Thursday, January 6, 2011

Crème Brûlée

I made crème brûlée for the first time last week. I got eight handsome ramekins for Christmas, and was excited to try them out. Since my mother-in-law's and brother-in-law's birthdays are shortly after Christmas, I had a great excuse to try them out. This is the recipe my sister-in-law Jessie always uses, and it turned out perfectly. If you're at all like I am, and love good food but feel unqualified to try to make anything more complicated than a batch of cookies, I can assure you that this was surprisingly simple. I used one and half of these measurements for eight ramekins, and it was the perfect amount.

Crème Brûlée
serves 5 or 6

1 egg
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
3 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier (I used Kahlua instead)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (I don't have a Kitchen Aid, so I just used my hand mixer), mix the egg, egg yolks, and 1/2 cup of 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 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 to 40 minutes, until the custards are set when gently shaken. Remove the custards from the water bath, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until firm.

To serve, spread 1 tablespoon of 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. Enjoy!

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