Thursday, March 31, 2011

Crème Brûlée

Today is our 10th wedding anniversary! Ten years seemed so far off and now here it is. In honor of our anniversary, I thought I'd post a recipe for our favorite dessert -- Crème Brûlée. It is the one that we nearly always order at a special dinner out. I've tried making it before with some success, most recently for our Valentine's Dinner at home. In my previous trials, I always had to broil the sugar topping which in turn heated up the rest of the custard. It was still yummy, just not quite as good. However, we do not need to broil our Crème Brûlée any longer As part of my ten days of anniversary gifts, Brett gave me some large ramekins and a chef's torch! Of course, he wanted me to make some right away. We didn't have any heavy cream in the house, so I tried it out by using half-and-half instead. Oh my! It was still quite tasty, plus it has the added bonus of being lower in fat. We're still figuring out the best way to use the torch, but you know, practice makes perfect. I think we just might be practicing it a lot in the near future.

Crème Brûlée

2 cups half-and-half (or heavy cream)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
superfine sugar (for topping)
  1. Prehead the oven to 325, and put some water on to boil.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the half-and-half until hot. Remove from heat, and allow to cool for a few minutes. Add vanilla extract.
  3. In a bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar until it turns a pale yellow. Stir in about 1/2 cup of the heated half-and-half to temper the eggs. Pour the sugar-egg mixture into the pot with the rest of the heated half-and-half. Combine well.
  4. Using a fine sieve, strain the custard mixture into a 4-cup pyrex measuring cup. (This removes any clumps that may have formed and makes it easier to pour into the ramekins.) If any foam remains on the top, scoop it off and discard.
  5. Place four 6-ounce ramekins into a large baking dish and pour boiling water into the baking dish until it is halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Place in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Cover with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  6. About ten or fifteen minutes before serving, pop the ramekins into the freezer to get the custard extra cold. Remove from freezer and top each custard with about 1 Tablespoon of superfine sugar. Carefully use the torch to melt and brown the sugar on top. Enjoy!

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