Wednesday 8 April 2015

Creme Brulee

Alas, no photos here.

I've always loved creme brulee, and will always order it if given as an option on a dessert menu, but funnily enough I had never made it. Since my Easter cake recipe left me with 5 yolks, I googled recipes that would use 5 yolks exactly and this one came up. It was very simple, only I made 6 rather than 4 as it seemed a less gluttonous size...oh, and I hadn't read that part of the recipe. I didn't have a blow torch, so I improvised with the lighter we use for the hobs on our stove. It worked well enough.

Here's the recipe for my own records, from here, should I end up with 5 yolks and a lot of cream again:

2 cartons double cream, 1
large (284ml) plus 1 small
100ml full-fat milk
1 vanilla pod
5 large egg yolks
50g golden caster sugar, plus
extra for the topping

1. Preheat the oven to fan 160C/conventional 180C/gas 4. Sit four
175ml ramekins in a deep roasting tin at least 7.5cm deep (or a large
deep cake tin), one that will enable a baking tray to sit well above the
ramekins when laid across the top of the tin. Pour the two cartons of
cream into a medium pan with the milk. Lay the vanilla pod on a board
and slice lengthways through the middle with a sharp knife to split it in
two. Use the tip of the knife to scrape out all the tiny seeds into the
cream mixture. Drop the vanilla pod in as well, and set aside.
2. Put the egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk for 1
minute with an electric hand whisk until paler in colour and a bit fluffy.
Put the pan with the cream on a medium heat and bring almost to the
boil. As soon as you see bubbles appear round the edge, take the pan off the heat.
3. Pour the hot cream into the beaten egg yolks, stirring with a wire
whisk as you do so, and scraping out the seeds from the pan. Set a
fine sieve over a large wide jug or bowl and pour the hot ixture through
to strain it, encouraging any stray vanilla seeds through at the end.
Using a big spoon, scoop off all the pale foam that is sitting on the top
of the liquid (this will be several spoonfuls) and discard. Give the
mixture a stir.
4. Pour in enough hot water (from the tap is fine) into the roasting tin
to come about 1.5cm up the sides of the ramekins. Pour the hot
cream into the ramekins so you fill them up right to the top – it’s easier
to spoon in the last little bit. Put them in the oven and lay a baking
sheet over the top of the tin so it sits well above the ramekins and
completely covers them, but not the whole tin, leaving a small gap at
one side to allow air to circulate. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the
mixture is softly set. To check, gently sway the roasting tin and if the
crème brûlées are ready, they will wobble a bit like a jelly in the
middle. Don’t let them get too firm.
5. Lift the ramekins out of the roasting tin with oven gloves and set
them on a wire rack to cool for a couple of minutes only, then put in
the fridge to cool completely. This can be done overnight without
affecting the texture.
6. When ready to serve, wipe round the top edge of the dishes,
sprinkle 1½ tsp of caster sugar over each ramekin and spread it out
with the back of a spoon to completely cover (Anne Willan’s tip for an
even layer). Spray with a little water using a fine spray (the sort you
buy in a craft shop) to just dampen the sugar – then use a blow torch to caramelise it. Hold the flame just above the sugar and keep moving
it round and round until caramelised. Serve when the brûlée is firm, or
within an hour or two.

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