Monday, September 26

Crème Brulée

I work for an Internet company, meaning I get to experience a lot of perks (relaxed dress code, over-the-top company parties, free lunch). Recently our office held a company-wide competition, in which teams competed in a series of events ranging from arm wrestling to dunk tanking. Naturally, I volunteered to enter an item in the baking event (and the pie-eating contest - see the carnage here). We have some serious cooks in our office, so I knew I needed to make something that was unique but also widely-loved and settled on crème brulée. It was my first time making this dessert, but it was surprisingly easy and delicious. I took second place in the competition and received tons of compliments from the judges.

Vanilla Crème Brulée:
  • In a large bowl, whisk together 4 egg yolks, one egg,* and 1/2 c. of white sugar until the yolks turn slightly pale.
  • Meanwhile, heat 3 c. of heavy cream until almost boiling.
  • While constantly whisking, very slowly pour the hot cream into the egg mixture.**
  • Whisk in 1 tbsp. vanilla extract, then pour the custard into four 10 oz. ramekins, filling each up about 3/4 of the way.
  • Place the ramekins in a large baking dish, then fill the dish with boiling halfway up the ramekins.
  • Cook the custards in a 300F oven for 45 minutes, or until they just slightly wiggle in the center.
  • Remove the custards from the water bath and cool in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.***
  • Pour 1 heaping tsp. of sugar evenly over the top of each custard.
  • Place the ramekins about 2 -3 inches away from a very hot broiler and cook until the sugar is brown, about 2 minutes.****
  • Refrigerate the custards for another 10-15 minutes, then serve.

Serves four
*Use extra-large, preferably organic, eggs.
**This is the most crucial step. Add the cream very gradually or you will end up with scrambled eggs.
***If you're inpatient like I am, you can also cool them in the freezer for about 45 minutes.
****Watch this very carefully, sugar can go from perfectly brown to burnt in 30 seconds. You can also use a blow torch.