Sunday, April 3, 2011

Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée

This is your classic crème brûlée recipe with no embellishments (not that it needs any). Although I did intend to serve it garnished with raspberries and totally forgot (typical of me). This is so rich and creamy, just a little goes a long way. It's perfect for serving to company because it needs to be made ahead. Plus you can torch it right at the table for the ooh/ahh factor.

Serves 6

2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling on top
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
5 large egg yolks

Make custard:
1.      Preheat oven to 325° F. Place 6 (4-inch) ramekins or fluted dishes in 1 large baking pan with sides (or divide among 2 smaller pans).
2.      Mix cream and 1/2 cup sugar in heavy medium saucepan. Using small sharp knife, scrape seeds from vanilla bean. Add seeds and bean to saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to simmer. Cover pan, reduce heat to very low and simmer gently 10 minutes to infuse flavors. Strain into large measuring cup.
3.      Whisk yolks in medium bowl until well blended. Gradually whisk in hot cream mixture just to blend. Return custard to measuring cup; divide among ramekins. Place the pan(s) in the oven and pour in enough hot water to come halfway up sides of the ramekins.
4.      Bake custards until almost set in center when pans are gently shaken, about 30 minutes. Using metal spatula, transfer custards in dishes to work surface; cool for 30 minutes. Chill for at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.

Make crème brûlée:
1.      Sprinkle 2 teaspoons sugar evenly over each custard. Working with 1 custard at a time, hold torch* so that flame is 2 inches above surface. Direct flame so that sugar melts and browns, about 2 minutes. *If you don’t have a blowtorch, you can broil the custards until the sugar turns dark brown.
2.      Let stand for 1-2 minutes, so the sugar can harden. Serve immediately (or refrigerate again, for no more than 4 hours, so the topping stays brittle).

adapted from Bon Appétit, February 1999
cream, sugar and vanilla bean (with seeds scraped out)
adding hot cream mixture to yolks (pour
slowly and keep whisking so the eggs don't cook)
straining the custard
pouring the custard into the ramekins
ramekins in their hot water bath
out of the oven and cooling
sprinkled with sugar
those little black dots are vanilla seeds (yum)

You may have noticed that I only made five (and not six like the recipe says). That's because I only have five ramekins (of varying sizes and colors). But that's okay, I just cooked them slightly longer. Maybe one day I'll buy some of those low, wide, fluted ramekins...they're pretty. Luckily for me, I don't have company over who minds mismatched ramekins (actually, that's by design more than luck).

1 comment:

Elizabeth (Foodie, Formerly Fat) said...

If anyone refused your creme brulee because it wasn't in a fancy ramekin you would need to send them to me for therapy, because they just have problems.

I have 5 egg yolks in the fridge and I'm desperately wanting to make this right now but I don't have any cream. I suppose it won't work with 2% milk, but stupid me is probably going to give it a go anyway.

Post a Comment