Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Celebratory Crème Brulée

This past week has been a blur. My roommates and I moved out of our apartment and into our very own* house. Moving is a really really lame process, but something great came out of it: we discovered a crème brulée set!

So instead of unpacking the thousand boxes in our new house (we still can’t find the can opener…), we decided to celebrate our new digs by taking the night off, popping open a bottle of champagne and making crème brulée!

Now, I’m not intimidated by many dishes. I’m pretty adventurous with my cooking and there are always hungry and willing taste-testers around to feed (which makes for plenty of opportunities to experiment), but crème brulée is something that has just seemed hard to make. Smooth custard, crispy burned sugar top…could I really do that?

But you know what? I had nothing to fear! And neither do you. You don’t even need a fancy crème brulée torch (though I won’t lie, that was very fun to use!)

Easy Crème Brulée
We had 4 small crème brulée dishes, and 4 small pyrex bowls. This recipe filled all 8 of the dishes nicely, but for regular-sized shallow dishes, probably makes about 5.

6 egg yolks
4 tbsp sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
2.5 cups heavy cream

Sugar topping:
2 tbsp white sugar
2 tbsp brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Whisk egg yolks, sugar and vanilla in a bowl until thick and creamy (careful…at this point, my roommate dropped her iphone into the batter…$200 crème brulée tastes so much better)
3. Pour cream into a saucepan and stir over low heat until it is just about to boil, then immediately stir the cream into the egg yolk mixture and whisk until combined.
4. Using a double boiler, heat crème mixture over simmering water for about 3-4 minutes, until it just thickens.5. Remove crème mixture from heat immediately and pour into the shallow heat-proof dishes.
6. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for 1 hour (or until you can’t stand it anymore and you have to have crème brulée. This was about 40 minutes for us).

7. In a small bowl combine white sugar and brown sugar. Sift this mixture evenly over custard.
8. At this point, if you have a torch, use it to melt the sugar. If not, set the oven to broil and then put the custard dishes underneath the broiler until the sugar melts (about 2 minutes).
9. Allow sugar to cool and then refrigerate until the custard is set again (or eat it immediately because it smells so good…like we did!)

*We’re actually only renting this house until June…and then we have to move again…sigh

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