Saturday, February 15, 2014

Creme Brulee

Grandma was known for her custard pies.  My hubby would never eat them, said he didn't like custard, yet he would eat (and loves) quiche.  I would (patiently?) explain the only difference between the two was sugar and salt but could never sway him.  Then one night, while out at a restaurant, he decided to take a bite of my creme brulee. What a transformation!  From then on, he's been trying creme brulee virtually every place we go! Being the nice guy that he is he always tells me mine is best!

Creme brulee is so easy to make, uses very simple ingredients. I'm not sure why I don't make it more often except that I get bored making the same thing! This recipe from Ina Garten,The Barefoot Contessa, is as good as it gets. According to her, this is the ultimate "guy" dessert.  Make it and he'll follow you anywhere.  I don't think my Hubby is going anywhere but I know if I have this on the menu he will be a happy man that night!

I use Grand Marnier for many things.  If you don't stock this liqueur in your pantry don't worry about buying a big bottle for just this recipe.  You can buy sample-size bottles! But don't leave this ingredient out, the subtle orange flavor in this creme brulee is wonderful!
If you don't have a kitchen blowtorch you can put the custards under the broiler.  The top won't be as caramelized and the custard may warm up some but it will taste wonderful, nonetheless.  I use extra-fine sugar, I like how it caramelizes better than regular granulated sugar.


1 extra-large egg
4 extra-large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
3 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, 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.  Add the vanilla and Grand Marnier and pour into 6- to 8-ounce ramekins until almost full.

Place the ramekins in a baking pan and carefully pour boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the custards are set when gently shaken.  Remove the custards from the water bath, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until firm.

To serve, spread 1 tablespoon of sugar evenly on the top of each ramekin and heat with a kitchen blowtorch until the sugar caramelizes evenly.  Allow to sit at room temperature for a minute until the caramelized sugar hardens.

The custards can be made up to 3 days in advance; caramelize the tops before serving.

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