Sunday, December 19, 2004


Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee

I am just giddy today! First of all, it is an absolutly BEAUTIFUL day, and I just got back from the ever-inspiring Hollywood Farmers Market (which is just as lovely in the winter, if less populated), but also because some of my dear friends and readers nominated this site for an award at Accidental Hedonist! I am SO touched. What a sweet thing to have done! I certainly have no chance of winning against darling Clotilde at Chocolate & Zucchini, so I am just excited more people will know about my little site and hopefully will check back often. AND NOW...for today's exciting recipe...CREME BRULEE! If you want to "brulee" with a fancy torch, try this one! Enjoy!

4 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
8 large egg yolks
½ cup white sugar (or, better yet, vanilla sugar)
¾ cup light brown sugar (or sanding sugar)

In a small pan, heat the cream with the vanilla bean over medium heat. Remove from the heat (and if you have time, let the bean steep in the cream for up to an hour. At this point you can also add flavored tea, citrus peel or minced ginger for additional flavor. Reheat the cream before using if you allowed it to steep.)

Preheat your oven to 300 F, with the rack in the center.

Place eight 6-oz. ramekins in a roasting pan (one with sides, not a cookie sheet) and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk the yolks until just blended. Slowly whisk in the white sugar. Remove the vanilla pod from the cream and scrape the seeds (using a paring knife works best) back into the cream. Slowly beat the hot cream into the eggs, whisking all the time. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a large measuring cup, then pour into the ramekins. (That are set in the roasting pan.)

Place the roasting pan on the center rack of the oven, then pour enough hot water to reach half way up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until just set, about 30 minutes. When done, remove the ramekins from the water and place on a wire rack to cool. Refrigerate until cold. At least three hours.

Before serving coat each custard with a thin layer of brown (or sanding) sugar. Place under the broiler or use a small blowtorch to melt the sugar. Serve immediately.

Serves eight.

Creme Brulee is French for Burnt Cream

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