Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Creme Brulee that wasn't

Today is such a gorgeous, sunny day that I can't imagine why any person would want to spend their day indoors. Alas, there were cupcakes to be made for tomorrow night's cake decorating class and the tantalizing smell of vanilla made me think of Crème Brulee. It is one of the food projects I've wanted to make since hubby bought me the supplies December of 2008, for my birthday. Talk about time getting away from you! As luck would have it, I had all the supplies on hand to make Paula Deen's Crème Brulee from Food Network.

Paula Deen's Crème Brulee
2 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup, plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 to 1/2 cup white granulated or light brown sugar

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

In a heavy-bottomed medium non-reactive saucepan, heat cream with vanilla bean over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring to ensure it does not burn; do not let boil. Remove from heat and let steep for 15 minutes. Remove and discard the vanilla bean, or save for another use. Strain cream through a fine mesh sieve.

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, beat egg yolks with an electric mixer on high speed for 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar. Add about half the cream mixture, a little at a time, to the egg mixture, whisking until well blended. Then pour the egg mixture into the remaining cream mixture. Stir until completely blended.

Pour the custard into 4 (9-ounce) ramekins or custard cups. Place the dishes in large baking pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins( I added food coloring to the water so that you could see). Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the mixture is set in the center (it should still wiggle when shaken). Carefully remove the dishes from the baking pan. Let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 24 hours. Let creme brulee stand at room temperature 20 minutes before serving.

Divide 1/3 to 1/2 cup white or light brown sugar in a thin, even layer over each custard, covering it completely. To caramelize the sugar, light a propane torch* and hold it so the flame just touches the surface. Start at the center and spiral out toward the edges of the ramekins. If the sugar begins to burn, pull the torch away and blow on the sugar to extinguish the flame. Serve immediately.

Alas, my poor dessert failed to set and came out with the texture of the vanilla coffee creamer you might use.  When I took them out of the oven the dessert appeared to be the right consistency, but evidently it wasn't.  Doing a net search I found that some recipes require boiling water to set the ramekins in before baking and I am wondering if that was the cause.  I can't quite check this one off my list, yet.  I'm going to try another recipe on another day and will share those results with you.

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