Easy to make Creme Brulee

Easy to make Creme Brulee

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Celebrate Bastille Day, the beginning of the French Revolution, with the classic dessert: crème brûlée.

The accent marks in the name alone can be intimidating to the non-classically trained home cook, but a quick look at the recipe reveals it’s nothing more than some homey staples – vanilla, sugar, eggs, cream and salt – allied with a little know-how.

Grab a torch (or befriend your oven’s broiler), don your “other” red, white and blue, and follow the lead of Chef Rogers Powell of the French Culinary Institute. It’s so good, heads will roll.

Crème brûlée

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 500 milliliters (2 cups) heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • Pinch of salt
  • 50 grams (2 tablespoons) granulated sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • Granulated, brown, or turbinado sugar, for finishing

Cooking Directions

  1. Bring the cream, vanilla bean, salt, and half the sugar to a boil.
  2. Whisk the egg yolks with the remaining sugar until pale and thick.
  3. Temper the egg mixture with some of the hot cream mixture. Return the tempered mixture to the remaining hot cream and combine thoroughly.
  4. Strain the mixture through a chinois into a bowl. Skim the foam from the surface.
  5. Place four 1/2- to 3/4-inch, fluted, shallow, crème brûlée molds in a hotel pan.
  6. Dividing the custard equally among the molds, carefully fill each mold with the custard to just under the rim.
  7. Fill the hotel pan with enough water to reach halfway up the sides of the molds and cover it with a sheet pan or foil.
  8. Bake the crèmes at 300°F (149°C) for approximately 35 to 40 minutes, or until they are softly set and the centers jiggle slightly.
  9. Using a metal spatula, remove the custards from the water and transfer to a sheet pan. When the baked custards have cooled to room temperature, chill them in the refrigerator until cold, at least 3 hours and up to 1 day in advance. The custards will firm as they cool.
  10. Spread a thin layer of dried brown sugar, granulated sugar, or turbinado sugar over the top of each chilled custard. Caramelize (brûlez) the sugar under a salamander or broiler, or using a propane torch for a few seconds until the sugar melts and forms a glassy crust.
  11. Serve immediately.

 

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