The Perfect Creme Brulee– guest post from my sister, Kara

Crème brulee has always been one of my favorite desserts. I usually order it when I’m at really nice restaurants as it seems appropriate since it’s such a classy decadent ending to a great meal (and it seems to be an item that is kind of unique to menus at fancy restaurants). So I was very happy and surprised when I came home from a long day of work and traveling to find that my boyfriend (yes- he’s amazing!) had surprised me and made me crème brulee. It was the BEST crème brulee I’ve ever had- so creamy and rich and I definitely wanted more.

Crème brulee seems like such an elaborate, fancy dessert that I never considered making it myself- but after John made it for me I decide that I should try as well. When I asked him for the recipe he used I braced myself for a long list of ingredients and many difficult steps that I would probably screw up. John came back with the recipe (out of Cooks Illustrated- I love their recipes) and I was pleasantly surprised when I came across the recipe with only six ingredients! And they were ingredients that I already had- what?!?

You’ll see the recipe below and moral of this story is the crème bruelee turned out beautifully! The only part that I was disappointed in was the time. For this recipe after you cook the crème brulee it needs to be refrigerated for at least four hours (max four days)- and I’m a very impatient person, especially while cooking.  Usually I’m full by the time the food is done since I’m eating it during the entire cooking process, but trust me the wait is worth it for this recipe. 🙂

PS- Be careful with the blow torch. 🙂

Servings: 2

Ingredients

       1 cup heavy cream , chilled

       2 tablespoons granulated sugar plus 1 additional teaspoon

       Pinch table salt

       3 large egg yolks

       1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

       2 – 4 teaspoons turbinado sugar or Demerara sugar (AKA sugar in the raw)

Directions

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Combine 1/2 cup cream, sugar, and salt in small saucepan; bring mixture to boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally to ensure that sugar dissolves.
3. Meanwhile, place kitchen towel in bottom of baking dish or roasting pan and arrange two 4- to 5-ounce ramekins (or shallow fluted dishes) on towel. Bring kettle or saucepan of water to boil over high heat.
4. After cream has cooled slightly, stir in remaining 1/2 cup cream to cool down mixture further. Whisk yolks in medium bowl until broken up and combined. Whisk in vanilla extract and about 1/4 cup cream mixture into yolks until loosened and combined; repeat with another 1/4 cup cream. Add remaining cream and whisk until evenly colored and thoroughly combined. Strain through fine-mesh strainer into 2-cup measuring cup or pitcher (or clean medium bowl); discard solids in strainer. Pour or ladle mixture into ramekins, dividing it evenly among them.
5. Carefully place baking dish with ramekins on oven rack; pour boiling water into dish, taking care not to splash water into ramekins, until water reaches two-thirds height of ramekins. Bake until centers of custards are just barely set and are no longer sloshy and digital instant-read thermometer inserted in centers registers 170 to 175 degrees, 35 to 40 minutes (30 to 35 minutes for shallow fluted dishes). Begin checking temperature about 5 minutes before recommended time.
6. Transfer ramekins to wire rack; cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Set ramekins on rimmed baking sheet, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours or up to 4 days.
7. Uncover ramekins; if condensation has collected on custards, place paper towel on surface to soak up moisture. Sprinkle each with about 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar (1 1/2 teaspoons for shallow fluted dishes); tilt and tap ramekin for even coverage. Ignite torch and caramelize sugar (FYI- if you don’t have a blow torch I have also made this and just sprinkled sugar on top- still pretty tasty). Refrigerate ramekins, uncovered, to re-chill, 30 to 45 minutes (but no longer); serve.

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