Saturday, November 18, 2006

Creme sans Brulee

I was trying to prepare my first meal for my parents as a married woman. Goodness knows the number of calamities they've witnessed during many of my culinary experiments growing up. But now that I'm married, I wanted to make them a meal that was just perfect. My mom loves dessert, especially anything custardy. Having found an entire creme brulee kit hidden in the deepest bowels of my husband's bachelor-day-kitchen-gadgets cupboard, it was but the natural choice for that particular evening. The original recipe said to torch sugar for the brulee an hour before actual serving, so as is habit, I saved that worry for when it was time. So I went about dilligently preparing the custard and so on, and when it was time to get ready for dessert, I thought I should first test the torch and for some reason it just wouldnt work, we tried lots of different things but just couldnt get the wretched thing to work-- so after struggling for about 15 mins, we accepted defeat and decided to read the manual (of course the last resort) and found that we actually needed fuel for the torch to light up-- Go figure :) ! So much for an all-inclusive creme brulee kit. We ended up having the custard without the crusty burnt sugar which turned out to be pretty delicious all the same.

Creme sans Brulee

2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

8 large egg yolks


Beat egg yolks and sugar until sugar is completely dissolved and egg yolks turn a paler yellow. Heat cream in a sauce pan for 5 minutes or until tiny bubbles form all around, avoid boiling, if you think you have boiled it let stand for a couple of minutes before proceeding. Add one tablespoon of the warm cream to the egg yolk mixture and mix until fully incorporated. Repeat process one tablespoon of cream at a time till all of the cream is used up. Add vanilla extract to this mixture (custard). Spoon this custard into oven proof ramekins. Place all ramekins in an oven proof pan (maybe even a cake pan would work). Pour boiling water into the oven proof pan till water reaches half the level of the ramekins, take care not to spill water into ramekins. Place the oven proof pan with ramekins into a 250 F preheated oven for about an hour. The custard is done if it is set around the edges and only a small portion in the middle jiggles. For darker top layer place the ovenproof pan closer to the top of the oven for maybe 3 minutes (watch carefully to prevent burning). Remove the pan from the oven, remove the ramekins and let sit at room temperature till cool. Wrap with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate till time to serve.

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