Crème Brûlée


For my birthday I told my husband to nix his plans of buying me a cake.  He usually overdoes it anyhow by buying a full sheet cake when there is only 4 of us in the house and I don’t even particularly care for cake.  I told him I would figure out a dessert and he bought a white cake mix as a hint I suppose.  Cake just wasn’t on my list – it usually isn’t.

I toyed with making a cheesecake or just pudding and suddenly the idea came to me of crème brûlée.  I got rather involved mentally into making this scrumptious dessert – so much so that I forgot the basic requirement – a kitchen torch.  So before we start, let me remind you that you will need either a kitchen torch, or you can cheat as I did and use the broiler setting at about 550 degrees F.  Your call.

Crème brûlée is literally translated as burnt cream and is credited to be of French origin.  You take a fairly basic custard recipe, sprinkle some sugar on it and burn the sugar before serving.  Both Spain and England have their own twists and claims in the fire on this dessert with additions of lemon, orange, cinnamon and caramel.  For my recipe, we’re going to stick with the standard because I figure why screw with a good thing?

A word of caution, when stirring the custard mixture, don’t use an electric mixer.  You don’t want to incorporate air into this.  You are only stirring until the ingredients are blended.  If you over blend the mixture, its consistency will turn out poorly as custards should be dense and thick.

Ingredients

1 quart heavy whipping cream

2 Tablespoons vanilla extract

6 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

4 Tablespoons sugar

Directions

  • In a large sauce pan over medium heat, heat the cream and 1 Tablespoon of the vanilla.  (Set the other tablespoon aside, you will use it later).
  • Bring cream to boil and immediately remove from heat.  Cover and set it aside.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, blend 1/2 cup sugar with egg yolks, stirring until yolk mixture is a softer yellow colour.
  • Add one spoonful of cream to the egg mixture, stirring quickly.
  • Continue to add cream a spoonful at a time, stirring well after each addition, until you have added about half of the cream to the yolk mixture.
  • Pour in remaining cream and blend well.
  • Place four ramekins into an oven safe glass baking dish or casserole pan and add enough water into the baking dish so that it is halfway up the outsides of the ramekins.
  • Pour custard mixture evenly into each ramekin.
  • Bake in oven uncovered for about 45 minutes at 325 degrees F.  Custard should have a slightly golden surface with rippled textures when done.
  • Refrigerate for thirty minutes minimum.
  • In a small mixing bowl, add 1 Tablespoon of the remaining vanilla to 4 Tablespoons of sugar.  Use an electric mixer (or blender) to saturate the sugar crystals and make them of a finer texture.
  • Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of vanilla sugar over each cooled custard, shaking slightly to spread it evenly over the top.
  • Using the broiler setting for those without a torch, heat the oven to 550 degrees F and move the upper rack to allow your ramekin to be within an inch to two inches from the heating element.  Broil until the sugar burns to a dark brown, it should form a hard crust on the top of the custard, it should take less than 2 minutes.
  • If you have a torch, ignite the torch away from the ramekin and slowly approach.  You will want to guide it slowly back and forth until the sugar bubbles and then crystallizes, forming a dark brown crust over the custard.
  • Serve warm

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2 Comments to “Crème Brûlée”

  1. THANK YOU! I NEVER KNEW YOU COULD DO CREME BRULEE WITHOUT A TORCH. I TRIED THIS TONIGHT AND IT WAS SO EASY AND GOOD!

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