This all started over diner with friends. When it was time to order dessert my friend was hoping for her favorite Creme Brûlée. She went on passionate about her love for this classic. It also got into a fun debate about why in the world that was her all time favorite. Now do not get me wrong I will never say no to Creme Brûlée but I will rarely order it out and never crave it . It is a classic and I respect that. So at the table being the guy who loves a challenge I opened my mouth and said “well i never made creme brûlée before ” and this turned into an amazing adventure in the kitchen. For years i have been intimidated by the dessert classic for many reasons, one of the main reasons was I thought it was time consuming and honestly because I don’t love it it was placed on the lower part of my list of things to make . I could not have been more wrong , its was fast, easy and can be done days in advance. I also will say I may have put creme brûlée higher on my list of desserts.
So I made two types.
A few things I wanna touch on, two recipes were tested. The New York times and Americas Test kitchen, both were very different and I took a-little of each and made the recipe below. I wont get into all the changes and techniques, because by this time you have already scrolled down to the recipe .
I used heavy whipping cream for one , and half and half for the other . One had Store bought organic brown eggs and the other farm raised local eggs.
The techniques used also showed very different results.
New York times recipe called for whisking eggs and sugar together, while Test kitchen added the sugar to the cream to dissolve. I found the test kitchen technique made the brûlée smoother were the NYT recipe had more of a pudding consistency. Believe me neither went to waste. Half and half lighter yet more vanilla hints ( the vanilla was placed in the cream) the heavy cream smooth yet not as many vanilla notes ( vanilla added to eggs)
Sugar made the difference as well. I used organic cane sugar for the one recipe and it took a few minutes to whisk with the eggs for the right consistency. While the other creme brûlée recipe I used granulated sugar and heated it with cream.
Either way making creme brûlée was fast and easy to clean up and the best part Blow torching the top !!! Below is the recipe winner which has components from both respected sources .
2 cups heavy Whipping cream
1/2 cup Sugar
1/8 (pinch) salt
5 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
Heat oven 300 degrees.
Measure one cup of cold heavy whipping cream. Place the other cup back into the refrigerator. In a medium saucepan, place cream, salt, and sugar ( pour sugar in the center of the pan). Place on medium heat, stir. Bring to a boil stirring a few times in between. While the cream is heating, set up the water bath and ramekins. Place a dish towel into a 9 x 13 inch pan. ( this will serve as a buffer so the ramekins do not move around ) Have a kettle ready with boiling water . Once the cream mixture has started to boil and the sugar is dissolved remove from heat. ( take off the burner) While the cream mixture is cooling crack the eggs and separate the whites and yolks. Whisk the yolks with 2 teaspoons of the vanilla extract until light in color. Take the other cup of cold cream and slowly stir into the warm cream mixture. Take a small ladle or 1/4 measuring cup and add some of the cream slowly while whisking into eggs. Repeat this step a few more times then add the rest of the cream mixture and stir. After they have been combined, strain through a fine mesh strainer. I strained the mixture over a spouted measuring cup this way pouring into the ramekins was mush easier . With the mixture in the measuring cup slowly pour evenly into the ramekins. Then pour the boiling water into the pan half way up. Slowly place into oven and bake for 30-40 mins. ( ovens vary play it safe and check around 30 you want a little jiggle but not runny) I was in between with the first batch at 40minutes tops were browned se30 wasn’t quite ready and 35 mins was perfect.
When finished baking slowly remove from oven, on a cooling rack place the ramekins, I found the best way was to use a wide spatula to remove them from the water bath be carful not to get any water on the custards . Let cool at room temperature at least 2 hours if not longer , then place the ramekins on a tray and wrap in plastic wrap being careful not to touch the creme brûlée with the plastic. Place in refrigerator for at least four hours. Longer time or overnight seems to work best.
When ready remove the creme brûlée from refrigerator . Top with sugar ,tap the sides of the ramekins to cover the tops completely and evenly, blow torch the top slowly and with even flow and devour. ( no blow torch you can always place them in your broiler but keep a good eye on them)
Thanks for reading now go Brûlée!