Crème Brûlée is like Coco Chanel’s little black dress. Perfection in its simplicity. Perfection in its execution. Designed to impress but not to over-power. Always in good taste. And the memorable ending to any dinner.
If you only make one French dessert in your life – make it crème brûlée and make it yours. My new recipe is similar to the dessert we served in our restaurant ROXY’S BISTRO, but I have simplified it and made it practically fool-proof. It contains just three ingredients; cream, eggs and sugar.
Generally I make the classic version – with vanilla. Or, feeling creative I’ll poke around in the drinks cupboard and use cognac or Grand Marnier as the flavouring. One can even put a generous dab of jam in the bottom of the ramekins before you pour your custard. For Thanksgiving dinner create an elegant dessert. Simply add pumpkin pie spices to your custard. Like Chanel’s little black dress – the possibilities of changing this recipe are endless
It is pure alchemy. How could such simple ingredients – eggs, milk, cream, sugar – bring grown men to their knees. This recipe for crème brûlée was always on the menu at our restaurant, Roxy’s Bistro. We made it five days a week for seven years. Repetition makes perfect, and I perfected this new recipe so it is right every time. This recipe is perfect for six generous servings, but if you are having a large dinner party it doubles beautifully and serves twelve.
|HOW TO MAKE PERFECT CREME BRUELEE|| |
- 1½ cups whipping cream
- ½ cup cream milk (coffee/cream)
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 whole eggs
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- Brown sugar for topping
- PUMPKIN PIE SPICES
- 1½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- ⅛ tsp ground cloves
- If you have time to do this ahead spread two cups of brown sugar on a large dinner plate. Leave to dry on the kitchen counter for a few days. Eliminating moisture from the brown sugar makes your burnt sugar topping crisper.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Set out six one-cup size ramekins and a pan large enough to hold them.
- Heat the whipping cream and cream milk in a large saucepan, over medium heat, until very hot but NOT BOILING.
- While the milk mixture is heating whisk eggs until thick in your stand mixture.
- Add sugar gradually beating constantly until mixture is very thick and pale in color.
- Add hot cream/milk mixture to the eggs VERY SLOWLY beating constantly and at low speed. Start by just dribbling the hot milk down the side of your bowl so you warm your eggs but don't cook them.. Don't whisk your egg mixture at a high speed because it becomes too foamy.
- Pour the mixture back into the pan used to heat the milk/cream mixture and over low to medium heat, whisk constantly until your custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Be sure to push your whisk into the corners of your pan while whisking. If you are using a candy thermometer take it to just 165F. then remove it from the heat and continue whisking it for a minute or two to cool.
- Whisk in your vanilla or other such flavourings as rum, kirsch, cognac, orange liqueur, or espresso.
- If your are adding pumpkin pie spices mix the ground spices together - first add HALF the mixture and taste for the amount of flavour. One can more or less - your choice.
- Pour your custard into the ramekins and set them in the pan.
- Put the pan in the center of your oven and pour in boiling water to reach about half way up the sides of the ramekins.
- Bake uncovered in a 350F oven for 35 minutes. The edges should be firm and the center slightly wobbly.
- Cool then chill in the refrigerator for several hours until set. You can make this up to two days ahead of time stored in the refrigerator tightly covered with plastic wrap.
- A couple of hours before you wish to serve your creme brulee preheat your broiler.
- Generously sprinkle each of the custards with the brown sugar making sure there are no lumps and all the custard is covered.
- Set your rack so your custards are a good two inches below your broiler. If they are too close only the top layer of sugar will caramelize. You can then return the ramekins to the refrigerator until serving time, or serve them immediately. I prefer to serve them right away so the custard is slightly warm and burnt sugar crust has is beautifully brittle.