Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Creme Brulee

One of my goals for 2012 was to cook something in a bain marie (fancy for water bath). What better time to try something totally intimidating for the first time than your romantic Valentine's dinner? Luckily it worked and the experience was entirely break down free! What have I been so afraid of all these years?! Simply pour water in a pan..seriously, that's it. I'm almost embarrassed by the simplicity of it all.

Creme Brulee
From Alton Brown
1 quart heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 cup vanilla sugar, divided*
6 large egg yolks
2 quarts hot water

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Place the cream, vanilla bean and its pulp into a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean and reserve for another use.
In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup sugar and the egg yolks until well blended and it just starts to lighten in color. Add the cream a little at a time, stirring continually. Pour the liquid into 6 (7 to 8-ounce) ramekins. Place the ramekins into a large cake pan or roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake just until the creme brulee is set, but still trembling in the center, approximately 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.

Remove the creme brulee from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes prior to browning the sugar on top. Divide the remaining 1/2 cup vanilla sugar equally among the 6 dishes and spread evenly on top. Using a torch, melt the sugar and form a crispy top. Allow the creme brulee to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving. 

*To make vanilla sugar, scrape a vanilla bean into sugar and add the pod. Store it in an airtight container and use for regular sugar in any recipe.

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