Wednesday, February 20, 2008

crème brûlée.

4 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean split in half lengthwise
8 egg yolks
1 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup of superfine sugar

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Place cream and vanilla bean in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and bring just to a boil. Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks, granulated sugar, and salt in a large bowl. When the cream is hot remove the vanilla bean and set aside. Slowly whisk 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the hot cream into the egg yolk mixture to temper it, or bring it up to the same temperature. Whisk in the remaining cream, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Scrape the seeds from the inside of the vanilla bean into the custard (discard the bean), mix gently, and skim any foam from the surface.

Divide the custard among six 8-ounce ramekins. Set the ramekins in a shallow roasting pan, and fill the pan with enough hot water to reach about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Carefully set the pan in the oven and bake just until set, about 1 hour. To tell if the custards are set, gently shake one; if it moves as one mass, it is done. Remove the ramekins from the water bath. Let cool until tepid, then refrigerate until well chilled, about 4 hours (overnight is even better if you have the time).

To serve sprinkle each cup with a heaping tablespoon of superfine sugar. Using a propane torch (or the broiler), carmelize the sugar. Serve immediately.

* Superfine sugar may be purchased at the store or made by processing regular sugar in a food processor for several seconds. Superfine sugar incorporates into other ingredients more quickly than regular granulated sugar.

recipe via Capriel's Bistro Style Cuisine.
photo via Carrie Russell.

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