Crème Brûlée is probably my favorite dessert and it’s easier to make than most people think. With just a few simple techniques you have a fabulous dessert.
The most common Crème Brûlée is Vanilla Bean but I’ve been to nice restaurants that do different flavors. What I love about Crème Brûlée is the smooth creamy texture of the baked custard and a crunchy caramelized top, but adding flavors can change the texture and cause the custard not to set creamy and smooth. I’ve found a great way to add flavor and keep the classic Crème Brûlée texture.
Pure freeze dried fruit powders can be added to the recipe to create a wonderful fresh fruit flavor. I’ve seen these powders used for different recipes on the Australian cooking show, Masterchef Australia. So, I went on a search of where to buy these fruit powders. You can get them from the Scenic Fruit Company. They were kind enough to send me samples to try in all my recipes so this is just the first of many to come. Along with the great flavors they add, there are health benefits to adding these to your diet.
You will also need: 8 (5 ounce) oval Crème Brûlée dishes or small ramekins, a small kitchen torch, heavy bottom saucepan, metal mixing bowl, fine sieve or strainer, wire whisk, aluminum foil, a large baking dish to place the ramekins in for baking, dish towel to line the baking dish with.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Lay the vanilla bean on a flat surface and cut in half lengthwise to expose the soft interior. Use a sharp knife and scrape the insides.
Heat the heavy cream, milk, vanilla seeds and pod, and freeze dried fruit powder in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Get it hot but not boiling. My kitchen thermometer reads about 130 degrees F. Stir often and keep the heat low enough not to scorch the bottom. Remove the pan from the heat.
Place the egg yolks and sugar in a heatproof mixing bowl and using the wire whisk beat until pale yellow in color and all of the sugar has dissolved.
Using a ladle temper, by adding about 1/2 cup of the cream mixture into the egg mixture very slowly and whisk vigorously to incorporate well. Slowly, whisk this tempered mixture to the remaining cream mixture in the pan and whisk vigorously to incorporate.
Strain the combined Crème Brûlée base through a fine mesh sieve back into the bowl you mixed your eggs and sugar in.
Pour the custard into 8 (5-ounce) oval Crème Brûlée ramekins or gratin dishes, and place the dishes in a baking dish or roasting pan that is lined with a tea towel.
Pour enough hot water into the pan to come up half-way on the sides of the ramekins. This is commonly called a hot-water bath or bain-marie.
One way to prepare a water bath is to put your filled ramekins into the lined pan, place the pan into the oven, and add enough hot water to reach halfway up the the sides of the ramekins.
Place the pan in the oven on the middle rack to bake. Cover the pan with aluminum foil.
Bake, covered, 25 to 30 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between center and edge of custard comes out clean. Another way to test for doneness, jiggle the pan slightly to see if the custard is set. This method works better when using the flatter creme brulee dishes. When done remove from the oven.
Immediately, remove from the water bath to a wire rack to stop the cooking and let cool to room temperature. Cover; refrigerate 3 to 4 hours or until chilled.
Once the Crème Brûlée has cooled, evenly spread 1 tablespoon of sugar thinly over each ramekin and using a blowtorch, caramelize the sugar to form a candy coating. Be sure to keep the blowtorch moving in a circular motion to prevent the sugar from burning. Once the sugar has cooled and is hard like candy, top with fresh fruit if you like and serve.
Yield: 8 servings, Recipe by: Sharon E. Russell
It is more accurate to weigh the fruit powder since it is such a fine powder and harder to use a measuring spoon to accurately get the right amount. One Tablespoon of fruit powder is approximately 6 grams. If you don’t have a scale, just add a tablespoon at a time to your combined mixture and taste for the amount of flavor you want.