Thursday, April 29, 2010

Creme Brulee

This one is from Ina Garten's Barefoot in Paris.  It has been very consistent for me and we love it! I haven't invested in a kitchen blow torch (this is a recession, people!) so this is how mine look coming from under the broiler.

Creme Brulee
1 extra-large egg
4 extra-large egg yolks
1/2 c. sugar, plus 1 Tbsp. for each serving
3 cups heavy cream
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. Grand Marnier

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the egg, egg yolks, and 1/2 c. of the sugar together on low speed until just combined.  Meanwhile, scald the cream in a small saucepan until it's very hot to the touch but not boiled.  With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the cream to the eggs.  Add the vanilla and Grand Marnier and pour into 6 to 8 oz. ramekins until almost full.
Place the ramekins in a baking pan and carefully pour boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the custards are set when gently shaken.  Remove the custards form the water bath, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until firm.
To serve, spread 1 tablespoon sugar evenly on the top of each ramekin and heat with a kitchen blowtorch until the sugar caramelizes evenly.  Allow to sit at room temperature for a minute until the caramelized sugar hardens.

My notes:  I use 1 tsp. almond extract in place of the liqueur. I have had success with regular large eggs. I divide the custard into more, smaller sized servings. I find it important to skim if the mixer has kicked up a lot of foam, as it affects the topping process.  The broiler method works like this: preheat the broiler.  Place cooled custards on a baking sheet.  Spread a thin layer of sugar over the top.  Place under the hot broiler and watch.  I have to rotate the baking sheet to glaze them evenly.  Remove any that finish first, so they don't burn while the others cook. I use the extra egg whites to make Pavlova Roll.
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