This weekend I bought a mini blow torch. Why might you ask? Well, so I could attempt to make crème brûlée at home, of course! And guess what? It tasted outrageously good. I mean, crème brûlée is always good.... but fresh crème brûlée is out of this world! Guess what else? It's pretty easy too.... As long as you have a small blow torch on hand ; )
Read on for the recipe...
Warning: Crème brûlée is in no way 'good for you'. Good for your mood, yes. Good for your soul, probably. Good for weight control.... most definitely not!
Still worth it? Absolutely!
1 cup whipping cream (35% cream)
3 cups 10% cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla bean)
10 egg yolks
3/4 cup + 3 Tbs superfine sugar
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Heat the cream in a saucepan over low-medium heat. Add the vanilla (or scraped out vanilla bean + pod). Bring to an almost boil, but remove from heat before boiling. If using a vanilla bean, strain the cream through a strainer to remove any hard vanilla bits.
3. Briskly beat the egg yolks and 3/4 cups of sugar with a whisk for a good 3-4 minutes. (it's touch work - but necessary!)
4. Now the most crucial step if you want a smooth creme brûlée: you must "temper the eggs", by slowly adding the hot cream mixture, approximately 1/4 cup at a time, to the egg yolks, mixing constantly (to prevent the eggs from cooking). This is most easily done with 2 people - one person mixes the egg yolks constantly as the other pours 1/2 cup of hot cream in at a time. Once you've added about half of the cream, you can add the second half in more rapidly.
5. Poor into ramekins or creme brûlée dishes, and place them on a baking tray partially filled with water (so that the water reaches halfway up the outside of the ramekins - no water inside the ramekins!).
6. Bake for 40 minutes until the custard is set, but not brown.
7. Remove the ramekins from the water bath and allow to cool on the counter, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or overnight).
8. When you're ready to serve, sprinkle a layer of superfine sugar on top of each custard (approx 1/2 a Tbs). Then using a handheld kitchen torch, lightly burn the sugar layer into a firm candy (or as browned/burnt as you like - personally I like it a deep, dark brown).
Serve immediately with spoons. Crack open and prepare for complete bliss!
note: this recipe is adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook
The original recipe asks for 4 cups heavy cream (35% cream), but I used 10% instead. I didn't think all that fat was necessary... I mean, there's already 10 egg yolks in it!! Believe me, this will be creamy enough! I've also tried it with 3 cups 35% cream and 1 cup milk and this also worked well.