October 14, 2009

Creme Brulee


The following amounts make a big batch; I halved it when I made it. You can either make regular creme brulee with this recipe, or for black-bottomed creme brulee (with a yummy chocolate layer beneath it), follow the chocolate directions at the bottom first.

Regular Creme Brulee (do this second if making chocolate version):

1 quart cream
1 C sugar
1/2 - 1 whole vanilla bean
12 yolks
sugar in the raw

Preheat oven to 350.

Heat cream with sugar and scraped-out vanilla bean (both the bean and the contents). When it starts to boil (when it's heated through and the sugar is dissolved), turn it off. Remove vanilla bean.

Temper the hot cream mixture into the yolks: With yolks whisking, add cream a little at a time. Put mixture in fridge for half an hour to cool before pouring onto the chocolate if doing that version.

After it's cooled, or right away if not doing chocolate, put brulee dishes into a roasting pan (either empty dishes or already with chocolate in them if doing the version with chocolate below). Ladle mixture into brulee dishes. Dishes can be as full as you want, as it doesn't rise at all when it bakes. Cover pan almost all the way with foil, leaving a small opening. Set pan in oven, then pour water into the pan, around the dishes, till water level comes about halfway up the dishes. Seal the foil down. Poke a few holes in the foil with a paring knife.

Bake and begin checking them after about 15 minutes (mine took twice that, I think). They are done when they are set; jiggle the pan a bit or gently touch the brulee to check.

Let sit until cool before removing dishes from roasting pan. Just before serving, dust generously with sugar (preferably sugar in the raw) and shake off excess. Then torch them till bruleed.

Black-Bottomed Creme Brulee (do this first if making this version):
4 oz. semisweet chocolate
1/4 C cream

Chop chocolate.

Heat cream until it starts to boil, then pour it over chocolate. Let sit 30 seconds, then whisk until smooth.

Put a spoonful or two in the bottom of each brulee dish; put dishes in the fridge so the chocolate gets firm.

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