Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Crème Brûlée

Please excuse my absence from the blog. I've been finding it hard to achieve non-macaron inspiration of late. Speaking of which, I made some decidedly un-noob macarons two days ago (one batch coffee, one batch nutella/praline), but they were gobbled up by my mother's friends at her dinner party. By the time I got home there were only two left. Two! So, no photos or post until I recreate them.

However, I made crème brûlée.

Just so you know, I really love custard. I love all things custard and all things filled with custard. I like profiteroles solely because they are filled with pastry cream. I love yogo and milo snacks because they are custard. So it is only natural that I love crème brûlée.

I've only made it once before when Nooboy's sister (the older one) brought home a crème brûlée set, with ramekins and a kitchen blowtorch. They were small and cute and tasted lovely. The only issue I found with the set was the blowtorch. We had to fill it up with gas before using it, which took ages, and we still invariably ran out of gas midway through the job.

So for a long time now, I've been wanting my own blowtorch. One which does not need to be filled. Last week I bought one. All one needs to do is attach it to the top of a butane can and voila! Nooboy laughed at me a little when we first turned it on as the flame was huge (I'm pretty sure I can weld stuff with my blowtorch). But he sure wasn't laughing when he had his mouth full of crème brûlée.

Crème Brûlée

2 cups heavy cream
5 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla paste (if you can't find this, you can use a vanilla pod, or just some vanilla extract)
Extra caster sugar

Preheat your oven to 120°C and place your ramekins in a baking dish.

Scrape out the vanilla pod (if you're using one) and add the seeds and the pod itself to the cream. Add sugar and heat the cream until it's steaming, but not boiling. Fish out the pod.

Whisk the egg yolks a little and gradually pour in the cream mixture, whisking all the time. Once all the cream has been added and the mixture is combined, pour through a sieve into your waiting ramekins. Pour boiling water into the baking dish around your ramekins, making sure the water comes at least halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 45-50mins until just set. They will still be wobbly. Cool on a wire rack and chill overnight.

When ready to serve, spoon some extra caster sugar onto your custard and roll it around a bit to cover the whole of the top. Blast with blowtorch until sugar is a beautiful glossy brown and caramelized all over. If you don't have a blow torch, you can pop them under a preheated grill, as close to the heating element as you can, until sugar caramelizes.

Note: I used four rather large ramekins for this recipe. If you prefer smaller servings, simply adjust the cooking time to suit. Bon appetit!

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