I absolutely love these photos done by Michael Ruhlman's wife, Donna. The first is vanilla sauce and then a simple cut through on a puff pastry. It's much more difficult to photograph food in B/W but the texture of the food that comes out is amazing.
I like these things. I also included the recipe for the Vanilla Sauce.
One recipe, four preparations. And yes I do have a ratio for it, 4:1:1:
Vanilla Sauce: 4 parts milk/cream : 1 part yolk : 1 part sugar
8 ounces milk
8 ounces cream
1 vanilla bean split down the middle
4 ounces sugar (about half a cup)
4 ounces yolk (about 7 large yolks)
Combine milk, cream, and vanilla bean in a sauce pan and bring up the heat till just before it simmers; remove from heat and allow the bean to steep while you prepare an ice bath (a large bowl of ice, with a small bowl set in the ice, with a strainer set in the bowl—you'll be straining the hot sauce into the cold bowl to halt its cooking).
Combine the eggs and sugar and whisk to combine (some people add the sugar to the cream which is fine, too).
Scrape the vanilla beans out of the pod and into the cream (put the pod in some sugar for vanilla sugar).
Bring the cream just to a simmer, whisk some of it into the yolks to temper them, then add the remaining cream while whisking. Pour it all back into the pot, strirring with a heatproof rubber spatula over medium heat until it's thick, a minute or 2 or more depending on your heat. Don't boil it our you'll harden the egg. Immediately strain the coats-the-back-of-a-spoon-thick sauce into the ice cold bowl and stir with the spatula till it's chilled.
The sauce can be used as is (over berries, a tart, a slice of chocolate cake), or it can be be frozen in your ice cream machine. Same ingredients, but a little different preps, will give you creme patissiere and creme brulee.
Does it sound complicated? It's not. If you're, organized the whole process takes about 12 minutes.