Except for the time I kicked my pregnant dentist during a harrowing visit to get a tooth pulled, I was always a well-behaved kid during medical appointments. I sat quietly through the poking and prodding and the embarrassing buttcheek injections and was usually rewarded for my stoicism with some small token— a lollipop or a sticker or a cartoon Band-Aid.
I’m now solidly into my 30s and very much still in the habit of no matter how routine the appointment, how good or bad it goes, but especially if it had anything to do with stirrups, getting myself a treat almost immediately after.
Yesterday, as I hobbled out of a podiatrist appointment with a bandaged ankle and strict orders to not go running again until I’d had an MRI of my leg and the doctor cleared me, I was feeling all sorts of deflated. But as I limped back to my office, moping as I went, I passed Bourke Street Bakery, and knew I had to go in for a post-doctor’s visit reward / pick me up.
The small ginger creme brulee tart with roasted pistachios I had there did nothing for my leg or the fact that my marathon training is temporarily derailed, but for the couple of minutes that it took me to eat it, I actually didn’t even care. A good pastry will do that, and hence this tradition continues.
As my spoon shattered the crispy, caramelized top, it gave way to a creamy, butter-colored custard underneath it. The crust below it was buttery and thick, a firm base to hold everything without getting soggy or mushy. As someone who appreciates different textures in her food, I loved that each bite was a mix of creamy, crumbly and crunchy, with the roasted pistachio bits sprinkled on top adding a nutty element.
If there’s an upside to this whole injured leg of mine and the follow-up appointments to come, it’s that it means more post-visit treats. And with my podiatrist’s office just a couple of blocks away from Bourke Street, ginger creme brulee tarts might be the new tradition.