Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Recipe: Creme Brulee

I’m a sucker for creme brulee and I try to order it wherever I can. However I do think its usually overpriced. C’mon… ~$8! There are certain things that I’m willing to splurge on such as a delicious slice of torte from Extraordinary Desserts since I think its a little too hard for me to come up with anything that even remotely close to it. Creme brulee is a different story. I’ve been reading different recipes and it seems simple enough so one day I bought the ingredients, ramekins, and a creme brulee torch. Low and behold… out came a tasty decadent creme brulee.


  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 5 large egg yolks, graded large
  • 1 or 2 vanilla beans, split and scraped or 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, plus extra to caramelize top

  1. Vigorously whip egg yolks with sugar with a whisk or electric mixer until the mixture because light in color and sugar has dissolved a bit; set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, combine heavy cream with vanilla beans which have been carefully split down the center, its fragrant black seeds scraped from the pod and both combined with the cream or just add the extract to the cream. Bring the mixture to a simmer, when small bubbles have formed around the edges of the cream it is ready.
  3. Gradually pour the cream mixture into the egg/sugar mix, whisk gently by hand to combine. Strain custard through a fine mesh strainer, retrieve vanilla bean and place it back into the custard. Chill and cover mixture with a sheet of plastic wrap, pierced several times to release any steam( chilling mixture overnight will let the flavors develop and allow custard to thicken a bit).
  4. Preheat oven to 350*F(180*C). Place individual ramekins in a baking pan, deep enough to allow the water to come half way up the ramekins.
  5. If you used vanilla bean, remove them from the custard mixture( can be reserved for another use) and fill ramekins 3/4 full. Place pan in preheated oven and pour hot water in baking pan so water reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover pan with a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil, sealing edges to retain steam. Cook 40 to 50 minutes or until custards are set. TO test for doneness, gently shake the individual ramekins; if center is still a bit liquid-like return custards to oven and continue to cook, checking ever 5 to 7 minutes, until it had just set , with a small area in the center, the size of a quarter, still a little loose.
  6. Remove ramekins from baking pan and chill custard in refigerator several hour or untill chilled through
  7. To serve put a thin layer of granulated sugar on top of each custard. Using a torch, caramelize sugar working from the outside in towards the middle keeping the torch in constant motion. Sugar should be golden brown and caramelized never black. If burnt, let sugar layer cool a few minutes than peel it away with a paring knife and begin again. Alternatively you could caramelize the sugar under a broiler, keeping a careful watch over it and rotating it to cook evenly.
Makes 4-5 ~8oz individual creme brulees

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