October 10, 2009

Crème Brulee – second attempt!

Creme Brulee v2

Steve requested I make him crème brulee for his birthday meal, but I only had whipping cream so I improvised the recipe I used before and it worked out even better than before! The texture was a lot smoother and the added bonus is whipping cream contains less fat (double cream is at least 48% fat, whereas whipping is at least 35%). Because the whipping cream was much runnier than double cream, I added more egg yolks and omitted the milk and I also put the mixture back in the pan to thicken slightly, like when making custard. I also didn’t bother using a baking sheet to cover them when baking in the oven as it seemed a pointless exercise. I also reduced the oven temperature to Gas mark 3/325°F/170°C.

I’m pleased that I managed to sprinkle the sugar over the top and brulee it without making such a mess around the edges! I didn’t even need to wipe up the sugar around the edges before subjecting it to the blowtorch so I’m becoming a dab hand at this!

Steve did shout at me for changing the recipe when the first attempt was so good, but he let me off when I explained I didn’t have the right type of cream. Plus I’m pretty chuffed that I managed to pull off my improvisation and made the recipe better. After all, that’s what cooking is all about!

His only other complaint was that there wasn’t enough of it! Because I omitted the milk there was slightly less in each ramekin, but I thought a half-full ramekin of crème brulee was plenty, especially as it was to follow his favourite Thai Massaman curry which he always has second helpings of (this was for his birthday meal, but we were both so stuffed from birthday cake that we had the crème brulee the following evening). Anyway, I let him eat half of mine and he said 1.5 portions is just about the right amount! So I’m going to have to double up next time!

  • Makes: 2
  • Oven temperature: Gas mark 4/350°F/180°C
  • You will need: 2 ramekins, a small saucepan, a deep roasting tin (at least 7.5cm deep)

  • 200ml whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 25g golden caster sugar, plus extra for the topping

  1. Preheat the oven to Gas mark 3/325°F/170°C. Sit two 175ml ramekins in a deep roasting tin at least 7.5cm deep (I used a loaf cake tin).
  2. Pour the cream into a small pan with the vanilla extract and bring almost to the boil. As soon as you see bubbles appear round the edge, take the pan off the heat.
  3. 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. Pour the hot cream onto the beaten egg yolks, stirring with a whisk as you do so. Pour the mixture back into the pan and heat gently, stirring constantly until it has thickened slightly. Remove from the heat.
  4. Set a fine sieve over a large wide jug or bowl and pour the hot mixture through to strain it. Using a slotted spoon, scoop off all the pale foam that is sitting on the top of the liquid (this will be several spoonfuls) and discard – Don’t skip this step! Give the mixture a stir.
  5. 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 mixture into the ramekins.
  6. Put them in the oven bake for 30-35 minutes until the mixture is softly set. To check, give the ramekins a jiggle and if the crème brulees are ready, they will wobble a bit like a jelly in the middle. Don't let them get too firm.
  7. 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 (mine were set after about 3 hours). This can be done overnight without affecting the texture.
  8. When ready to serve, wipe round the top edge of the dishes, sprinkle 1½ tsp of caster sugar over each ramekin and swirl the ramekin around the evenly distribute the sugar. Then use a blow torch to caramelise the sugar. Hold the flame just above the sugar and keep moving it round and round until caramelised. Serve when the brulee is firm (after about 5 minutes), or within an hour or two.


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