Ina’s Creme Brulee

November 12, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers is starting November out right! It’s never a bad thing to start with dessert, right? I didn’t think you’d disagree.

I adore creme brulee. Doesn’t everyone? Well, except for freaks like my husband who have deep suspicion of anything creamy.

It’s comforting, it’s simple, it’s slightly warm and pudding-like, it’s rich…yeah, did I mention that to you? Well, let me mention it again–this dessert is rich.

But once in a while, a girl’s gotta splurge, and this is a lovely way to do it.

Ina Garten’s Creme Brulee
serves 5-6

1 extra-large egg, at room temperature
4 egg yolks, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon sugar per ramekin for topping
3 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange liqueur (recommended: Grand Marnier)

Preheat the oven to 300.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the egg, egg yolks, and 1/2 cup sugar together on low speed until just combined. Meanwhile, scald the cream in a small saucepan until it’s very hot to the touch but not boiled. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the cream to the eggs. Add the vanilla and orange liqueur and pour into 6 to 8-ounce ramekins until almost full.

Place the ramekins in a baking pan and carefully pour boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, until the custards are set when gently shaken. Remove the custards from the water bath, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until firm.

To serve, spread 1 tablespoon sugar evenly on the top of each ramekin and heat with a kitchen blowtorch* until the sugar caramelizes evenly.

Allow to sit at room temperature for a minute until the caramelized sugar hardens.

* What? You don’t have a kitchen blowtorch lying around? Me neither. In fact, I’m pretty sure that me + kitchen blowtorch = bad idea. I had every intention of jettisoning the blowtorch and just popping the sugar-topped custards under the broiler for a minute or two.

But then I happened to be at a business dinner the day before I was going to make this recipe, and I was yammering on and on about the ridiculousness that is a kitchen blowtorch.

“Seriously?” I said. “Why on earth would someone buy a blowtorch for their kitchen needs? What kind of person owns a kitchen blowtorch?”

“I own one,” said the very lovely, very charming woman sitting next to me. Who happens to be the wife of the senior partner of my husband’s group.

That’s me folks. I am smooth.

Luckily, she isn’t one to hold a grudge. She even offered to lend Miss Motormouth her kitchen blowtorch.

Luckily, Awesome Stepkid R. was in the house this weekend. Rather than use my Parkinson’s hands (and risk setting the kitchen ablaze), I begged him to torch my brulees.

And yeah, I was an annoying worrywart and hovered the entire time. Which made him nuts.

Verdict: This recipe rocks. It’s easy to make, it’s delicious, it’s sexy looking. In fact, Awesome Stepkid R. and I decided that this is the perfect ending for The Love Food Meal.

I mean, how impressive is it to watch a man take a torch to dessert? Awesome.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

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