Friday, August 15, 2008

France - Creme Brulee

If you've never tasted this, you seriously don't know what you're missing. The name "Creme Brulee" is French for "burnt cream", referring to the layer of hard caramel on top of the sweet custard. For me, it's all about the texture. When you crack into the hard crunchy and dive into the smooth creamy, the combination is absolutely sublime. This would be the perfect finishing touch for a romantic and elegant dinner for two. Enjoy!

6 egg yolks
6 tablespoons white sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350F.
Beat egg yolks, 4 tablespoons sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl until thick and creamy.
Pour cream into a saucepan and stir over low heat until it almost comes to boil. Remove the cream from heat immediately. Stir cream into the egg yolk mixture; beat until combined.
Pour cream mixture into the top of a double boiler. Stir over simmering water until mixture lightly coats the back of a spoon; approximately 3 minutes. Remove mixture from heat. Place four ramekins in a 9 x 13 pan. Fill each ramekin with custard. Pour hot water into pan and fill halfway up the sides of ramekins, being careful not to let any water get in the custard.
Bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until set. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for 1 hour, or overnight.
Preheat oven to broil.
In a small bowl combine remaining 2 tablespoons white sugar and brown sugar. Sift this mixture evenly over custard. Place dish under broiler until sugar melts, about 2 minutes. Watch carefully so as not to burn. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Refrigerate until custard is set again.

Instead of using the broiler to caramelize the sugar, you can also use a hand held kitchen torch. Simply hold the torch over the sugar until it melts, being careful not to burn the sugar.
For an added burst of sweetness, put some fresh berries in the bottom of the ramekins and then pour the custard over the berries. Love it!

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