Bonjour! Today we’re making Crème brûlée in honor of one of my favorites, Julia Child! A few years ago my brother made the claim that you can judge whether a restaurant is good or not by its Creme brulee. I don’t know if there is any truth to that, but ever since he said it I’ve felt the need to order it every time I see it on a menu. I consider it my duty as a restaurant patron to know whether it passes the test…or maybe it’s just a good excuse to order dessert!
I’ve made the Julia Child recipe and the Ina Garten recipe, but in typical fashion I like to find the easiest route possible and since this isn’t a cooking blog I’m guessing you won’t crucify me for a few shortcuts. So what I have here is the easiest version that I could come up with, and I have to say, it’s pretty good!
Here’s what you need:
- 2 cups of Heavy Cream
- 3 egg yolks
- Pinch of salt (Google says that is 1/16 tsp)
- 1 tsp of vanilla (if you want to be fancy you can use 1/2 vanilla bean instead)
- 1/4 cup of sugar plus 8-12 tsp of sugar for the top
- Creme brulee torch
First things first, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Next you’ll pour the cream and vanilla into a saucepan. Heat on medium-low until the liquid bubbles around the edges and steam rises from the pan. Remove from the heat and let sit for 15 minutes.
While you’re waiting, whisk the egg yolks, salt, and 1/4 cup of sugar in a large bowl. Whisk for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture is pale yellow and the liquid falls from the whisk like a thick ribbon.
Slowly pour the cream into the large bowl and stir until blended. If you have a fine-mesh sieve you can set it over the bowl to pour it in. If you don’t, don’t worry, the recipe will still turn out just fine.
Set the mixture aside, and start boiling a pot of water.
While it’s boiling, fill the ramekins with the mixture.
*Now for the tricky part.* Place the ramekins on a baking pan and carefully pour the boiling water into the pan. You want to make sure you pour enough water so that it rises halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Transfer the baking tray into the oven, but go slow! It’s easy to spill the water all over the place.
Bake for 30-35 minutes. When they are ready, pull out and place on a wire rack to cool. Ideally you want to put the cooled ramekins in the fridge for at least 4 hours. If you don’t have that much time, just try to chill them as long as possible before making the topping.
And that brings me to my favorite part!
Use about 2-3 tsp of granulated sugar for each 3 inch in diameter ramekin. Hold the flame close to the sugar and move in small circles over the surface. The sugar should bubble and begin to caramelize into a delicious sugary ice skating rink on top of the creme custard.
And now, after all of that meticulous french baking, you finally get to enjoy it! I think the first crack of the sugar is the best, so if you’re sharing make sure to call dibs on the first bite!
In the words of Julia Child, Bon appétit!
*I’ve made creme brulee a couple of times, but I always feel as though it doesn’t turn out as good as restaurants because of the cooking torch I have. If you have any recommendations on a good one, I’d love to hear it!