Welcome to my monthly marathon post. It seems like whenever I blog about my latest baking escapade with my friends Ingrid and Monica, the post is record-worthy. Sorry about that, but there always seems to be some challenge to share and this one’s no exception.
I happily chose crème brûlée for our bake-along this month. Let’s just say that my happiness was fleeting, but thanks to my friends’ encouragement, it all ended on a delicious note. And you know what I found out about crème brûlée? There’s really nothing to it. It’s super simple and you get to use a blowtorch! Woop!
I actually made this twice – the first time, I steeped some chai tea into my milk mixture and tried to use sugar in the raw on top of the chilled custard. Turned out that even though I love chai tea, I didn’t care for the flavor of the custard. Plus, the raw sugar crystals were just too big to melt nicely. It was a huge disappointment.
I was all set to throw in the towel, but Ingrid and Monica have both made this crème brûlée more than once and really liked it, so I gave it another chance. The second time, I followed the instructions exactly and got a perfect crème brûlée. It was much easier than I’d ever thought it would be and it was a blast using my new torch. (You’ve met Hoss, yes? Love him.) I baked the crème brûlée in ramekins, but then I thought it might be fun to try a different presentation too, which is where the spoon came in. How totally cute did that turn out? After the custard was chilled, I just scooped some up with the spoon, then sprinkled on the sugar and caramelized it. Violà ~ bite-sized crème brûlée.
Recipe: Crème Brûlée
(Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan)
1 1/4 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. whole milk
3 large egg yolks
1/3 c. granulated sugar
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
About 6 Tbsp. granulated sugar for topping
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Put the six baking dishes (gratin dishes or ramekins) on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
Bring the cream and milk just to a boil. In a 1- or 2-quart glass measuring cup or in a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla together until well blended but not airy. Still whisking, drizzle in about one quarter of the hot liquid to temper the yolks. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remainder of the cream and milk. Strain the custard into the baking dishes.
Bake the custards for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the center are set. Lift the dishes onto a cooling rack, and let the custards cool until they reach room temperature. Cover each custard with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, but up to 2 days.
To Caramelize the Sugar: Sprinkle the top of each custard with approximately 1 tablespoon of sugar, or enough to cover the custard nicely. Brown the sugar with a torch until it bubbles and colors. Allow the bubbles to subside before serving.