Friday, March 23, 2012

Free Friday - Crème Brulée

It's FRIDAY! Thank goodness. This has been a rough week; bad food choices, giving up, then refusing to eat (what am I a two year old?) the long and short of it is, we are still here, still walking, and still dealing with life. So, let's do what we can with what we have. Which may not be much! You know how it goes, you're tired of watching everyone have whatever they want, meanwhile you're nickle and diming whatever you can out of meals to try to find something edible AND tastes good.

I know I didn't say much on Monday and today I was hard pressed to find something I could write about, after all, this week is food crisis week right? Well. Not entirely. Monday I made my first ever crème brulée. While this was not my first custard, it was my first of this particular dish I'll refer to as CB. All I can say, is it turned out SMASHINGLY well. Like blockbuster hit at the theatres on a Friday night smashing. Speaking of movies, this recipe is not time consuming, it is a little difficult and precise but I assure you if I can do it at 11 o'clock at night before a party, you can do it on a Friday night after a movie (do not attempt after drinking - but if you have blood sugar issues WHY are you drinking???), and have decadent CB in the morning for breakfast. Added sugar free, creamy, rich and delicious to boot. I broke it down as simply as I could one step at a time so there's no missing anything.

Let's hope I got pictures of this one. I was really tired that night. (update: zero pictures of the custard and tons of pictures of chocolate I shouldn't have eaten. So, at least we know where my focus was. As soon as I make another, I'll be sure to post the pic. Until then, I'll save you the torture of staring at pics of chocolate and put up something adorable like Johnny.)

Vanilla Crème Brulée

1 quart of heavy whipping cream
9 large egg yolks
1 oz vanilla extract
3/4 of an OUNCE of splenda (2/3 of a cup)
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of salt

1. Scald cream with vanilla in heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. Set aside allow to cool a bit.

2. Put 8, 6oz ramekins in a baking dish (or 2)

3. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit - make sure the rack is in the center.

4. In a mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks and splenda, salt and nutmeg

5. While mixing constantly, slowly stream the hot cream into the eggs. Very. Slowly. That's the biggest help I can give you here, because too hot, too fast, and too much = scrambled eggs, not custard. If this happens, you're done. Start over because the custard will never set right.

6. Pour custard in ramekins.

7. Place baking dish in oven on center rack and add the hot water to the pan, being very very careful not to spill any water into your custard cups.

8. Bake 30 - 35 minutes - they will be 'jello' like in texture (but not liquid), when you shake the pan, expect them to jiggle. Bigger ramekins will require more time, account for this if you're using a different size.

9. Remove the ramekins (CAREFULLY!) from the water and place them on a rack until room temperature.

10. Refrigerate and allow to set up overnight.

11. Wake up in the morning and enjoy a perfect crème bruleé.

Now, some of you may be thinking, "Wait, wait, wait. How do we get that decadent crispy-fried crust on the top of it that we all know and love from the restaurant?"
Well, I have some good news, and I have some bad news. The good news is that some people do this with packet splenda (as you will see in her recipe) and they are happy with it. Here comes the bad news: I will tell you. I was unhappy with it. It gave off a nasty chemical burn smell. Splenda is a chemical so there you have it (I will try this recipe with Stevia at another time.) The only other thing I tried was a little bit of sugar free syrup on top, that got gooey like a caramel. It tasted fine. The custard itself is amazingly delicious when done right and has a to die for texture. It doesn't really NEED the crusty coating, but if you absolutely had to have it, you could try one of the above suggestions, or just a tiny bit of sugar.

PS - you need a mini torch for that, which I have, but not crisping the top saves you from having to buy a kitchen torch just to make CB. =)

Enjoy the scenery. And do not be afraid to make crème brulée!!!

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