Friday, June 28, 2013

Creme Brulee

The flavors of creme brulee are delicious – the melding of the creamy vanilla custard and the crispy sweetness of the caramelized topping is incredible.  The dish is elegant and beautiful, and, fortunately, its relatively easy to make.  That is definitely a good thing, because once you try this, you may make it often.

Cooking the custard in its water bath.

The finished creme brulee.  I should have put a little more sugar on the top so I would have had more of the carmelization over it.  Hmmm….  Oh well, I’ll just have to make them again. Just so I can work on the carmelization technique.  My oh my, the things we have to suffer through to perfect our skills.  Its tough, isn’t it?

Note: the vanilla sugar is super easy to make - just place a vanilla bean or two in a container with sugar and let sit for several weeks or a month.  If you don't have vanilla sugar - don't let that stop you!  Regular sugar will work just fine.  

Creme Brulee

  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • dash vanilla extract
  • 7 large egg yolks
  • 2 quarts hot water
  • a scant 1 cup vanilla sugar, divided
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Place the cream, salt, vanilla bean and the seeds into a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean.  In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup sugar and the egg yolks until well blended and it just starts to lighten in color. Add the cream a little at a time, stirring continually.  Add the vanilla extract.  Strain through a wire mesh strainer.  Pour the liquid into 8 (6 ounce) ramekins. Place the ramekins into a large cake pan or roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake just until the creme brulee is set, but still wiggling in the center, approximately 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (they can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, which makes this a great “last minute” dessert to pull out of the fridge when you have company over).  When you are ready to serve, place a little less than a tablespoon of sugar on each top.  Using a torch (I have a little butane torch), melt the sugar and form a crispy top.  Allow the creme brulee to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.

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