Crème Brûlée Recipe


Crème Brûlée Crème Brûlée



Ingredients for 6 People :     


- 8 eqq yolks

- 80 g (1/3 cup) sugar; for the initial mixture

- 500 ml (2 cups) heavy cream

- 6 ml (1 teaspoon) of vanilla extract

- 60 g (½ cup) sugar; for the caramel at the end


Preparation Time: 25 Minutes Cooking Time: 60 Minutes

Main Course Recipe:


- Preheat oven to 150ºC (300ºf)

- Put the egg yolks and sugar into a large bowl. Mix (or whisk) until the sugar is completely dissolved. At this point, the mixture should be thick and pale yellow.

- Add the cream and vanilla extract to the bowl and mix them in thoroughly.

- Strain the mixture into a bowl. The strainer will remove any clumps in the mixture. Use a spoon to skim off any foam or bubbles.

- Divide the mixture among 6 ramekins (see note on ramekins below).

- Place the ramekins in a large pan and add water to the pan. The water should be about half the height of the ramekin. Make sure that you don't spin any water into the ramekins. Some people put hot water (e.g. heat some up in a hot water kettle) into the pan instead of cold water. This shortens the cooking time and in some cases (depending on your ramekin) gives a more even finish.

- Put the pan in the preheated oven until the custard is set at the edges of the ramekins but still loose in the centre . In other words, the custard should be firm at the edge of the ramekins, but like jello in the centre. This will take about 50-60 minutes, with the exact time depending on the shape and size of the ramekins.

- Remove from the oven. Take the ramekins out of the pan and allow them to cool for at least 2 hours.

- When ready to serve, sprinkle the remaining sugar over the tops of each custard (the sugar should be divided evenly among the 6 ramekins).

- Melt the sugar until it starts to caramelise (the sugar turns brown, but not black). This is best done with a small hand-held torch. If you don't have a torch, put them under the oven grill until the sugar caramelises.

- Put the ramekins back into the fridge for a few minutes before serving, to allow them to cool.



Preparing in advance:


- This dish can be prepared in advance and stored for up to 2 days in a refrigerator. In this case, complete all the steps except for adding the sugar to the top and caramelising it; which should be done just before serving. This last step cannot be done in advance, as the moisture in the custard will be absorbed by the sugar, which will then go soft. This is undesirable, as part of the enjoyment of this dessert is the contrast between the hard sugar and the soft cream underneath.

- If storing in the fridge, after cooking allow the ramekins to cool outside and once cool cover with cling film (plastic film) to keep fresh. Them put in the refrigerator. Of course, remove the film when you are ready to add the caramelise sugar and serve.

- Traditionally, this dish is served at room temperature. Consequently, if you are making it on the day you are serving, allow a couple of hours for it to cool from the oven. Alternatively, if you have prepared it a day or two in advance, remove it from the refrigerator before you sit down to eat, so that it will have time to warm up before desert time. If it happens to be a bit too warm or too cold, don't worry as it will still taste good.



History and Notes:


- Crème Brûlée is French for "Burnt Cream". If fact, neither the cream itself nor the sugar on top are "burnt", although both are cooked.

- Although a torch is now the standard tool for caramelising the sugar, or failing that an oven grill, at the time Crème Brûlée was first created neither existed. Instead, a small round iron has heated and then placed on top to caramelise the sugar (historical note: this iron was know as a "salamander"). This is a less controlled method than a torch or grill, so it is likely that some of the cream or sugar on the top was burnt instead of being merely caramelised. Perhaps this is where the "burnt" part of the name comes in. In any case, the term "Brûlée"  is used by the French for a variety of different desserts which are toped with caramelised sugar.

- Various countries claim to have invented this recipe, including the French, Spanish and British. In the UK, it is claimed by some that the dish was invented in Trinity College in Cambridge. However, perhaps the earliest known reference was France in the 1691 release of Massialot's cookbook. In any case, there is a strong argument that the recipe was created in France. It is also true that the recipe is more popular in France than anywhere else, being a standard dessert offering in many French restaurants.

- This recipe is typically cooked in a small ceramic disk, known as a ramekin. A ramekin is defined as: "a small dish, often white in colour, typically preferred for the preparation and serving of various baked recipes". If you do not have ramekins, other small oven dishes can be used instead. However, a small and shallow ceramic dish is generally most suitable for two reasons: it allows an even cooking of the cream which results in a smooth texture; it provides individual sized portions. Following is a picture, courtesy of Wikipedia.



- Crème Brûlée is actually fairly easy to prepare. The only tricky thing is to judge when it is cooked enough. The exact cooking time depends on the size and shape of your ramekins. Once you've made the recipe successfully, simply note the cooking time you've used and always use the same in future.

- If you are making this recipe for the first time and are unsure how long to cook it for, simply cook for 50 minutes and then check every 10 minutes until done. A good trick for checking when it is cooked is to stick a toothpick in the centre; if it comes out clean (or with crumbs on it) then cooking is complete. If it comes out wet then cook another 10 minutes and check again. Don't overcook as the texture will become too firm rather than creamy.


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