Making Crème Brûlée
“I think every woman should have a blowtorch” – Julia Child
Grab your kitchen torch and let’s make crème brulee, a thick and delicious vanilla bean infused custard with a layer of burnt-sugar on top! I love Crème Brûlée, can you tell? The best part is using the torch!
This creamy, rich dessert is dangerously easy to make and is perfect for Valentine’s Day or any special, romantic occasion. It is so good you will want to eat it every day. If you can’t stop, see your doctor.
You won’t believe how easy it is to make and the best thing is that it can be prepared the day before and all you have to do is grab your torch for melting the sugar on top!
Start off by preheating your oven to 325 degrees and bring a full kettle of water to boil that we will use for the water bath. In a large roasted pan, place a towel on the bottom of the pan, place your ramequins on top of the towel and set aside.
In a medium sauce pan, combine 2 cups of heavy cream, the seeds from ½ vanilla bean and ½ vanilla bean pod. Cut the vanilla bean down the center and scrape out the vanilla beans, then place the beans and the other half bean into the cream. If you don’t have a vanilla bean you can use 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla or vanilla bean paste. I think the vanilla bean adds more flavor. Set the burner between low and medium low. We need to scald the cream mixture to 140 degrees. If you have thermometers use it to check the temperature, whatever you do to NOT let the cream boil.
While the cream is heating, in a large mixing bowl, whisk 4 egg yolks with the ½ cup of sugar. Once the cream reaches 140 degrees we are now ready to temper the cream mixture into the eggs. This is a very important step because you to not want to add the hot cream mixture to the egg mixture all at once otherwise you’ll get scrambled eggs. Pour about an ounce or two of the cream mixture into the egg mixture while whisking at the same time, whisk until completely incorporated.
Egg yolk mixture before adding sugar
Egg yolk and sugar mixture.
Notice the above picture with the bubbles, after the egg yolk and sugar has been mixture you will have some bubbles. You need to remove all of the bubbles using a ladle and discard.
Egg yolk and sugar mixture after bubbles have been removed.
Now continue adding the cream mixture to the egg mixture until it has all been incorporated. This is your custard mixture for the base of your Crème Brûlée. Before pouring the custard mixture into your crème brulee ramequins, you need to strain it through a fine mesh sieve. This will remove the vanilla bean pod as well as other bits of egg that cooked.
Now fill your ramequins, I find that using a soup ladle makes this an easy step. Place pan in oven and then fill the pan with the boiling water until the water comes up about halfway on the ramequins. Bake for approximately 30 to 35 minutes depending on the size of your ramequins and your oven until the custard is just set. I always watch the custard closely the last 5 to 10 minutes. You will know the custard is set if you carefully shake the pan and the custards tremble like jello just slightly in the center.
Remove the pan from the oven and using tongs, carefully remove the crème brulee ramequins and let cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Be careful not to let any water drip into the Crème Brûlée.
Ramequins just taken out of the oven cooling on rack.
Place in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours and up to 3 days. This is an important step because the custard is going to finish setting up during this time.
Grab your torch, after 2 hours they are ready to serve. This is where I start to get excited to eat these wonderful desserts. Now you’re ready to sprinkle with a layer of turbinado sugar and brulee with your torch. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar to caramelize the top, then swirl the dish around so that the surface is evenly covered with sugar, anything that’s left over, dump on to the next one or into another dish. This is important, there shouldn’t be any loose sugar on top before torching.
Before torching, think about what you are doing, please be careful, be mindful of those around you. It only takes a few seconds to torch the sugar, do this quickly so that it does not heat the cold custard. You are looking for good caramelization. Once you brulee the sugar serve immediately or the caramel topping will become soft.
They are ready to serve and if you ask me, nothing beats the first spoon full of Crème Brûlée… the crackling of the sugar breaking that reveals the sweet gooey silky custard underneath, what could be better!?! :-)
Crème Brulee Recipe
2 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean ( if can substitute the with 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or paste)
4 egg yolks
½ cup sugar
Turbinado sugar to caramelize the top
Makes four servings.
Do you like Crème Brûlée ??
Don’t be intimidated if you’ve never made Crème Brûlée! If I can do it… you can do it.
Have a wonderful weekend, my friends!
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