Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Vanilla Crème Brûlée

Mindy Powell

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
1/2 T pure vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
6 T light brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat the heavy cream, milk, and vanilla in a large saucepan over medium heat. Place the egg yolks and white sugar in a heatproof mixing bowl and beat until pale yellow in color and all of the sugar has dissolved. Temper about 1/2 a cup of the cream mixture into the egg mixture and whisk vigorously to incorporate well. Add the remainder of the cream mixture to the bowl and whisk vigorously to incorporate. Strain the brûlée base through a fine mesh sieve. Pour the custard into 6 ramekins and place dishes in a roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come up half way on the sides of the ramekins. Place the pan in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 40 minutes, turning the sheet pan around halfway to ensure even cooking. To test for doneness, jiggle the pan slightly to see if the custard is set, if so, remove from the oven and let cool at room temperature before placing them in the refrigerator for 2 hours to completely cool. Once the brûlée has cooled, evenly spread 1 tablespoon of brown sugar over each ramekin. Using a blowtorch (I like to use a craft heat gun) caramelize the brown sugar slowly to form a dark candy coating on top. Chill in the fridge until the sugar has cooled and is hard. You can also place the ramekins under your oven broiler. You just have to really watch them carefully!! Add fresh berries and homemade whipping cream with a sprinkle of powder sugar to make your Crème Brûlée even more special and elegant!

Make your own variations of Crème Brûlée by adding your own ingredients…
Lavender Crème Brûlée 1/4 cup dried lavender blossoms
Maple Crème Brûlée 2/3 cup maple syrup
Citrus Crème Brûlée 2 tsp. orange zest
Chocolate Crème Brûlée 3 oz. dark chocolate
Ginger Crème Brûlée 4 slices crystallized ginger (steep in cream)

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