Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Creme Brulee

Creme Brulee... doesn't it sound fancy? Doesn't it seem complicated? It is kinda fancy, but it's definitely not complicated! Basically, it's a chilled custard with a burnt sugar/caramel top. This is great for entertaining because you can make the custard a day ahead and brulee (burn) the top when you're ready to serve. It also always gets rave reviews and it will knock your guest's socks off. 

The first time I made this for a Murder Mystery Dinner a college student produced to earn money for tuition. I collaborated a five course French dinner menu, and this was dessert. I also made fresh raspberry and blueberry sauce, that's what you see drizzled on the plate. That night was so fun, and this dessert was the highlight of the meal!

There's all kinds of variations on Creme Brulee, like lemon, orange, coffee, chocolate and coconut. This recipe is your basic Creme Brulee, flavored with vanilla. It's a great place to start. And no worries if you don't have a torch to burn the sugar, you can use your broiler in the oven. Just make sure that the broiler is rippin hot, you don't want to heat the custard, just melt the sugar. 

Whether or not you've had Creme Brulee, or you're just looking for something new to make for dessert, this is a fun, delicious and decadent dish to try!

1 extra-large egg
4 extra-large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for each serving
3 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange liqueur (recommended: Grand Marnier)
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the egg, egg yolks, and 1/2 cup of the sugar together on low speed until just combined. Meanwhile, scald the cream in a small saucepan until it's very hot to the touch but not boiled. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the cream to the eggs. Add the vanilla and orange liqueur and pour into 6 to 8-ounce ramekins until almost full.

Place the ramekins in a baking pan and carefully pour boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the custards are set when gently shaken. Remove the custards from the water bath, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until firm.

To serve, spread 1 tablespoon of sugar evenly on the top of each ramekin and heat with a kitchen blowtorch until the sugar carmelizes evenly. Allow to sit at room temperature for a minute until the caramelized sugar hardens.

* Propane Torch Safety

Propane gas torches are highly flammable and should be kept away from heat, open flame and prolonged exposure to sunlight. They should be used only in well-ventilated areas. When lighting a propane gas torch, place the torch on a flat, steady surface, facing away from you. Light the match or lighter and then open the gas valve. Light the gas jet, and blow out the match. Always turn off the burner valve to "finger tight" when finished using the torch. Children should never use a propane gas torch without adult supervision.

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