Monday, 25 April 2011

Creme brulee

Creme brulee is an indulgence at the end of a meal. Or at the beginning of the day, if you have some left over and you are fridge raiding. It's a baked custard with a cristallised sugar lid, so you break through the crisp dark caramel into the soft and creamy custard, and when you put a spoonful in your mouth you get the ultra smooth vanilla flavour against the almost bitter shards of sugar.

It's not hard to make, just needs a little thinking ahead. And if you have a blow torch, involves the pleasure of playing with fire.

It's one of Kitty's favourites, taken from the BBC website, and already mentioned in a previous post. She does it, without vanilla pods and all that scraping, she just uses a natural vanilla essence. It uses a mixture of milk and cream, which makes it a little bit lighter.

You'll use a roasting tin, or similar, four large ramekins and a blow torch (or grill).

450ml/16fl oz double cream
50ml/2 fl oz whole milk
a few drops vanilla extract
5 free-range eggs
75g/2½ oz caster sugar, plus 40g/1½ oz more, for the topping


  • Set the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2.
  • Separate the egg yolks and egg whites. Only the yolks are used in this recipe, so you can use the egg whites for another dish or freeze them for future use.
  • Pour the caster sugar into the bowl with the yolks. Whisk together the egg yolks and the caster sugar until they start to get paler, and are well combined, the mixture will thicken a little.
  • Pour the cream and the milk into a saucepan, put on a medium heat and bring to just below a boil.
  • Stir in the vanilla extract and simmer.
  • Pour the cream and milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Stir thoroughly for a minute or two to mix everything together and make sure the sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Ladle the brûlée mixture into ramekins, or any little heatproof pots.
  • Put the crème brûlées into a deep baking tray and pour hot water into the tray. It should come about halfway up the pots. This is a bain marie.
  • Put the baking tray and contents into the preheated oven and cook for about 30-35 minutes. They need to be firm, but will have a little wobble.
  • Allow to cool, then chill. Chilling them will make the caramel work better. If you can’t wait just go to the next step.
  • For the topping, sprinkle the rest of the sugar on top of the brûlées – if you do it in two stages you’ll get a stronger crust. Heat the surface with a mini-blowtorch until it forms a layer of caramel.
When you're ready - eat.

No comments:

Post a Comment