Saturday, April 7, 2012

Crème Brûlée

It is Easter at the moment, so I hope that you guys have all been having lots of yummy food. I know that I have been.

The post today has actually be inspired by my friend's fail version of crème brûlée. It didn't turn out very well. Hopefully the one that I am posting up will turn out like it should be. Yea, hers sort of leaked all over the place :S

For those of you who don't know what crème brûlée is, it is a French dessert that roughly translates to burnt cream in English. It is usually a later of thivk custard topped with another layer of hard caramel on top.

The exact origins of the dish is unknown however the earliest known reference of crème brûlée as we know it today appears in François Massialot's 1691 cookbook,and the French name was used in the English translation of this book, but the 1731 edition of Massialot's Cuisinier roial et bourgeois changed the name of the same recipe from "crème brûlée" to "crème anglaise".In the early eighteenth century, the dessert was called "burnt cream" in English.

In Britain, a version of crème brûlée (known locally as 'Trinity Cream' or 'Cambridge burnt cream') was introduced at Trinity College, Cambridge in 1879 with the college arms "impressed on top of the cream with a branding iron",[5] The story goes that the recipe was from an Aberdeenshire country house and was offered by an undergraduate to the college cook, who turned it down. However, when the student became a Fellow, he managed to convince the cook. That is pretty much the history behind the dish.

Crème brûlée is usually served in individual ramekins. Discs of caramel may be prepared separately and put on top just before serving, or the caramel may be formed directly on top of the custard, immediately before serving. To do this, sugar is sprinkled onto the custard, then caramelized under a broiler/salamander, with a butane torch (or similar), or by flambéing a hard liquor on it.

Enough with all the extra details, I think it is about time that I moved on to the recipe.

6 extra large egg yolks
375 ml thickened cream
1 vanilla pod or extract (a few drops)
80 g sugar
6 tbsp soft, brown sugar
6 ramekin or souffle dishes

1. Place the cream and vanilla pods with seeds into a pan and bring to the boil
2. Whisk the eggs and sugar until the mixture is creamy and white
3. Strain the cream straight onto the egg and sugar and mix well.
4. Allow to cool slightly and for the bubbles to subside and transfer into a jug. Fill the dishes to only three quarters full
5. Place in an oven tray and pour in boiling water to reach up to about halfway on the outside of the dishes. Then place in a pre-heated oven of 130°C
6. Cook for about 30 minutes or until the custards have only just set. If the custards are colouring too quickly or bubbling, turn the oven down immediately
7. Remove from oven and take them out of water. Then place them on a cold tray
8. Allow to cool and refrigerate for anything up to a day. An hour or so before you are going to serve them spread half a tablespoon of soft, brown sugar (with no lumps) on top of each and clean away from the edges of the dishes using your thumb
9. Place on a tray under a moderate grill and watch all the time to ensure the sugar doesn’t burn. After about 3 minutes you will see the sugar start to change colour and slightly caramelise
10. Allow to cool slightly and then pop into the fridge until you are ready to serve them. Add fresh fruit or cream/ice cream to serve with crème brûlée if you wish.

And there you have it. an easy dessert that you can make to please guests, or even as a treat for a hard day at work. Hopefully you will all have a better result than my friend. Enjoy the rest of Easter, and I will post again soon.

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