Saturday, July 28, 2012

Basic Creme Brulee

Basic vanilla creme brulee
I had my first creme brulee when I was in the 10th grade. It was a green tea creme brulee and I fell in love. Great smooth custard texture and the flavor of the green tea with the carmalized sugar on top was the perfect balance of sweetness. My favorite part of the creme brulee was breaking the carmalized sugar on top. But now I love to torch the sugar. My husband has never had or heard of creme brulee and I wanted to make it for him. It's soooo much cheaper to do than ordering it at a restaurant. It's really not hard or difficult to do. My husband enjoyed the creme brulee. I made him an almond creme brulee topped with whipped cream and fresh berries. He's not into sweets, but he really enjoyed this dessert mostly because he got to use the torch. The ingredients are very simple and easy. I divided the ingredient list into sections so that it's easier for you to go along with.

***Don't throw away the egg whites!!! Make basic swiss meringues instead!!***
3 egg yolks
2 Tbsp sugar

1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Pot of boiling water (4 cups)


First, preheat the oven to 325 degrees then combine the cream and the 2 Tbsp of sugar into a saucepan over medium to low heat. Constantly stir the mixture to prevent cream from scorching. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn off heat and add in the vanilla extract.
Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolk and 2 Tbsp sugar together until sugar has dissolved.
HERE'S THE TRICKY PART: You are now going to temper the eggs (this means slowly mixing the egg mixture with the cream mixture without making scrambled eggs). Sounds difficult but it's not.
You are going to keep the bowl of the egg mixture on the table. Hold a whisk in one hand while you are holding the hot pot of cream mixture in the other.  With the hand whisk, start whisking slowly and then begin pouring a little bit of the cream mixture at a time.  DON'T STOP WHISKING. Pour a little bit more cream mixutre and keep whisking. Pour a bit more until you know for sure that the egg and cream mixture are about the same temperature. If you're unsure, just keep whisking and pouring until all the cream are mixed with the egg. However, be sure that all the mixture are poured back into the pan so that it keeps the warm temperature. So in the end of this process, all the mixture (egg and cream) should be in the pan in which the cream mixture was in.
 ***For the last step, it's best if you place the baking pan in the oven first with the ramekins so that you would not need to place it in the oven after adding the hot water which will prevent spills***
Place ramekins in a deep baking pan to prepare it for the water bath. Pour the mixture evenly into ramekins. Pour the boiling water around the ramekins MAKING SURE NONE OF THE WATER GETS INTO THE RAMEKINS. Fill the baking pan to about 1 inch deep or until the water is half way up the ramekins.
Bake for 50-55 minutes or until the center is set. Let it cool on the counter and then refrigerate it for about 4 hours. After 4 hours, sprinkle the top with an even layer of sugar and torch it. PLEASE BE CAREFUL WITH THE TORCH. If you don't have a torch, you may use the broiler (read the bottom) or eat it without the sugar crust. If you like a thick crunchy layer of sugar on top, feel free to sprinkle a lot but I find that it's great without all that sweets.

Make sure the sugar is spread out evenly

Torch the sugar using a right-to-left hand gesture until sugar is carmalized

**Broiler: After chilling the creme brulee, let it stand on room temperature for about 20 minutes before putting it in the broiler. Then place the ramekins on a baking sheet and broil it about 8 inches from the heat for about 5-8 minutes or until sugar is carmalized. Refrigerate it for 2-3 hours until firm and eat.***


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