Monday, May 7, 2012

Creme Brûlée


Our sweet hens are providing us with eggs and more eggs.  After a short period of coop confinement in order to let my garden spring up a little, the chickens have been released to dig and scratch to their hearts content.  Suffice it to say, there’s a lot of dirt being kicked up.  Pacino, got his first free, unleashed time with the chickens and everyone came away unscathed.  Up until now, Pacino stood licking his lips whenever he saw the chickens.  I believe now, what he really wanted was to eat their poop and maybe just have a little fun chasing them around.  It will be a gradual intermingling of the chickens and Pacino, but I am hoping to get full integration by the start of summer. 
So all these eggs and what to do?  Ironically, my kids do not eat a lot of eggs in and of themselves.  If cooked with other items, like in fried rice, or used in baking, they are happily consumed.  To that extent, we are feast or famine around here on the egg supply.  Currently, we are in feast mode. 

Crème brulee is a favorite dessert in our house.  I don’t know why I don’t make it more often as it is quite easy to make and you can prepare them in advance.  Though this does not use up many eggs, some are better than none.

This made six 3 ounce servings.
2 cups heavy whipping cream
½ whole vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise, inside pulp scraped out
3 large egg yolks
¼ cup vanilla sugar, plus additional ¼ cups for finishing crust

Oven to 325f.  Heat the cream and vanilla bean and pulp in a medium sauce pan over medium high heat until boiling.  Remove from heat and remove the vanilla bean. 
Whisk egg yolks together with sugar until just beginning to lighten in color.
Carefully whisk the cream into the yolks a bit at a time to temper the yolks.  Then in a steady stream, pour the rest of the cream in stirring the mixture constantly.
Place 6 ramekins onto large baking pan.  Pour the mixture into the ramekins.  Place the baking pan into the oven.  Gently fill the pan with hot water, about half way up the sides of the ramekins.  You can do this before you place the pan in the oven, but I find it easier to lift and not splash the water into the ramekins doing it this way.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until the cream is set.  Remove from the oven.  Take the ramekins out of the water bath and allow to cool a bit.  Then place the ramekins into the refrigerator for at least two hours to chill and set.
When ready to serve, divide the other ¼ cup of sugar between the six ramekins, sprinkling each evenly.  Using a kitchen torch, or a welding torch like the one I have, brown the sugar on top.  Serve immediately.  

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