I always have been, and always will be a chocolate girl. Chocolate is quite confident about our relationship – it knows it has nothing to worry about. Which is why I am free to share the love; a gingerbread cookie here, a fruit tart there, and never one to discriminate against my French friends, creme brulee.
The problem with creme brulee is that it is most often found at expensive restaurants, where they charge a ridiculous amount of money for the two bites they serve you. Which is why I was so excited when I saw a creme brulee kit on the clearance aisle as TJ Maxx. Thank you, TJ Maxx. Thank you, all the people who saw the kit before me who didn’t buy it. And a final thanks to my husband, whose sweet tooth never complains when I try something new.
Before I even picked the kit up off the shelf, I had Googled a recipe to see exactly how much work creating the dish would entail. It didn’t seem too hard, so I gave it a try. I used a recipe for Vanilla Creme Brulee as found in the NY Times, shown below.
Notes on the recipe: I doubled the vanilla. I saved the egg whites in tupperware for breakfast the next morning. Beating until light means until the egg mixture becomes frothy – it takes about 10 minutes when whisking by hand. Also, I used the mini blowtorch in the kit to caramelize the sugar instead of the broiler, because, yeah, like I’m passing that up. It turned out terrific! The only thing I would do differently is to use a bigger blowtorch!
- 2 cups heavy or light cream, or half-and-half
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 5 egg yolks
- ½ cup sugar, more for topping
- Heat oven to 325 degrees. In a saucepan, combine cream, vanilla bean and salt and cook over low heat just until hot. Let sit for a few minutes, then discard vanilla bean. (If using vanilla extract, add it now.)
- In a bowl, beat yolks and sugar together until light. Stir about a quarter of the cream into this mixture, then pour sugar-egg mixture into cream and stir. Pour into four 6-ounce ramekins and place ramekins in a baking dish; fill dish with boiling water halfway up the sides of the dishes. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until centers are barely set. Cool completely. Refrigerate for several hours and up to a couple of days.
- When ready to serve, top each custard with about a teaspoon of sugar in a thin layer. Place ramekins in a broiler 2 to 3 inches from heat source. Turn on broiler. Cook until sugar melts and browns or even blackens a bit, about 5 minutes. Serve within two hours.