Sunday, April 11, 2010

Creme Brulee

I think Spring is really here, my Big Green Egg is more of a yellowish green thanks to a layer of pollen. Yesterday afternoon, I heard an affirmation that winter is over. It was the "chsk-chsk-chsk-chsk - ta-ta-ta-ta-ta" of a pulsating lawn sprinkler.

Another sound I love to hear is the crunch of a spoon breaking through the sugary top of a creme brulee. I don't don't eat a lot of desserts but the other day Mary at Deep South Dishes posted how to make this strawberry garnish. Driscoll strawberries arrived this week and our mint is growing fast so I thought I'd make the garnish. Now all I needed was a dessert to go under the garnish and creme brulee seemed the perfect choice.

Creme Brulee
Source: Rouxbe Online Cooking School (click link for their video recipe)

2 cups heavy cream
1 each vanilla bean
2 tsp orange liqueur (may substitute orange zest)
6 each egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 325f.

Heat the cream over medium low heat. Add the liqueur. Slice the vanilla bean open and scrape out the contents with the back of the knife blade.

Add the vanilla to the pot and whisk in to mix. Bring mix to a simmer for one minute. Strain through a sieve into a large measuring cup.

Set up your ramekins or dishes in a 13 x 9 casserole dish for a bain marie. If you really like the custard part of creme brulee and less crust, use a ramekin. If you are like me and prefer more crusty sugar goodness, use a shallower but wider dish the the two on the left.

Put this whole set up into the middle rack of your oven and CAREFULLY pour almost boiling water into the casserole. Do NOT get any in your dishes. Fill until the water level is at least 1/2 way up the sides.

Cook for 20-25 minutes. They are done when you gently shake a ramekin with tongs and only get a slight, uniform wiggle (go back up top and click on the video link for a good example). This time it took me 25 minutes. Last time it was 45 minutes, but my water in the bain marie was only hot tap water. Put on a cooling rack for a few minutes and then store in a refrigerator for 4 or more hours.

To serve, put a liberal coating of sugar on top of the custard and brown with a gas torch.

Let it harden for 2-3 minutes, garnish and serve.