Below you will find the recipe / some helpful facts / and a few holiday dates to remember.
Crème brûlée , also known as burnt cream or Trinity cream, is a dessert consisting of a rich custard base topped with a contrasting layer of caramelized sugar. It is normally served at slightly chilled; the heat from the caramelizing process tends to warm the custard producing a cool center. The custard base is traditionally flavored with vanilla, but can have a variety of other flavorings.
Dates to Remember:
- National Cream Brulee Day / July 27
- National Dessert Month / October
- National Dessert Day / October 14
- Eat an extra dessert day / September 4th
Crème brûlée is usually served in individual ramekins. Discs of caramel may be prepared separately and put on top just before serving, or the caramel may be formed directly on top of the custard immediately before serving. To do this, sugar is sprinkled onto the custard, then caramelized under a salamander broiler or with a butane torch.Two styles exist to make crème brûlée. The common format is to create a "hot" custard, traditionally by whisking egg yolks in a double boiler with sugar and incorporate the cream, with vanilla following once the custard is off the heat. Likewise, this can be achieved by tempering the egg yolk/sugar mixture with hot cream, then adding vanilla at the end. There also exists a "cold" method, wherein the egg yolks and sugar are whisked together until the mixture reaches ribbon stage. Then, cold heavy cream is whisked into the yolk mixture followed by vanilla. After the custard is achieved, the mixture is dished into ramekins and the ramekins are placed into a large pan. Hot/boiling water is poured into the pan until it reaches halfway up the ramekin and is placed into the oven until the center is jiggly and the edges set. Pulling the crème brûlée out at this point ensures a perfect, creamy dessert that is unrivaled by most desserts.
These instructions should provide a crackly crust over a cold custard, balanced in sweetness, egg and cream content.
|• 6 cups||• 2 1/2 pints||• 1.4 liters||chilled Heavy cream|
|• 1 cup||• 9 oz.||• 240 ml||granulated Sugar|
|• 2||• 2||• 2||Vanilla pods|
|• 18||• 18||• 18||large Egg yolks|
|• 12 tsp||• 12 tsp||• 60 ml||Demerara or Turbinado sugar (or regular granulated sugar)|
Notes, tips and variations
- After spreading the sugar over the ramekins, place them as close as you can under a very hot broiler. Watch them closely because this method tends to be uneven and burn. Too long under the broiler can also result in the custard turning into a sort of chunky soup which is not a very appealing texture. Works best with fine granulated sugar.
- Heat the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat without stirring until it starts to melt, then stir with a wooden spoon until caramelization occurs (this is easier to tell with white sugar than Turbinado) and spoon over the ramekins, tilting and rotating them to cover with an even layer.
- Alternately, combine the sugar with half as much water by volume, bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, and cook without stirring 3 to 5 minutes, tilting the pan as required to ensure even caramelization. If the caramel hardens due to cooling, warm over low heat until it is again pourable.
- Regular granulated sugar may also be used for the caramelization process in place of the brown sugar.
- A towel may also be placed into the roasting pan prior to adding the water to help distribute the heat across the bottom of the ramekins evenly as well as insulate the bottoms from the heat coming through the bottom of the pan.
- Make sure that before adding the cream to the egg yolks, the cream has cooled down. If one adds hot cream, the yolks will start to clot, ruining the final product.
- For a healthier version, it is possible to substitute half-and-half or milk for the cream, provided that a few more egg yolks are added for texture.
Perfecting Crème Brûlée (Cook's Illustrated, Nov & Dec 2001) p.22