Thursday, April 9, 2015

Creme Brulee!

During one of our lunch dates, this little Italian place my husband and I like for their brick-oven pizza ran out of creme brulee. I do love me some creme brulee, but no big deal, right?

Well, I guess it motivated my husband to try making it at home. He surprised me that evening with what I thought was a tasty rendition of the classic French dessert.  As Larry David would say: 
image via tumblr
Actually, it was REALLY good.

I hovered (and sort of helped) the next time he made it. He based it on this recipe.

Below are the ingredients to make four 8oz ramekins of creme brulee.

1 extra large egg
2 1/2 extra large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar for the custard, plus 1 tablespoon per ramekin to create the BURNED top crispy layer!
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Visual aid. Not sure why we had two boxes of eggs out if we only needed like 4 eggs?  Domino sugar is pictured here. We also tried cane sugar for the top layer, and it tasted better.


Preheat that oven to 300 degrees F.
Also, get a teapot full of water boiling. Fill it all the way up!

That's our teapot.

In a bowl, whisk the egg, egg yolks, and 1/3 cup sugar until nicely mixed. The "official" recipe reads mix "until just combined". I don't know what that means. Until everything isn't lumpy but don't overdo it?

Meanwhile, heat the heavy cream in a saucepan until it's very hot to touch but not boiling. That's pretty subjective! What is "very hot"? 

Well, my husband has weird nerdy tech stuff around the house. So we just used a digital infrared thermometer and stopped it at around 164 F. I read that whole milk boils around 174 degrees so I'd just keep it from creeping too close to that point.

Just a note: This is a non-contact thermometer so you can point it at virtually anything for fun. Your armpit, someone's crotch, the back of someone's head to get a temp reading. (Avoid the eyes!) We also used the red light to entertain a baby the same way you would torture a cat with a laser pointer. 

Ok, back to business. SLOWLY add the cream to the eggy concoction while mixing the contents of the bowl.

You should get something that looks like this. 

Mix in the vanilla and pour into the ramekins until almost full. 

Place the ramekins in a baking pan and carefully pour boiling water (remember that teapot?) into the pan until the water level reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

They're in their own little jacuzzi!

Bake for 30-45 minutes. You kind of have an idea of when to take them out by hitting the sides of the ramekins with a wooden spoon.  The custards should be jiggly and wiggly, but not sloshing around. 

Remove the ramekins from their jacuzzi (the proper term, I believe, is water bath.)  Watch your hands! Hot stuff.

Allow the custards to cool to room temperature. 
Then refrigerate until they are firm.

Now...for the fun part. Layer one tablespoon of sugar over each custard. Then blaze it with a blowtorch until the sugar carmelizes to your liking. It can be evenly, unevenly, burnt, slightly melted- whatever!!!
 It's YOUR creme brulee, mang!

As for the blowtorch, no need to get a fancy culinary torch that will set you back $50+. We got a Micro Flame Butane Torch Kit 019133/ST2200T* from Amazon for cheaper.   A word of caution. There is fuego involved. So please don't sue me if you burn off your eyebrows or worse. Also, don't be a dum dum like me and grab the metallic nozzle (muzzle?) of the torch after using. Guess what? It's really hot.

Feel free to add fruits on top.  We chopped up some strawberries. DELICIOUS!

I know you already saw this photo, but....Ta-Da! Again.

For Easter and my niece's birthday, we brought over the custards for our family.  So all they had to do was be pyromaniacs. Here is my niece working on her second creme brulee top.  I'm still perfecting my blazing skills. I want one thick layer of sugar glass on my creme brulee.  One benefit of making your own creme brulee is that you can keep adding sugar layers after every bite and torching it to your liking. 

Anyway, I hope this inspires you to create your own creme brulee at home. Not only can you customize it with different toppings, but the actual custard flavor can be altered! Here are some variations of the recipe! Their photos are really pretty. 


*I will receive a small commission (thank you!) if you purchase through the affiliate link; however, your cost will be the same (and quite possibly less if I’m highlighting a promotion)

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