Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Creme Brulee (TWD)

I don't know of a single soul who doesn't swoon over creme brulee, do you? I was really happy that Mari of Mevrouw Cupcake selected this FABULOUS dessert for this week's Tuesdays With Dorie. To elaborate further, let me say that I was happy...my DH was really over-the-moon happy about this week's selection. You see, creme brulee is one of his all time favorite desserts, and he made sure that I didn't slack off this week.

For those of you who are debating the purchase of a kitchen torch, I would absolutely recommend it. I purchased this torch apparatus and canned butane at Surfas a couple years ago (cost of the torch attachment ~$20, butane ~$3). Honestly, I've never regretted this purchase, as I've definitely put this tool to good use. The torch attachment easily screws on the butane can, and this apparatus delivers a pretty powerful flame:

Anyways, I digress...back to the creme brulee. The literal translation of this is "burnt cream", and creme brulee is essentially a flavored custard topped with a hard caramel.

You can infuse a variety of flavors to the custard (vanilla, chocolate, coffee, chai ---just to name a few). Vanilla is my favorite flavor for this dessert. I prefer using vanilla beans in recipes that call for its flavor to come center stage, so I made one adjustment to the ingredients, omitting the vanilla extract and instead adding the beans and scraped pods of two vanilla beans to the heated cream. I covered the pot and let the cream and vanilla steep for 1 hour before continuing with the recipe.

Dorie Greenspan's technique is a bit different that what I'm used to doing in the following ways:

- baking at a low temperature (200F) for a longer time period (~ 1 hour). I bake at a temperature of 300F and a baking period of 20-25 minutes.
- no water bath --- you place the ramekins straight on a baking sheet. I typically use a water bath or place a well soaked towel underneath the ramekins before they go in the oven.

I was definitely interested in trying Dorie's technique, so I followed her approach. I found that this technique resulted with a really silky smooth and surprisingly light custard. I did find that my custards took longer to set (1 hr 15 min), but I used larger ramekins (only used 4 ramekins) which may be the explanation.

Overall, I was really pleased with the results! Although this requires a longer baking time, I'm definitely going to adopt this technique going forward...Thank you Dorie!!!

The perfect accompaniment to creme brulee - assorted berries (blackberries and raspberries pictured here):

My favorite part of eating creme brulee is the first spoonful --- cracking into the burnt sugar crust, giving way to a rich creamy custard:

The combination of crunchy and creamy is heavenly! Here, you can see the vanilla beans distributed throughout the custard:

What a gratifying recipe selection this week...Thank you Mari! If you'd like the recipe, you can find it at Mari's lovely site. To see how all my fellow TWD bakers fared check out the blogroll.

35 comments:

Marthe said...

Your Crème Brûlée looks delicious with the vanilla specks!! I used star anise and white chocolate in mine.

Lori said...

swooning over your custard flecked with vanilla beans....your photos are really gorgeous!

The Food Librarian said...

Yum! Yum! Yum!
The vanilla looks so yummy (I used vanilla paste), and those raspberries are a perfect companion!

chocolatechic said...

Mine took about an hour and a half to bake too.

Yours look lovely.

steph- whisk/spoon said...

you have the most gorgeous photos--i can almost taste that creamy brulee! and i think i have torch envy--yours makes mine look very weany.

The DeL Sisters said...

That truly looks amazing!

noskos said...

Love your pictures. I should have used a vanilla bean too, missed the little specks in my brulees...

Isabelle said...

avec des fruits rouges, c'est extra !
superbes photos :)

SiHaN said...

look at those vanilla bean seeds in there. lovely!!! and you went with the fresh berries on the side option! my gosh.. extremely pretty.. must taste even better!

Steph said...

Fabulous pictures!!! The last two were amazing! I wish I was able to get that nice sugar crust on mine.

vibi said...

I'm in total awe of ALL your pictures!
It is just as if I was there! The choice of berries, background and angles are to die for!
PERFECTION! ...no other word can suit them... and the crème brûlée!

Molly Loves Paris said...

Wow! your creme brulee looks fabulous.

Mary Jo said...

i used vanilla beans too :) your pictures are absolutely beautiful!

Rachel said...

Your photos are gorgeous--as usual! I sat this week out because I don't have a torch, but I may take your advice and get one so that I can use it if (ok when) I get around to making this recipe.

Engineer Baker said...

Wow, that first spoonful - food porn. Fabulous job, they look amazing.

CB said...

I want your torch. Mine is one of those that you refill but yours looks easier. Just snap it on the can and you're ready to go! Glad you and the hubs liked the recipe!
Clara @ iheartfood4thought

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

Yummm, your pix are mouthwatering! Berries go so nicely with crème brûlée!

pinkstripes said...

Your pictures look so good, it makes me sad b/c I ate the last of the creme brulee last night. :(

I like the idea of chai creme brulee. Maybe I will make some. :)

Anne said...

Wow, stunning photos and perfect creme brulee! Nice job!

Tracey said...

I think your photos are the best ones I've seen today! So gorgeous!

Carol Peterman said...

Beautiful crème brulee! Nothing is better than vanilla bean in custard.

Jaime said...

wow those vanilla beans are beautiful! i wish i had berries to enjoy w/mine like you did :)

n.o.e said...

mmmm, delicious with those luscious berries. The vanilla seeds are too cute in there.
Nancy

Liz said...

Your pictures are absolutely gorgeous! I especially love the one with the cracked sugar shell and vanilla bean seeds visible. Lovely job.

Rigby said...

Your brulee looks wonderful! I love that you used vanilla bean!

kim said...

wonderful job on the creme brulee!! beautiful pics, i am loving that crust and the berries!

Ivy said...

Oh my! this is my favorite!
The last pic is the best! :)

Nate-n-Annie said...

Oh the second-to-last pic is killing me! I can almost hear the crackle of the caramel as you break through.

So, that creme brulee torch is a special one, made only for the butane cans? You can't just adapt a normal creme brulee torch for the cans? Is it really more powerful than the normal torches?

Lynnylu said...

Gorgeous with the berries. The torch accessory and butane can looks easier than buying one that has to be filled.

Audrey said...

Linda, thanks for visiting! I love your blog title, and your creme brulee looks wonderful. And I snuck a peek back at your scones...they're gorgeous. And pear and gruyere is a great idea! :)
Audrey

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

I love that picture of the sugar cracked and looking into the bowl. I'm going to use a vanilla bean next time too!

LyB said...

That is lovely, just lovely! It is gratifying to use a little sugar and a little heat and end up with something so impressive. :)

Jules Someone said...

That looks amazing! Nice work!

Kim said...

Wonderful Creme Brulee! I just told my daughters that I want a torch for Christmas. Beautiful photos.

Banjo said...

Wow, that looks beautiful.. and just how I love Creme Brulee. Light and creamy. :)

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