October 26, 2011

Crème Brûlée

Yield: 8 servings

  • 4 cups chilled heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
  • 12 large egg yolks
  • 8-12 tsp. Turbinado sugar (Sugar in the Raw)
  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. Combine 2 cups cream, sugar, and salt in medium saucepan; with paring knife, scrape seeds from  vanilla bean into pan, submerge pod in cream and bring mixture to boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally to ensure that sugar dissolves. Take pan off heat and let steep 15 minutes to infuse flavors.
  3. Place Silpat mat, or kitchen towel, in bottom of large baking dish or roasting pan and arrange eight 4-5 ounce ramekins on towel (to prevent them from sliding). Bring kettle or large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat.
  4. After cream has steeped, stir in remaining 2 cups of cream to cool down mixture. Whisk yolks in large bowl until broken up and combined. Whisk about 1 cup mixture into yolks, until loosened and combined; repeat with another 1 cup cream. Add remaining cream and whisk until evenly colored and thoroughly combined. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into 2-quart measuring cup or pitcher; discard solids from strainer. Pour or ladle mixture into ramekins, dividing it evenly among them (a little more than halfway).
  5. Carefully place baking dish on oven rack. For this next step, leave one ramekin out to pour boiling water, then add the ramekin. Pour boiling water (a tea kettle works great!) into dish until water reaches 2/3 height of ramekins, taking care not to splash water into ramekins. Bake until centers are just barely set and no longer sloshy (about 30-35 minutes or 25-30 for shallow fluted dishes). Check 5 minutes before recommended time.
  6. Transfer ramekins to wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Set ramekins on rimmed baking sheet, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours (*overnight is best!)
  7. Uncover ramekins and if condensation has collected, gently use paper towel on surface to soak up moisture. Sprinkle each with about 1 tsp. Turbinado sugar (1½ tsp. for shallow dishes); tilt and tap ramekin for even coverage. Ignite torch and caramelize sugar. Let cool slightly and serve.
*For a deeper ramekin, allow 10 minutes longer to cook.

Enjoy :)

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