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Cracking Through Crème Brûlée: A Simple Recipe

Ari has been on a mission to learn to bake more fun, complicated and beautiful desserts.

I've wasted 31 years of my precious life before trying the best dessert I've ever had! Have you ever had a dessert where you had to break through a shell of pure sugar to get to a creamy inside? A dessert that when done perfectly right is rich and silky, but when done wrong is a chunky eggy mess. Crème brûlée takes patience and practice but is well worth it.

If you read my My Journey With the French Macaron article, you know that I have just started baking, and I am no cook. (I tried to make dinner for my husband tonight and ended up with soft, slippery pork chops instead of crispy, fried pork chops.) This was the first "fancy" dessert that I decided to try my hands at. I wanted to be able to make something that they always make on things like Top Chef and Master Chef. And after trying this dessert, it was something I had to have.

If you follow to simple directions below, your vanilla crème brûlée should look something like this.

If you follow to simple directions below, your vanilla crème brûlée should look something like this.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ramekins
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided (1 tablespoon for each ramekin)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. At this point, I also like to get 2 cups of water into a saucepan and put on low-medium heat. (This is going to be used to put in an 8 x 8 pan when the crème brûlée is placed in the oven.)
  2. Stir together the milk and heavy cream. Bring to boil and pay attention, because you're going to want to remove this off the stove as soon as it boils or it will overflow!
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until completely combined. Stir in vanilla extract.
  4. This is when patience is important. You are going to combine the cream and milk mixture to the egg mixture. If you do this too fast, your eggs will curdle. You want to temper the eggs slowly by adding the hot mixture only a little at a time. I take a ladle to add mine one scoop at a time, continuously mixing.
  5. Once it is all combined, place the ramekins in an 8 x 8 baking pan and slowly pour the hot water on the stove around those ramekins. Be careful not to get any water inside the ramekins! Then pour the mixture into the ramekins and place into the oven—once again, making sure to not splash the water.
  6. Bake for 30–35 minutes. The mixture should only jiggle slightly when ready.
  7. Place into oven and let chill for at least 3 hours.

Let's Hear That Sugar Crack

Once your crème brûlée is completely cool and ready to be served, pour 1 tablespoon of sugar evenly over each of your ramekins. (The more sugar you use, the thicker your top will be, so use to taste).

Use a kitchen torch to torch the sugar topping. Once it starts to turn a golden brown, which won't take long, it is ready to serve! You should have what looks like a sheet of ice on top that makes a nice crack sound when you tap your spoon on it.

Here's a look at my chocolate crème brûlée.

Here's a look at my chocolate crème brûlée.

Unlike the French macaron, this chocolate crème brûlée one only took me two tries to get right. The first time I forgot a whole ingredient and ended up with some weird spongey cake mess. But after I baked my first batch right, I decided to try various flavors. So far, I have made vanilla, butterscotch, chocolate, and lemon.

© 2018 Ari Palumbo