Crème Brûlée is something you might expect to see in a menu of a fancy restaurant, something you think only the pros can make using equally pro equipments, but it actually not that complex! With the right recipe and right ingredients you can easily replicate this restaurant-quality dish 🙂
In fact, Crème Brûlée literally means “burnt cream”, and it can’t get any simpler than that. But just in case you are wondering how you can “burn” the cream without a blowtorch, you can!
For this recipe you need some extra equipments: a saucepan, some shallow oven-proof ramekins, oven, blowtorch (optional). I bought my ramekins from Daiso (just $2 each!) so you might want to rush there to get them now.
This recipe makes about 6 servings
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for each serving
3 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius. Prepare boiling water for hot water-bath.
2. In a heat-proof mixing bowl, mix the egg, egg yolks and sugar together on low speed until just combined. Meanwhile, scald the cream in a small saucepan until it’s very hot to the touch but not boiled. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the cream to the eggs. (It is important to continue mixing while gradually adding the cream, because the cream is hot and can scramble your eggs! If needed, ask someone else to pour the cream in for you) Add in vanilla, and pour the mixture into the ramekins until full.
3. Place ramekins in a baking pan and carefully pour boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. (Be careful not to let any water splash into the cream-egg mixture) Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, until when gently shaken the custards are set on the outside and still wobbly in the center. Remove the ramekins from the water-bath, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until firm.
4. To serve, spread 1 tablespoon of sugar evenly on the top of each ramekin. (If needed, use your finger to spread the sugar till you get a thin and even layer. This ensures that you get a delicately thin layer of caramelised sugar) Place the ramekin on a foil-covered cooling rack, or a metal plate (so you won’t burn your kitchen counter top), and heat with the blowtorch until the sugar caramelises evenly. Allow to sit at room temperature for a minute until the caramelised sugar hardens.
Tips on using blowtorch:
- At first, you’ll see the sugar slowly sizzling, followed by rapid browning. (I am guessing that this is because it takes time to overcome the activation energy, and the reaction proceeds quickly right after that) So make sure that you do not point your blowtorch at a specific spot for too long
- Concentrating heat at an area also causes unwanted heat to penetrate through the sugar layer and into the custard (which you do not want because the custard should stay cold)
- A useful method is to use a “swishing” movement to move your blowtorch back and forth to ensure even caramelisation!
For those without a blowtorch do not fret! This is a tip that I’ve found on the net:
“Workaround for no blowtorch is an oven with a BBQ-setting. It should work with both gas ovens and electrical ovens that haven open heating coils. Put the oven into BBQ-setting, for electrical ovens, wait until the coils are glowing red. Place your cremes directly under the BBQ-heat-source as close as it gets (you want maximum heat – the quicker the operation goes, the better, you do *not* want to heat the custard too much). It is also crucial to leave the oven door ajar the whole time to prevent general heating of oven and, by extent, custard.”
I haven’t tried this method before though, because I have been relying on my trusty pink blowtorch 🙂 So if anyone managed to try this, please let me know how it turned out!