May daughter was impressed with homemade stove-top vanilla custard and we've been looking through various recipes lately. She decided that she really wanted me to make us all crèmes brûlées as a treat, and using this as justification to buy a mini blowtorch, I said "Sure thing!"
The torch was a bit of an odyssey in itself. I didn't read the box carefully enough, so I didn't realize that the butane canister was sold separately. Naturally, by the time I had made this discovery, I was already in my flannel lounging-around-home clothes and was in no mood to get dressed again and haul us all back out into the pouring rain. I did eventually, though, and then was faced with figuring out how exactly to fill the torch; long story short: I filled it, it worked, it was delicious, and everyone was happy, The End.
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 vanilla bean
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 yolks
- turbinado sugar (Sugar in the Raw is one brand)
- Preheat the oven to 325.
- Place the cream in a heavy saucepan. Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Place the seeds and the bean into the cream and scald over medium-high heat until it almost boils. Remove from heat and let steep 15 minutes.
- Beat the 1/4 cup sugar with 3 eggs yolks until light yellow and smooth.
- Place a fine-meshed strainer over the egg-sugar mixture and carefully strain a bit of the warmed cream mixture to the eggs, whisking constantly. Gradually pour in the rest of the cream mixture, stirring well.
- Divide the mixture between four 4 oz. ramekins.* Place the ramekins into roasting dishes or even cake pans and pour hot water (near-boiling) into the pans about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
- Bake in a preheated oven until the custard has set, but still jiggles slightly in the center, about 40 minutes.
- Remove and immediately cool on wire racks until cool. You can refrigerate them if you like.
- When you are ready to serve them, check that the tops of the custards are dry. You can blot them with a paper towel to get rid of any condensation. Then coat the tops of the custards with turbinado sugar and, using your handy-dandy mini blowtorch (see right), to melt the sugar until it turns browns and hardens into a lovely caramelized crust.
This video gives a good demonstration of how to do it:
- Then I'd say serve immediately :)
- This was my first time with the brûlée aspect; I've made this type of custard cooked in a water bath before, but my first time with a blow torch. After looking at the video (which I only saw today for the first time) I think perhaps I'll scorch the sugar more next time. I was wary of turning the sugar into an inedible, burnt-solid black mass. Don't get me wrong, even lightly-torched, it still was an amazing dessert.
- * Yeah, this recipe made way more than could be filled into four 4 oz. ramekins, but then I did not fill them all the way to the top because I was afraid that they may flow over. I had enough left over for about 2 more 4 oz. ramekins (I filled two 8 oz. ramekins halfway), so I'm not sure exactly what's going on there. I am always very careful about my measurements - "Measure twice, dump once" is my motto - lol So, just be aware that you may need an extra ramekin hanging about just in case.