Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Crème de la crème

A few weeks ago, my dad gave me this pocket torch just in case. I wasn't planning on soldering anytime soon, so I used it for something even better...

Photos taken with my phone again. Sorry!
Crème brûlée. The cream of the crop when it comes to custard-based desserts, IMHO.
With the tap of a spoon, the caramelized top shatters like glass and gives way to the cold, creamy custard hiding underneath...

It's like the scene in Little Women when that annoying girl falls into the frozen lake as the ice cracks beneath her skates... Yep, it's EXACTLY like that-- except this is more soul-satisfying, and no one gets hurt.

..And there's no lake or ice, or... Ok, that was a horrible metaphor.

This dessert is stick-to-your-ribs phenomenal, and couldn't be any simpler. The version below doesn't even require you to whisk the custard on the stove. To top things off (literally), you get to play with fire-- and only good things can come out of that. Add some fresh strawberries or any other fruit on top, and you have a lovely foil to the rich custard.

Crème brûlée
Technique based on Debbie Puente's Elegantly Easy Creme Brulee
Makes approx. 4 servings

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or seeds of 1/2 vanilla pod
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • hot water (for water bath)
  • 4 ramekins, custard cups, or disposable aluminum muffin tins (can be cut to separate cups)
  • extra sugar for caramelizing tops
  • blowtorch (the fancy cooking kind, or a regular one from the hardware store)
Preheat the oven to 300F. In a bowl, whisk egg yolks and the 4 tbsp of sugar until mixture is pale yellow. Whisk in cream. Strain/skim to get rid of bubbles and pour into ramekins. Place a paper towel inside of an oven-safe pan and place ramekins on top of paper towel. Move pan to oven rack and pour hot water into pan until halfway up ramekins. Bake for 40 minutes or until custard sets on the outside and slightly jiggles in center. Cool to room temp and chill in fridge for at least 2 hours.

Prior to serving, pour sugar on top of custard and shake to coat. Pour out excess and torch tops until bubbly and caramelized. Let cool so sugar can harden.

Random food fact: The Catalan version of crème brûlée is called crema catalana, and it is typically flavored with orange/lemon zest and cinnamon.



  1. you've done it again. *golf clap*

    creme brulee is my favorite dessert. make a few more please and just kind of sit it on your kitchen counter before you go to bed and i'll come by and eat it while you're asleep <.<

  2. HEHEHEHE! thanks for the golf clap, i laughed so hard.

    i LOVEEE creme brulee too! i had my first one pretty late.. late bloomer, i guess you could say! i wish it weren't so fattening, but i'm willing to sacrifice.. loollo

    p.s. i did leave some on the counter ;)