Saturday, February 16, 2013
Crème brûlée, also known as burnt cream, is a dessert consisting of a creamy custard base topped with a contrasting layer of hard and crunchy caramel (the burnt sugar). The custard base is traditionally flavored with vanilla, but is also sometimes flavored with lemon, chocolate, coffee, liqueurs, etc. I’ve made many different variations of this dessert but I always goes back to the classic. I’m sure you all know how much I love chocolate, but then, this is one of those desserts that the original really beats the chocolate, hands down!
It is not a surprise to most you who follow my blog that I make French Macarons all the time. Such as these, the Valentine’s version, or my all time favorites ones, just to name a few. As French macarons only require egg whites in the recipe, I always have some “left over” yolks in my fridge. The best way to use up the yolks would be to make ice cream and... this Classic Crème Brûlée! The other day, my Baby Girl asked me for a dessert after dinner. But she doesn’t know the name of this dessert. She described it as a little cup with a crunchy topping and a soft and creamy interior. My little foodie is right to the point on the texture! Of course, her Mama knew exactly what she was talking about.
The vanilla flavor in this Classic Crème Brûlée is wonderful and really comes through. The rich and creamy custard is perfectly contrast with the crunchy burnt sugar on top. I added a small amount of chocolate liqueurs in the custard base. You can’t really taste the liqueurs as most of the alcohol evaporated during the baking process. But it does enhance the overall flavor and I highly recommend it.
Since I don’t like desserts that are overly sweet, I only use 3/4 teaspoon of sugar on top of each ramekin to make the Brûlée. If you like a thicker crust of burnt sugar on top, by all means use a little more sugar in each cup.
To make the Brûlée, sprinkle the sugar on top, I used vanilla sugar; pick up the ramekin and tap the side to evenly distribute the sugar until the sugar has fully covered the surface of the custard. I used a kitchen torch for the Brûlée. You can also place the ramekins under the boiler for a couple of minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
Wait for a couple of minutes until the sugar is cooled.
This is my favorite part….cracking the Brûlée on top with a spoon. Yup, you can totally hear the cracks.
Here’s one perfect bite. Now, you can head to the kitchen and make a batch instead of just drooling over here.
Classic Crème Brulee: (Printable Recipe)Makes: 7 (4oz) ramekins
3 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup vanilla sugar (plus more for torching on top)
6 extra-large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla paste
1 tablespoon chocolate liqueur (optional)
(boiling water for water bath)
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
In a medium saucepan, heat the cream and sugar on medium low heat until mixture comes to a simmer. Stir to make sure the sugar is completely dissolved and remove from heat. In a large heat proof bowl, whisk the egg yolks, lowly add half of the hot cream mixture into the yolks while whisking constantly.
Pour the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan with the cream mixture and cook on low heat until the mixture is thickened, or reach 170 degree F. Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla paste and chocolate liqueur (if using).
Place a sieve over a heat proof measuring cup with a beaker; then pour the custard mixture into the measuring cup. Evenly divide the mixture into 7 4-ounce ramekins until almost full.
Place the ramekins in a roasting pan and carefully pour boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the custards are almost set and still giggly in the middle when gently shaken. Remove the custards from the water bath, cool to room temperature on a wire rack, and refrigerate until firm.
To serve, sprinkle 3/4 teaspoon of sugar evenly on the top of each ramekin. Turn ramekin around and gently tab the sides to evenly distribute the sugar on the surface. Heat with a kitchen blowtorch until the sugar caramelizes evenly. Allow to sit at room temperature for a minute until the caramelized sugar hardens. Enjoy.
**Please follow the safely guidelines from the blowtorch manufacturer. I never use one when the children are presents and please store away from where the children can reach.