Creme Brulee, or more correctly spelled Crème Brûlée, is a classic French dessert with a velvety smooth texture, a rich creamy taste and a crunchy sugar topping.
Creme Brulee is popular throughout Europe with slightly different names. In Spain and Mexico it is called Crema Catalana or simply flan. The Italians call it Cream Caramella and in Britain it is referred to as Trinity Cream. Creme Brulee is most often made with cream while other variations use milk or sweetened condensed milk. If you like this kind of dessert it is perfect ending to a meal from any of these countries.
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Custard is first cooked on the stove and then in a water bath in the oven. The French call this a bain-marie. Make a water bath in any large pan, like a lasagna pan. Place the ramekins in the pan, pour boiling water around them and you have a bath.
A water bath adds moisture to the oven and maintains an even temperature during cooking. This prevents the dessert from cracking or becoming rubbery. The custard part can be refrigerated over night before finishing the topping.
A kitchen blow torch is not mandatory but it does the job of melting the sugar topping better than an oven broiler. There is also a technique but it is not hard and is fun to practice. As the sugar melts it creates a hard caramel layer. Creme Brulee literally means burnt cream, but the idea is to NOT burn the sugar black. Just melt it into a single layer that quickly hardens.
Let’s face it, using a blow torch makes an impressive demonstration and kids will find an amazing number of way to use it (think smores in the dead of winter). So if you are up for some culinary fun it would make a perfect gift.
Many Creme Brulee recipes call for berry sugar, a finely ground white sugar available in the baking aisle. I use regular granulated sugar since I always have it in my kitchen. I have tried brown sugar but it is too clumpy to create the smooth caramel layer I want for the top of my creme brulee.
Let me know how your Crème Brûlée turned out in the comments below.
|2⅓ cups whipping cream|
|⅔ cup whole milk|
|¼ cup sugar|
|3 egg yolks|
|1 tsp vanilla|
|¾ cup white sugar|
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