I've always been intimidated by crème brûlée imagining it to be a very complicated dessert that I couldn't possibly make at home. So I was very excited about this months' pick & was looking forward to halving the recipe and trying at least a few of the variations in the 'playing around' section. But then, too lazy to do the math, I ended up making only the classic version.
Dorie's directions suggest a baking time of 50-60 minutes but the custards were very jiggly at that point and it took me almost double the recommended time to get them cooked. I chilled them overnight and caramelized a few the next morning. How best to describe it? The crème brûlée was wonderfully silky, as delicious as anything I've ever had at a restaurant with its pleasingly contrasting layers of torched sugar and cool custard.
As usual, this is a winner from Baking from my home to yours. The variations of this recipe can be found on pages 393-4 of the book. I'm including the classic version right here. I'm hopeful that others from BWD will have played around with the recipe! For links to participating blogs this week, please go to the comment section of the related post here.
Next up we're making the Peppermint Cream Puff Ring, picked by Tina. If you'd like to be a part of our baking group, please email me at needfulthings at ymail dot com. We'd love to have you bake along with us.
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
3 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
About 6 tbsp sugar or sifted light brown sugar for topping
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 200F. Put the baking dishes on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
Bring the cream and milk just to a boil.
In a 1-2 quart glass measuring cup or in a medium bowl, whisk th egg yolks, sugar and vanilla together until well blended but not airy. Still whisking, drizzle in about one quarter or the hot liquid - this will temper, or warm, the yolks so they won't curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remainder of the cream and milk. Give the bowl a good rap against the counter to de-bubble the custard, then strain it into the baking dishes.
Bake the custards for 50-60 minutes, or until the custards are set - tap the sides of the dishes, and the custards should hold firm. Lift the dishes onto a cooling rack and let the custards cool until they reach room temperature.
Cover each custard with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, preferably longer. (The custards can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.) For the sugar to be successfully caramelized, the custards need to be thoroughly chilled.
To caramelize the sugar topping with a blowtorch, work on one dish at a time. Sprinkle the top of each custard evenly with sugar - about 1 tablespoon for each dish - then brown the sugar, cooking until it bubbles and colors. Wait until the bubbles subside before serving the crèmes.
To caramelize the sugar in a broiler, preaheat the broiler and fill a shallow roasting pan with the ice cubes. Sprinkle the custards with the sugar, put the baking dishes on the bed of ice and run the custards under the broiler. Don't move away from your oven - depending on your broiler, it can take seconds or minutes to caramelize the sugar, and you don't want to miss the moment and ruin the topping. When the sugar bubbles and browns, pull the custards out, remove them from their ice bed and let them settle down before serving.