Monday, June 20, 2011

Creme Brûlée

Creme brulee is my dad’s favorite dessert; how appropriate that I make it before Father’s Day. I’m sure he could have done without me screaming from the kitchen about how cool the blow torch was.

I would also like to point out that I discovered just how difficult it is to photograph a spoon. Getting juuust the right angle as to not show ya’ll my disheveled clipped up hair and the bright pink shirt I just worked out in with a giant hole in the left armpit.

While I have your attention I suppose I should also like to take this opportunity to distract you from staring at the giant dark patch of burnt carmelized sugar on the top of my partially eaten creme brulee. The first time any woman has a blow torch in her hand can be an exhilirating one. It will take some time, and many more batches before I can harness my excitement from throwing wild flames in the kitchen. Good thing the cat was hiding.

Here we go. I’d like to take yet another moment of your time by telling you HOW ABSOLUTELY EASY THIS RECIPE WAS!!! Shared with me from Inside Nana Bread’s Head, which was brought to her from A Sweet Pea Chef, I was both amazed and pleased at how simple this recipe was!

No tempering eggs! Tempering eggs refers to the process of pouring a small amount of hot ingredients into your cooled ingredients to slooowwwllyy bring the temperature up, thus not cooking your eggs in the bowl and create what I lovingly referred to as a child as “rubber bands” in my mom’s chocolate pudding. Congealed cooked eggs = no bueno.

Alrighty, let’s get started:

Upon the advice of Nana Bread, I doubled the recipe. I was sure my dad would love it, and I still had a lot of eggs to use from my visit to Jenn’s farm. Notice those beautiful bright yolks!

So, I gently whisked TEN egg yolks with 1 cup of sugar.

I saved all those beautiful shells for the compost pile. It’s hard to tell, but the shell at about 10 o’clock was a beautiful blue green from an Auracana chicken. Sometimes different chickens lay smaller eggs, so I might have to add an extra or two. Crazy what life must have been like for our grandmothers.

Then you’ll you need 4 cups of heavy cream. The good stuff. Don’t feel bad, it’s for Dad.

Alright folks. THIS is why Nana Bread must be mentioned again. She actually sent me a thank you gift when she won my giveaway!!! She has also been an ENORMOUS source of inspiration for ideas about my blog. What can I say? Texans are special.

She sent me vanilla bean paste. I can’t believe I have never seen this stuff! It’s GLORIOUS! It’s at your local grocer, right next to the vanilla bean extract. As she said, for cakes, vanilla extract is fine. But for custards, or homemade ice cream (!!!!) this stuff shines! So – hats off to Nana Bread!! Waahooooo 😀

Look at all those perfect black specks! After you whisk your yolks and sugar, use the same amount of paste as you would extract, so 3 tsp. it was! This stuff keeps right in the cupboard, so no more will I have to buy expensive whole beans and try slicing them to scrape out their seeds. Life is good.

Pour in your 4 cups of  cream, and stir gently. Be careful not to stir quickly or you’ll incorporate unwanted extra air.

That’s it! That’s the end! Time to bake the puppies! Pour them in your ramekins. Since I doubled the recipe, this made 6 ramekins, and my ramekins are Dad sized ramekins, I believe they are 9 oz each. That’s a “Hungry Man’s” creme brulee!

Place the ramekins in a baking dish, and fill with hot water until the water reaches about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.  This helps your custards/cheesecakes/etc. to cook more evenly.

Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour. You notice they’re done if you stick a knife in one (the one you’ll eat, not your dad’s) and it comes out almost clean. Not too liquidy, but not curdled and overbaked.

Once done, you have a few options:

  • Eat plain, warm or cold, which is really how my dad likes it, but HELLO I had a blow torch to play with!
  • Sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar on each one and place under the broiler for a few minutes.
  • TORCH ‘EM!

I chose the latter. So fun, so fun. Ya’ll need to get one. They have them at Bed Bath and Beyond ($20), and you’ll need a butane can, found at home depot, $5.

BEAUTIFUL custard! I LOVE the crunchy carmelized topping.
Happy Father’s Day Dad! Love ya!

And for my final Father’s Day tribute, my mom made me tweet in to Jimmy Fallon. Apparently he asked viewers to tweet in and share funny quirks that they love about their dad, followed by the hashtag #thatsmydad. He then read some on-air.

My favorites were:

~ He refers to his email as his “website.” #thatsmydad


~ He wears blue jeans on the treadmill. #thatsmydad

So here’s mine. Happy, Mom?

~Every time he belches (it’s often), he says “IOWA.”


Try it. You’ll feel smarter.


Dinki. (that’s what he always called me. shhhh.)

~Peace, Love, and Torching!

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Creme Brûlée


10 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
4 cups of heavy cream
3 tsp. vanilla bean paste, or vanilla extract


Whisk egg yolks and sugar.
Add cream, and whisk gently. Be sure not to over mix.
Add vanilla bean extract or paste.
Pour into six 9 oz. ramekins. Place ramekins in a baking dish, and pour enough hot water into the baking pan until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins. The water bath will help the custard to bake evenly.
Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour. Custard is done when knife inserted comes out almost clean.
Eat plain (warm or cold), or cool and sprinkle with 1 T of sugar and broil, or torch it.
You may garnish with berries, mint, or chocolate. Wouldn't a raspberry drizzle be gooood??

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