I usually like iceberg lettuce)
  • 4 medium cloves of garlic (about half a head of garlic)
  • 1l milk
  • 1l water
  • 3-4 tablespoons of oil (sunflower or vegetable)
  • 1 tablespoon of plain white flour
  • salt and pepper
  • sour cream and yogurt for serving

Before you start:
Wash well the lettuce and cut the leaves in small pieces (aprox. 2cm x 2cm) I normally tear them by hand and not worry too much about being equal, or pretty.
Peel the garlic, and crush it.

Put the oil in a pot – enough to cover the base but not more. Add the crushed garlic and fry for a few minutes. Take care not to burn the garlic. Add the flour and mix continuously for a few more minutes so it doesn’t stick to the pot. Continue to stir and add milk bit by bit so it becomes a white sauce, without clumps. Add all the milk and bring it to boil. Mix often so it doesn’t stick. Add the water and chopped lettuce. Add salt and ground pepper to taste – the lettuce can be quite sweet sometimes, so make sure you add enough salt. Let it boil for about 30 minutes (or until all the lettuce is soft) on low heat, covered with a lid. Make sure to stir occasionally so that it doesn’t stick and burn. Warning: because it contains a lot of milk, it might swell when boiling, so keep an eye on it at all times.

When serving:
Mix 1 spoon of sour cream and 1 spoon of yogurt in a bowl before pouring the hot soup in it. You can use less or more of this, as you like. I eat it with lots of bread, but it is also good without.

This is the way my grandmother makes this soup, and the way I like it, but there are several variations to it, like adding smoked meat, or lard, or sausages to it. I suppose they are added somewhere around adding flour to the garlic, but I’m not sure. The meat is usually chopped in small pieces. The soup will have to boil for longer so the meat is cooked through. There are people who add the yogurt directly to the pot of soup, but it might make the milk in the soup go sour, and I don’t like that. Some people also put lemon juice or vinegar in the bowl when eating the soup, to make it a bit more sour.

If you try it, let me know how it was 🙂 Enjoy!