How is the weekend almost over? I really have a lot more laying around to do, so if we could maybe change our clocks back a day (or ten), that would be very helpful.
This weekend I made my first batch of crème brûlée. Or apparently it can also be spelled like crème brulée. Or just creme brulee. Good, I'm glad we got that settled.
For my birthday, I received a cooking torch (sorry, a culinary torch) and have been wanting to try it out. This is the obvious dish to use it for. I've never made crème brûlée and have only eaten it a few times, but it's really pretty easy.
I made 1/4-batch of this recipe, which yielded two small (4 oz) ramekins worth of the custard:
8 egg yolks (I didn't read this correctly and used the whole eggs)
1/3 cup granulated white sugar (I think a little extra sugar wouldn't hurt. Also, I used vanilla sugar for fun)
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup granulated white sugar (for the caramelized tops)
Preheat oven to 300ºF. In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is thick and pale yellow. Add cream and vanilla, and continue to whisk until well blended. Strain into a large bowl, skimming off any foam or bubbles. (I just poured it through a hand strainer and that seemed to keep the major bubbles out.)
Divide mixture among 6 ramekins or custard cups. Place ramekins in a water bath (large pan filled with 1 or 2 inches of hot water) and bake until set around the edges, but still loose in the center, about 50 to 60 minutes. (I was surprised that it took the full 60 minutes even for my small ramekins.) Remove from oven and leave in the water bath until cooled.
Remove cups from water bath and chill for at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days. When ready to serve, sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of sugar over each custard. For best results, use a small, hand-held torch to melt sugar. If you don't have a torch, place under the broiler until sugar melts. Re-chill custards for a few minutes before serving.
I took a few photos for those who might not know what to expect (as I didn't):
The left photo is what they looked like going into the oven, the center photo is after they have been baked. So there's not really any major appearance change (the coloring difference is more lighting than actual difference), which kind of surprised me. The third is to show how much sugar I put on top, but I'm not sure if I used enough. I am thinking it's maybe supposed to be a more solid sheet than the crystally top that I ended up with. Those of you are crème brûlée masters can give me insight, if you want.
UPDATE: My friend helped me fill the torch and we tried again--here he is, torching it up real nice.
The final [updated] result: