Monday, August 11, 2014

Crème Brúlée without a Torch

Crème Brúlée is  a classic that can easily go wrong (very encouraging statement, Raiza). I mean, not completely wrong since there are cream and sugar in the composition but what I mean is that it can easily lose its suburb characteristics such as creaminess (Crème) and crunchiness (Brúlée). 

People are still debating who really invented it, the French, the English or the Spanish but the truth is: It doesn't matter, the recipe is out there and now nobody lives without it ;)

A good Crème Brúlée starts with a good cream (at least 40% butterfat) and a low heat to bake the Crème without overheating it. The second (or maybe first) best part of a Crème Brúlée is the caramelized crunchy layer on top of it, nowadays this crunchy  layer is created with a torch but to me there is no point if I have to go buy an accessory in order to make a recipe. For this reason in this video I'll teach you how to create an incredible Brúlée without the use of any special equipment, you'll only need a spoon, very old school. To me this technique of burning the sugar creates a more stable Brúlée that keeps its crunchiness for longer (not too long though) and looks really good too.

Crème brûlée in glass storage container for easy transportation

Serves 6 people
2 cups heavy cream (organic and local brands are usually higher in butterfat)
1 vanila bean(if you substitute for extract- which I don't recommend-  add it after the cream has been heated)
6 egg yolks 
1/2 cup granulated sugar + more to Brúlée (I've noticed that the less refined sugars such as the organic brands are easier to Brúlée with my spoon technique) 
2 tbsp mascarpone cheese (this elevates the butterfat in your Crème creating an outstanding texture) - optional

1- Preheat oven at 300F.
2- In a pan add the heavy cream and vanilla bean with the seeds scraped out. Over medium heat let them come to almost a full boil, as soon as it rises to the top of the pan turn it off immediately, and put the lid in the pan. Let it steep for 10 minutes.
3- Meanwhile whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until pale yellow.
4- Re-heat the heavy cream and whisking constantly add it to the egg yolk mixture to temper it.
5- Pour the Crème in a shallow ramekin or any glass or ceramic container. Fill them only 1.5 inches up.
6- Place them inside a baking pan and fill the baking pan with hot water enough to cover half way up of the Crème (bain marie).
7- Bake them for approximately 45 minutes or until if feels set to your touch. If the top looks puffed up you overbaked them. Let it cool at room temperature and then you can store your Crème Brúlée for up to 2 days in your refrigerator. 
Before serving:
8- Place a metal spoon on your stove top with the flames on high for 5 minutes.
9- Sprinkle 1 tbsp of sugar on top of each  Crème Brúlée and burn the top of it by slowly sliding the hot spoon over it. As soon as the spoon cools off you have to wash it thoroughly and scrub it to remove the bits of caramel from underneath it in order to re-heat it again.

Serve cold or at room temperature. The Brúlée maintains its crunchiness for 1 hour only.

Crème Brúlée is definitely one of my all times favorite recipe. Have you ever had one before?


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