Thursday, January 20, 2011

Crème Brûlée


If you've been following along with my blog since the holidays, you'll remember I made Homemade Vanilla Extract a week before Christmas to give as a gift to family.  If this is new to you, check out the post to learn how to make your own extract in only a few easy steps!  The extract needs 6-8 weeks to steep so it's right around January 31st, the date the vanilla I made will be ready, and I've had a special request for vanilla based recipes my family can use with the extract.

Although vanilla extract is an ingredient required in most baking recipes, there are recipes that contain vanilla as the predominant ingredient.  Crème Brûlée is one of those desserts, using vanilla as it's main flavor component.  It's a quick and easy recipe that requires only a few basic ingredients and minimal easy steps to create a perfect dessert for any small gathering.

Don't let the name intimidate you, it's not as difficult as it seems.  If you follow my step-by-step pictures and instructions, you'll be able to recreate these with ease.  Good luck and I hope you enjoy them!

Recipe Tips
  • To get the best consistency for your custard,  be sure to allow the proper resting period mentioned, otherwise your custard may be a bit runny.
  • Next time I make this, I'll allow the Crème Brûlée more time under the broiler.  It had a wonderful hardened layer on top, but would look nicer with a browner top.
  • Variations of flavors you could add to this basic recipe is adding lemon or orange zest and/or a touch of cinnamon to the batter.


Start with separating your egg yolks:


Combine your egg, egg yolks, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer:


Mix on medium until combined:


Meanwhile, warm your cream in a small sauce pan over low/medium heat until scalding.  It will be very hot to the touch, but not boiling:



Then add your cream to your egg mixture.  I had to transfer my cream into a measuring cup so it wouldn't spill everywhere, but it's up to you how you want to do it:


Then your vanilla:


And mix until combined:


Then place your ramekins in a baking dish and spoon the batter into your ramekins filling it almost to the top:


Meanwhile, boil some water in a medium sized pot:


And pour your water into the baking pan, filling the water half way up the side of the ramekin:


Like so:


Then bake at 300 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until your Crème Brûlée appears set when you gently shake the pan:


Carefully remove your ramekins from the baking pan and allow to cool to room temperature.  Then refrigerate until the custard appears firmed.  Once firmed, sprinkle the top with sugar :


And broil in the oven for about 2-5 minutes or until the surface browns.  Broiling time may vary depending on the temperature of your oven.  Make sure to watch them carefully because it will not take long to brown and you don't want to burn them:



The top has a perfect hardened crust while the custard is smooth and delightful!










Crème Brûlée
Adapted From Ina Garten

Makes: 5-6 ramekins
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25-30 minutes, plus 2-4 minutes broiling time
(Printable Recipe)

Ingredients
1 egg
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar, plus about 1 teaspoon sprinkled over each ramekin
3 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions
Start with separating your egg yolks.  Then combine your egg, egg yolks, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Mix on medium until combined.  Meanwhile, warm your cream in a small sauce pan over low/medium heat until scalding.  It will be very hot to the touch, but not boiling.  Then add your cream to your egg mixture.  I had to transfer my cream into a measuring cup so it wouldn't spill everywhere, but it's up to you how you want to do it.  Then add your vanilla and mix until combined.

Place your ramekins in a baking dish and spoon the batter into your ramekins filling it almost to the top.  Meanwhile, boil some water in a medium sized pot.  Pour your water into the baking pan, filling the water half way up the side of the ramekin. Bake at 300 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until your Crème Brûlée appears set when you gently shake the pan.

Carefully remove your ramekins from the baking pan and allow to cool to room temperature.  Then refrigerate until the custard appears firmed.  Once firmed, sprinkle the top with sugar and broil in the oven for about 2-4 minutes or until the surface browns.  Broiling time may vary depending on the temperature of your oven.  Make sure to watch them carefully because it will not take long to brown and you don't want them to burn.  Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

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32 comments:

  1. Gorgeous! I seriously would die for creme brulee, but my husband (wisely)has forbidden me from owning a cooking torch! Great job!

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  2. Love it! Creme Brule is definitely a favorite of mine, and I've had it on my "to bake" list for quite some time. About how long do you refrigerate them before adding the sugar for broiling?

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  3. @Lindsey- I refrigerated it overnight, but I would assume until your dish feels cold, about 1-2 hours.

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  4. I've made flan lots of times, but never creme brule! I'm going to have to give it a try. I also loved the vanilla extract recipe- a perfect project for me to do with my girls for next Christmas!

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  5. I love this stuff! I want some now! I definitely deserve it after an entire day of cleaning the house. :p

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  6. Crème Brûlé is one of my favorite desserts. Your Brûlé looks wonderful.

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  7. Such beautiful creme brulee...you sugar crust is perfect!

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  8. I've never made a creme brule. I've always been afraid it'd be too tough, but this makes it look worth the effort.

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  9. Perfect!! Wonderful that you can put it in the oven for that great browning.

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  10. I get chills just thinking about cracking that crust.

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  11. Mmmm...I LOVE Creme Brule! Beautiful step-by-step pics!

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  12. Beautiful looking dessert! I love finding recipes that will use all my egg yolks, orphaned from their whites by macarons!

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  13. Love Ina's Barefoot in Paris cookbook and you've done this recipe proud!

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  14. These look perfect. My son has been wanting to make these....and now I have an excuse to go buy the dishes for it!! Great job Chelsea!

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  15. Love this stuff! But I love any creamy, milky, smooth dessert!

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  16. Even though I don't eat creme brule, I think you did a great job with it, chelsenator!

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  17. I just love creme brulee and am so excited to know that I can make it without a torch! Thanks!

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  18. Aah yes, the all time favourite Crème Brûlé - I have a similar recipe http://wp.me/pT5Tj-pk and would like to try yours - in your ingredients you mention heavy cream and in the method milk, which did you use? My recipe uses both.
    :-) Mandy

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  19. @thecompletecookbook thanks for letting me know! I definitely meant to write cream and not milk. This recipe doesn't use any milk- just cream. My fault! Your recipe looks absolutely delicious- I'll have to try it next time too!

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  20. One of my favorite desserts is Creme Brulee! Yours looks just perfect. I need to make homemade vanilla too. :-)

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  21. The consisitency of your brulees looks perfect. I always have a problem with it being to eggy or too runny. Creme brulee is one of the most difficult simple desserts! So easy to get wrong and there's so many bad ones out there in restaurant land! Perhaps you should send them your step by step photos:)

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  22. Beautiful! Looking at the crust of a Crème Brûlé, it is easy to determine whether it was well made or not, and from the pictures, I think we can all tell that yours were perfect :)

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  23. These are absolutely gorgeous! Creme Brule is my absolute favorite dessert and this has me craving it badly!

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  24. Very well done...I am a sucker for these.

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  25. Wow I've never tried making my own creme brule, but yours looks delicious! I love your photos too!

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  26. Beautiful! I am amazed, creme brule is something I love to have at restaurants but have been to intimated to make myself. You make it sound so easy, I may have to give it a try!

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  27. Love creme brulee and Ina's recipes never disappoint.

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  28. How could we forget your homemade vanilla extract! I went on and on, on your blog like a true groupie, ranting about how it was the best post of the holiday season! LOL! And this creme brulee looks equally fantastic!

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  29. They look just perfect! And, I have to try making vanilla extract one of these days.

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  30. love creme brulee but never tried to make it at home. I'm a little afraid of a failure
    yours look so creamy and good.

    thanks for sharing Chelsea, hope you'll have a wonderful day

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