This week on iCook we are making Crème Brulee so beware; Fire is involved! And, because we should always make sure that our kitchens are safe - a public service announcement. Make sure you have an extinguisher that is charged and in working order. Propane gas torches are highly flammable and should be kept away from heat, open flames and prolonged exposure to sunlight. They should also be used only in well ventilated areas and remember to follow manufacturer’s instructions.
Right now we’ve got that out of the way let’s make some fabulous desert! Crème Brulee is a personal favorite.. I always thought it was a complicated dish until I looked up the recipe. This delicious, creamy dessert is a silky custard is flavored with an orange liqueur, in this case, and topped with caramelized sugar.
The richness of Crème Brulee, and most custards, comes from the balance of sugar, cream and eggs or more specifically egg yolks. This mixture, in the correct proportions and cooked the right way, yields a luscious and silky custard.The finishing touch is the caramelized sugar that gives the dessert a top crust that is crunchy and sweet.
There are two tricky parts to this recipe which require a little of your attention. The first is getting the cream to a scald temperature without boiling it. Don’t rush, that’s where most cooks screw up. The second is getting the sugar to caramelize without overcooking the custard. This is where the fire comes in, or more appropriately a kitchen grade blow torch.
There are many variations to crème brulee, but I like the classic version. It comes to us today courtesy of the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten. If you have ever watched her cooking shows, you know she makes everything look easy. So Live, Laugh, Love and Eat Well my friends.
Courtesy of Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa
Total time 2 hours, makes 5 to 6 servings
Special equipment needed:
- 6 Ramekins (6 to 8oz size)
- 1 Kitchen blow torch
- 1 deep baking pan large enough to hold the ramekins
- 1 extra large egg
- 4 extra large egg yolks
- ½ cup sugar, plus 1 TBSP per serving
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 TBSP orange liqueur (recommend Grand Marnier)
Preheat the oven to 300 F.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the egg, egg yolks, and ½ cup of the sugar together on low speed until just combined. Meanwhile, scald the cream in a small saucepan until it’s very hot to the touch but not boiled. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the cream to the eggs. Add the vanilla and orange liqueur and then pour into the ramekins until almost full.
Place the ramekins in a baking pan and carefully pour boiling water in the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the custards are set when gently shaken. Remove the custards from the water bath, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until firm.
To serve, spread 1 tablespoon of sugar evenly on the top of each ramekin and heat with a kitchen blowtorch until the sugar caramelizes evenly. Allow to sit at room temperature for a minute until the caramelized sugar hardens.
You can download the recipe of the week HERE!