Monday, August 26, 2013

Easy Creme Brulee

I wish I had a nickel for everyone who says Creme Brulee is their favorite dessert.  Actually, I wish I had a creme brulee, not just a nickel.

And most of these folks think they have to go to a restaurant to get this creamy wonder.  But wait no longer-- it's actually super simple to make-- only 5 ingredients!  (Although one of my sons got mad at me for "ruining" his desire to have one in a restaurant, by making it so often at home!)  Remember that it's basically just custard, with a crackling, caramelized top.  Here's the easiest way to indulge:

2 Cups heavy cream
1/2 Cup granulated sugar
5 egg yolks (save the whites for a health-conscious omelette, to make up for the creme brulee!)
1 tsp. vanilla (use the best kind you can)
6 Tbsp. powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  In a sauce pan over medium-low heat, stir cream and sugar until hot and sugar is dissolved.  Don't boil, don't get out a candy thermometer, don't make a big deal of this.  Just hot. 
2. In a bowl, whisk egg yolks, then slowly drizzle hot cream mixture into yolks as you whisk them.  If you drizzle slowly, you won't cook the yolks or curdle them, and you'll just a have a nice, creamy mixture.  Stir in vanilla.
3. Pour this custard into 6 ramekins, custard bowls, or creme brulee dishes.  Line a roasting pan with paper towels, then place the ramekins on the towels.  Pour hot water into the roasting pan until it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins.  Bake for 1 hour.  You may need a few more minutes if you're using deep, rather than shallow ramekins.  Stick a knife into the center of one custard; if it comes out clean, they're done. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and let the custards rest in the water for 10 minutes.  Remove custards and chill completely, overnight if possible.
4. When ready to serve, sprinkle each with 1 Tbsp of powdered sugar (some use brown sugar, which also works).  Broil for a minute or less, until sugar caramelizes to a golden brown.  OR use a creme brulee torch to create the same effect.  Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes, so sugar can harden, then serve.  (Garnish with berries, if desired)

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