Thursday, December 21, 2006

Creme Brulee (revised)

Category: Dessert
Style: French
Difficulty: Easy-Medium
Portion: Serves 8

3 cups whole milk or whipping cream, or a combination of both
3/4 cup sugar
6 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar for sprinkling
crushed ice

To make custard:
Preheat over to 325F.
Making custard: Heat the milk with sugar and vanilla extract until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat.
Put eggs in a stainless steel bowl and whisk until broken.
Strain milk into bowl while whisking all the time.
Divide milk evenly into eight 4-oz custard cups..
Place custard cups into a deep roasting pan half full with hot water. Bake until set, about 35 minutes.
Let cool and refrigerate completely.
To make sugar topping:
Sprinkle sugar on top of custard. Tap out excess. Using a blow torch, heat sugar until caramelized. Let sit 1 minute and serve.
If you do not have a blow torch, use the following alternative method:
Set up rack in oven at 4 inches from top. Preheat broiler, use highest setting.
Put chilled custard in a deep roasting tray, then fill tray with crushed ice and cold water.
Sprinkle sugar generously on custard. Place roasting tray in oven, watch closely. Remove tray from oven when sugar is bubbly and caramelized, about 3-5 minutes. You may need to turn the tray often to evenly broil the custard.
Remove custard cups from tray, wipe dry. Let rest 1 minute or until sugar hardens. Serve.

The viscosity of the custard depends on the proportion of milk and cream you use. If you use a larger proportion of cream, the custard will be thicker, which is more traditional. If you use a larger proportion of milk, the custard will be thinner and be more like Chinese steamed egg. Do experiment with the milk/cream proportion and find out your own perfect style and taste.

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