Creme Brulee

Today, a dear friend and fencing student of ours came over to hang out for the day, and make Creme Brulee.

Special equipment:
Ten 5 oz ramekins
Kitchen torch (or you can use your oven’s broiler, carefully).

Ingredients:
1 quart heavy cream
5.5 oz of egg yolks (about 8 or so yolks)
6 oz granulated sugar
Pinch of Salt
2 tbsp vanilla (or 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped)
5oz brulee sugar (50/50 granulated and light brown, mixed)

Method:

In a largish mixing bowl, beat the eggs and 2oz of sugar and set aside.

In a large sauce pan, combine the cream, salt, and 4 oz of the sugar. Bring to a simmer, gently, stirring reasonably often so as not to burn the cream on the bottom. Remove from heat. Add the vanilla bean scrapings and the pod, cover and let steep for 15 minutes. Return to the heat, and bring to a boil.

Note: if you use vanilla extract, ignore the steeping step, bring the cream directly to a boil, remove from heat, add about 2tbsp of vanilla extract, and move on to the next step.

Once the vanilla is in and the cream has reached a boil, remove it from the heat and temper it into the egg/sugar mixture in a slow stream (perhaps half a ladle full at a time), stirring constantly

The tempering step is to avoid creating sweet, clumpy, thin scrambled eggs. If you appear to have any lumps, strain the custard through a fine strainer.

When all the cream has been combined with the yolks, fill the ramekins about 3/4 of the way full.

Using a sheet cake baking pan, lasagna tray, (i.e., something oven save with decently high sides) make a water bath by placing a clean wash cloth in the bottom of the tray, placing the ramekins on top of it, and then filling the tray with water until it is halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Bake in a 325 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes (we could have gone about 28 probalby), until just set. The custards will jiggle in the middle and seem fairly liquid.

Remove the custard/ramekins from the water bath and refrigerate until fully chilled.

Coat the custards with a layer of the brulee sugar about 1/16th” deep, and caramelize with a kitchen torch, or under the broiler, keeping a close eye on them.

Let the creme brulee refrigerate again, so that they fully set up and chill.

If you omit the burnt sugar topping, you will have made a simple baked custard.

For a coffee flavor, substitute for (or add to) the vanilla, an ounce of dark roast whole coffee beans at the steeping step.

Hours later, our apartment smells of vanilla and burnt sugar, and it’s fantastic.

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