Creme Brulee is one of those old school desserts that, when made right is beyond awesome. But up until last night I hadn’t had a chance to make them in a few years and if you don’t know what you’re doing they can be a slight pan in the ass. But really, its a very simple concept. It’s egg yolks, heavy cream, sugar and vanilla cooked in to whats called a custard. Its the holidays and I was looking for an excuse to use spiced rum, plus I’ve made standard brulees a thousand times and I really needed to play.
See kids, this is the point. You learn the basics so that you’re able to play around and create your own magic.
Mise En Place.
- Large mixing bowl
- Med size pot
- Fine Mesh Strainer
- Brulee dishes (relax, see the notes below)
- 9x13x2 cake pan
- 1 qt heavy cream
- 7 yolks
- 1 cup of sugar
- Vanilla (see notes)
- 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2-3 cloves
- 1-2 ounces of dark spiced rum
- Crack lighter (high heat lighter with a jet flame, see notes)
- More sugar
MOP (Method of preparation)
The first thing you need to do is SLOWLY heat the heavy cream with the sugar and spices. DO NOT BURN IT. You want the temp to get just hot enough to be able to put on your wrist, like you would do with a baby bottle (something I have no experience with thank God). Add the pumpkin and the rum and let everything have a chance to develop but keep the heat low so you don’t burn it.
Take your egg yolks and whisk the hell out of them, then whisk em some more. This is one of the big reasons my brulees have always turned out so good. I whisk the yolks til they double or triple in size and go from bright yellow to pale yellow and this helps the Brulee hold better but still have a light texture.
Cool the cream mix and strain it. You need to make sure that its at room temp or it will cook the egg yolks you just whisked. You don’t want that to happen. Once it’s cools down, slowly add it to the egg yolks while continuing to whisk it. Pour the mix into the Brulee dishes and heat your oven to 325 and get a pot of water boiling.
We are going to do whats called a “water bath” method. I’ll explain it in depth in another post but for now just know that its a method of baking that surrounds the dish with water and you also use this method for baking cheese cake.
So you fill the dishes with the mix and place them in your cake pan which should be 2 inches high. Then you add the boiling water to the pan, making sure you don’t get any in the Brulee mix. Then you bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes.
Knowing when they are done can be a bit tricky the first time so I recommend you make a double batch the first time you do these so that if you screw up, you can wash the dishes and re-bake. You want the tops to be super light brown and have a little giggle to them but not super runny. Pull them out of the oven and out of the water. Place in the fridge for about an hour and let them set.
When you pull them out they should be fully set, dust the tops with sugar then melt it with the crack lighter. Please read the notes below.
Notes: As far as Brulee dishes are concerned, you don’t have to go buy specialty dishes, you just need some type of small ceramic dishes that can be baked.
As far as the “Crack Lighter”, I’m talking about the high heat butane lighters that have a blue jet flame. You can find them at any gas station and they are cheaper then buying a Kitchen torch unless you’re into that, in which case you are reading the right site.
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