Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Who knew?

Brent is the Crème Brûlée maker of our family.  He does an amazing job...usually has one of the kiddos helping him...and he generally leaves the brûlée-ing to me.  What can I say? I love my cooking torch.

He never fails to ponder how something so icky as egg yolks could make such a delicious consistency when mixed with cream and sugar.  Who knew?  But I'm so glad that someone figured it out.  It's one of my most favorite desserts.

And the way Madeleine pronounces Crème Brûlé almost sounds like she's saying my name...or at least the version of my name as a few teachers of mine from middle school pronounced it. :)  (Kimbur- LAY...sigh.)  I digress...

Don't be intimidated...try it!  (And I highly recommend having a fine mesh-sieve to achieve a velvety texture.)  I bought my torch from Target (so it's not a super high-end expensive purchase)...and you can buy butane at most grocery stores or Wal-Mart.

Vanilla Crème Brûlée

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
8 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
boiling water for water bath

1.  Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Place egg yolks in a bowl and pour sugar over. Beat until smooth.
2. Heat heavy cream until almost simmering.
3.  Add heavy cream to yolk mixture 1 Tbsp. at a time while constantly stirring vigorously. (This is when having a helper comes in handy.)
4.  Once one-fourth of the heavy cream has been introduced, pour the rest in and mix until smooth.  Pour over a bowl through a fine-mesh sieve to strain any clumps.  Blend in vanilla extract.
5.  Pour into ramekins.  Place ramekins in a casserole dish or baking pan (with high sides).  Pour boiling water into pan, until water reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
6.  Place pan in oven and cook at 250 degrees for 1 hour.  They are done when the outsides are set but the center is slightly jiggly. (Larger ramekins may need additional time.)
7. Cool until room temperature.
8. Wrap each cooled ramekin with plastic wrap, securing with a rubber band and allow to chill in refrigerator for 8 hours.
9.  Spoon sugar on top of custard in ramekin. Tilt the ramekin until the sugar completely covers the surface.  Ignite cooking torch and wave flame back and forth, about 3-4 inches from the sugar until golden brown.  Allow to cool slightly until sugar cools and forms a hard crust.

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