Monday, June 14, 2010

Creme Brulee

The literal translation is "burnt cream", but despite its unappealing name, Creme Brulee is one of the most popular desserts in culinary history. When I hear the name, I immediately think about cracking the shell of my Creme Brulee with the back of a spoon [as per Amelie]. For those of you in the dark, Creme Brulee is essentially a custard that is then topped with granulated or brown sugar. This sugar is then burned using a blowtorch or the broiler setting of the oven until it has become solid, like edible glass. The smooth texture of the custard contrasts with the hard shell on top to create a wonderful, crunchy, creamy, vanilla dessert.

2 Qt. Heavy Cream
2 C. Sugar
2 Vanilla Bean
14 Egg Yolks
2 Whole Egg

Cut open the vanilla bean and scrape down the insides of the bean to remove all the vanilla. Add the vanilla, cream, and sugar to a sauce pan. Whisk to incorporate and heat to simmer. Once the cream begins to simmer, remove from heat and let it steep for about 30 minutes.

In a bowl, whisk together the whole egg and egg yolks. Strain the cream into the eggs and whisk to combine. Portion the custard evenly into serving bowls (makes about 12).

Bake for 90 minutes in a water bath (about 1/4"-1/2" deep) at 300 degrees. Chill for 24 hours. Sprinkle the tops of the custard with sugar and brulee them using a blowtorch until the sugar is caramelized. Garnish with fresh fruit and/or mint.

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