Creme Brulee is a classic dish of smooth custard, with a caramelized sugar topping. Creme Brulee is highly contested on the actual origin of this delectable dish. I am looking back over my notes taken while attending a French Culinary school. The dish that I have cooked many times, are of course, the so called Classical French version. There are many different opinions on where the dish originally came from, such as Spain, England or France. I just know that Creme Brulee is very easy to make, and it is equally delicious. It is one of my favorites, and it is always a hit at any dinner event.
Ingredients you will need:
10 egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
3 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon of pure vanilla bean paste
1/4-1/2 cup granulated white sugar, you will add this to the top of the chilled custard, and caramelize with a torch.
2 large stainless steel mixing bowls if you have them, glass will work fine, too
Preheat your oven to 300ºF. You will need a glass or metal large mixing bowl, and I prefer to use a stainless steel that has a flat bottom. I really like the ones that have the flat bottom without the stamp mold on the bottom of the bowl, as it helps for much better mixing. The whisk will be able to get all places of the bowl, where as if it has a mold or ring stamp in the bottom the whisk will not be able to incorporate all ingredients. You will need to whisk together egg yolks, and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. You will know that this has happened when the mixture has turned thick, and the color of the mixture becomes a pale yellow. Add your heavy cream and vanilla, and continue to whisk until well blended. Strain into a large bowl, skimming off any foam or bubbles.
You will need to divide as evenly as possible the mixture of your egg custard into the 8 ramekins, or some call them custard cups. Place ramekins on a large deep sided sheet pan, into a water bath, this is where the water is up to about halfway up the sides of your ramekins. The water is usually about 1 or 2 inches total in the pan. You will bake the custard, until the custard is a gel consistency, or set around the edges, but still somewhat loose, but not runny in the center, about 45 minutes to an hour depending on your oven.
Remove from oven and the water bath. If you have a metal grate, or cooling rack, you will put them on the rack for about 20-30 minutes, or until cool to the touch. You will want to get them into the refrigerator quickly after that. There are eggs in this dish, and you will want to lessen the opportunity for bacteria growth. You will want to chill them in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours, or you can chill over night. When we prepared this dish in culinary school, we chilled them overnight.
When you are ready to serve your creme brulee dessert, sprinkle about 2-3 teaspoons of sugar over each custard. For best results, use a small, hand-held torch to melt sugar, if you do not have a torch and would like to get one, they are at most department stores that have home furnishings. Until you purchase a torch of your own you have other options, you can place your ramekins under the broiler until sugar melts. Make sure you keep a close eye on them, so they will not burn, and all of your hard work is not wasted. Enjoy!