Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Crème Brûlée for Dummies

3-4 years ago Haki and I had a chef teach us how to make this in mug-bottoms. We were impressed, to say the least...and replicated the recipe for 6 servings within the week....consuming the bounty alone. Lately I've had an unusually strong craving to rekindle my relationship with this dessert...thus the ramekins' purchase at the latest $3-bag sale. I only found two that matched, and bought 'em smartly, along with three ramekin-like 30c mugs - all at Sallies. I think equipment is the biggest thing stopping people from making these - but it shouldn't! I made this recipe for 6 and placed it into 2 ramekins and 3 mugs...no blow-torch.

Based on this recipe, here's my variation; Crème Brûlée for Dummies:

Ingredients:

6 tablespoons Hershey's Hot Fudge (in a jar)
6 egg yolks, chilled

6 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups cream, chilled
4 tablespoons granulated sugar, for topping

Method:
  1. I keep my eggs at room temperature for baking, and so placed 6 in a bowl of cold water for 10 minutes while I completed steps 2-3.
  2. Preheat oven to 135 degrees C. Check one oven rack is in the centre position and another is placed as high as possible (allowing space for a roasting dish on it). Butter six (1/2 cup) custard cups or ramekins and set them into deep, newspaper-lined roasting dish (a glass dish is better for even temperature, but I don't have one).
  3. Spoon a dollop of fudge sauce into the bottom of each dessert dish. When we made this with the chef-friend we drained canned pears and arranged two in the base of each dish. You can pretty much put anything you want in the bottom...I went with "Fudge Surprise" this time.
  4. Boil a full electric jug of water.
  5. In a large bowl, beat egg yolks until slightly thickened. Add sugar and mix until dissolved; mix in cream, then pour mixture into prepared custard cups.
  6. Pour the boiled water (still hot, but now cooled down some from boiling) into the roasting dish so that the water level comes up to the height of the custard in the ramekins/mugs. Top up with water from the tap if necessary. (See my fudge peeking through?)
  7. Place in the oven on the central rack. Begin checking from 30 minutes. If you nudge the roasting dish with an oven mit the custard in the centre of each small dish should move, but appear to hold like half-set jelly. The sides should look firm and stiff.
  8. Remove from the oven. Switch oven to grill and 250 degrees C. Spoon a generous amount of sugar on top of each dessert. Return to the top tray of the oven for approximately 2 minutes. (This step replaces the blow-torch step - for others who lack one laying about the house.) I keep the door open and watch at this point - as I want only the tops to cook from the radiant heat, not a boxed, hot oven cooking the entire cups further...plus - you can't see otherwise - they're so high.
  9. Remove from oven and leave in the water bath until cooled to room temperature.
  10. Serve. (I don't chill 'em, I eat 'em warm...and I like it.)

(It's worth checking out the link - as it includes how to adapt your method if you only have a casserole dish, along with a few other nifty details.)
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