Someone asked about creme brulee? This recipe came out of the Williams Sonoma catalog–a GREAT place for recipes by the way!–and I have made it numerous times with good results. It will not, however, help you in the zipping up chaps/sliding into boots department…
I went to cooking school this year, much to my husband’s delight. I’ll try to rustle up some other easy recipes…
2 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup plus 8 tsp white sugar (8 tsps are for sprinkling on top for crust)
4 egg yolks
1tsp vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean-sliced lengthwise to expose the center
1)Preheat oven to 300 degrees and start a pot or teakettle of boiling water (teakettle is easier because you have to pour the water later on)
2)In a saucepan over medium heat, combine cream, 1/4 cup of sugar and vanilla bean.
3)Cook, stirring until steam starts to rise from the surface (about 5 minutes)?DO NOT LET IT BOIL.
4)Remove from heat and let stand for 10-15 minutes.
5)In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks and vanilla extract until blended.
6)Set fine mesh sieve/strainer over another bowl and strain cream to catch any of the ?milk skin? if there is some. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean casing into the cream for more vanilla flavor.
7)Pour cream into the egg yolk mixture a little at a time stirring constantly until smooth. You do NOT want to let the yolks curdle, so go slow.
8)Divide mixture among four 6-ounce ramekins.
9)Line a 3 inch deep baking pan with a kitchen towel and place the ramekins into the pan so that they are not touching.
10)Pour boiling water into the pan so that it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins (this is called a water bath).
11)Cover the whole pan loosely with foil and bake until set. PLEASE NOTE: THE RECIPE SAYS THIS PART SHOULD TAKE 30-35 MINUTES, BUT I HAVE MADE THIS THREE TIMES AND IT ALWAYS TAKES MUCH LONGER?ALMOST AN HOUR! I?VE BEEN RELUCTANT TO INCREASE THE HEAT NOT KNOWING IF IT WOULD GET FLAN-LIKE OR SOMETHING. THE KEY IS THAT THE MIXTURE SHOULDN?T LOOK TOO LIQUIDY WHEN YOU SHAKE IT.
12)Remove ramekins from the pan and let them cool to room temperature before refrigerating for 2-3 hours.
13)Sprinkle the tops evenly with a coating of white sugar and use a kitchen torch to quickly caramelize the tops to form the crust. ANOTHER HINT: EXPERIMENT WITH THIS PART. JUST PUT THE SUGAR ON ONE AT A TIME TO PRACTICE SO THAT YOU KNOW HOW MUCH SUGAR YOU NEED TO GET THE CRUST YOU ARE AIMING FOR. ALSO, YOU CAN GET A GOOD PROPANE TORCH AT A HARDWARE STORE INSTEAD OF THE WILLIAM-SONOMA TORCH IF YOU PREFER. THE TRICK IS TO NOT HOLD THE FLAME IN ONE SPOT FOR TOO LONG OR THE SUGAR BURNS? I have done this for a dinner party with friends and it can be entertaining to let each person torch their own–especially after a couple of bottles of wine! But you can use your own discretion–you know your friends!!
For some reason my punctuation marks turned to question marks when I copied this over in Word. Let me know if you have a question!!!
[This message was edited by CWP on Jan. 09, 2001 at 12:37 PM.]