Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee

Last Christmas my brother and sister-in-law got me a butane blowtorch for my kitchen. I immediately knew I had to make Creme Brulee. I have always loved the crunchy topped, creamy custard of Creme Brulee but have been too scared to make it! So, I decided to start with a recipe that was simple. The vanilla bean in this recipe really shines through and although there are few ingredients, it was amazing. Since there are so few ingredients, it is important to get high quality ingredients - it really will make a difference!

Part of the fun of making Creme Brulee is using the blowtorch at the end! The crunchy topping is my favorite part of the dessert and it's really impressive if you caramelize the tops in front of your guests!!

Now that I have overcome my fear of Creme Brulee, I am excited to try different flavor combinations next time!

Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee
1 vanilla bean
2.5 Cups heavy cream
8 egg yolks
1/4 Cup superfine sugar
3 T confectioner's sugar (regular sugar can be used if you don't have confectioner's sugar on hand)
Berries for topping

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and put it in a saucepan. Pour the cream into the pan, then bring almost to a boil. Take off the heat and allow to stand for 15 minutes for the vanilla flavor to intensify.

Lift the vanilla bean our of the cream and scrape the seeds into the cream using a sharp knife. Discard the bean casing.

Use a fork to mix together the eggs and superfine sugar in a bowl. Reheat the cream, then gradually mix it into the eggs and sugar. Strain the mixture back into the saucepan (this removes any bits of cooked egg that may have gotten into your mixture - it will make for an even creamier dessert!).

Place 6 ovenproof ramekins or custard cups in a roasting pan. Divide the custard between them. Pour warm water around the dishes to come halfway up the sides. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the custards are just set with a slight softness in the center.

Leave the dishes to cool in the roasting pan, then lift them out and chill in the fridge for 3-4 hours.

For the crunchy topping: Up to 25 minutes before serving, sprinkle the tops with confectioner's sugar. Caramelize using the blowtorch, then leave at room temperature. Top with berries and serve!

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