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July 26, 2013

Pat's Kitchen: A classic Creme Brulee

(Continued)

The custards must be cold before caramelizing or they will melt.

Vanilla Crème Brulee’

Makes six 4-ounce ramekins

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

1. For the most intense vanilla flavor, pulverize one-half of a vanilla bean (that has been chopped into one- quarter inch pieces) with 2 tablespoons sugar to make “vanilla sugar”. (A coffee grinder works great.)

Note: May substitute vanilla bean with 1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract (not imitation).

2. Warm 1 cup heavy cream, 1 cup half and half and vanilla sugar (if using) in a saucepan over medium heat just until steam rises.

3. In a mixing bowl whisk together 3 egg yolks, 1 egg, one-quarter cup sugar, pinch of salt, and adding vanilla extract at this time if not using vanilla bean.

Temper hot cream mixture into eggs, strain into a measuring cup with a pour spout, and divide among six 4-oz. ovenproof ramekins or custard cups. Arrange dishes in a baking pan, and then carefully transfer the pan to pre-heated oven. Add hot water to the pan and bake custards 35-45 minutes, or until just set; do not overcook.

Remove ramekins from the water bath, cool, then wrap loosely in plastic wrap in plastic wrap. Chill until completely cold, preferably overnight.

Crème Brulee Sugar Topping -- Makes three-quarters cup (for six 4-oz. crème brulees)

Combine one-half cup brown sugar and one-quarter cup white granulated sugar (raw sugar is good). Spread the mixture on a parchment-line baking sheet. After baking the brulees, turn off the oven and place the baking sheet in the oven for an hour to dry out the sugar. Transfer to a food processor or coffee grinder to pulverize until fine. Store in a tight container until ready to caramelize.

To caramelize top of brulee:

1. Blot custards dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons of sugar mixture over each.

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