I have never in all my years had a Crème Brûlée! Where has this dessert been all my life?
Crème Brûlée also known as burnt cream, is a dessert consisting of a rich custard base topped with a layer of hardened caramelized sugar. It is customarily served slightly chilled; the heat from the caramelizing process tends to warm the custard slightly leaving a cool center. Crème Brûlée is traditionally flavored with vanilla, but other flavors can be used.
Today is Valentines Day, and as I said in my last post, Shrimp Scampi Pizza, which if you haven’t tried it yet you really must!!
Tim and I do not make large romantic gestures on Valentines Day. Having said that we do love the large gesture of dessert.
Sweet tooth central is where we live, dessert is the whole purpose of a meal. Ice cream or gelato, cookies, cake, pie…..you get the idea. As I said at the beginning of the post I had never had Crème Brûlée in all of my 60 years, never ordered it in a restaurant or tried to make it a home.
Usually, the only time I don’t have dessert is when we eat out, oh don’t get me wrong a couple of hours later and its a cookie, or candy, but not at the restaurant.
And honestly to make Crème Brûlée at home seemed a bit out of my wheelhouse, which was precisely why I decided to try it now. New experience, new dessert.
It turned out beautifully. If you follow the directions and do not try and rush the steps, it’s really quite easy. The scariest part is tempering the eggs, and once I realized the worst thing that could happen was that I would scramble the eggs, I just dove in.
If I can make things ahead of time, it makes my day, Crème Brûlée made my day. You can make it up to four days ahead. Great for a dinner party or a romantic evening. Just pull it out of the frig, sprinkle it with sugar, torch it until the sugar melts, and ta-da an elegant dessert.
Part of my hesitation in making Crème Brûlée has been the water bath process, it can be intimidating. You don’t want water in the custard and how do you get them out of the water bath without making a mess?
You buy yourself a Crème Brûlée set on Amazon. It comes with the baking pan, the ramekins, and a little rack that hold the ramekins so they set in the water and you can remove them all at one time. Best of all it’s under twenty bucks. You do not need one of these to make a spectacular Crème Brûlée. But if you like kitchen gadgets and have a hankering for a delicious, beautiful dessert get this gadget!! Don’t be intimidated by Crème Brûlée!
PS I want to send a big thank you to my Elementary staff for the beautiful plates that you see in the photos. They were a gift from my staff and they were perfect for this recipe. You ladies are awesome!!!!Print
2 cup cold heavy cream
4 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 large egg yolks
½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 teaspoons turbinado sugar
Raspberries and mint leaves for garnish
Preheat oven to 300° position the rack in the lower third of the oven.
Bring a pot of water to boil( I used my tea kettle).
Place 4 – 4ounce ramekins in an 8-inch square baking dish.
In a small saucepan combine 1 cup of the heavy cream, sugar, and salt. Gently bring to a boil over medium heat, frequently stirring with a whisk.
Remove cream from heat and let cool for 5 minutes, then add the remaining heavy cream to further cool the mixture.
In a medium, heatproof bowl whisk the egg yolks until smooth and well combined.
Add the vanilla bean seeds, vanilla extract and ¼ cup of the cream mixture whisking continuously to combine.
Continue to add the heavy cream mixture in a steady stream until the custard is smooth and the color is a uniform pale yellow.
Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a large measuring cup, discarding anything that collects in the strainer.
Pour boiling water into the baking dish until it is halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Divide the custard between the ramekins.
Place the custards into the preheated oven. Be careful not to get water into the custard.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the sides are set and the middle is still a little wobbly.
Carefully remove the custards from the water bath and allow to cool for 1 hour or until they are room temperature.
Cover with plastic wrap touching the tops of the custard and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. You can hold them for up to 4 days.
To Serve the Crème Brûlée:
Remove custards from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Remove the plastic wrap and blot any liquid that may be on the surface of the custard.
Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the turbinado sugar evenly over the surface of each custard.
Using a culinary torch, move the flame across the surface of the custard never leaving the torch in one spot for too long – until the sugar has all melted and is turning golden brown.
Garnish with raspberries and mint leaves.