Daily Archives: 23 December 2011

French Fridays with Dorie: Crème Brulée

Crème brulée is one of my favorite desserts to order in a restaurant. It had never occurred to me that I could make it at home. Crème brulée was this week’s assignment for French Fridays with Dorie, and, so, the challenge was on.

I’d never made custard before. First, you heat the cream and milk. I chose to do this in the microwave, but lacking experience, I think I should have done it on top of the stove. I didn’t want the milk to boil over, but I wasn’t sure how long it would take. It was hard to see through the glass of the microwave, so I would have been better off just using a pot on the stovetop — much easier to watch.

Then, you whisk together egg yolks and sugar, and gradually add the hot milk until it’s all combined. My custard was overly foamy, even after a lot of rapping the container on the counter, so I skimmed off the layer of foam.

For a new twist on crème brulée, Dorie has you spread a spoonful of jam on the bottom of each dish. I had both raspberry and strawberry jams that I made this summer, so I made 3 with each flavor.

I didn’t have the exactly right-sized dishes for the crème brulée, but used what I had. None of my dishes were quite as wide as the 4 inches suggested, so my custards took longer to cook. Rather than spending an hour in a low oven, my custards needed more like 90 minutes to set. Then, after cooling, the crèmes spent the night in the refrigerator.

The final step, the bruléeing, called for family fun. For some reason, Howard had a butane torch in the basement, so I called on him to conduct the caramelization step. I don’t know whether I layered the sugar on too thick. Initially, the sugar flamed up like roasted marshmallows do, leaving little burnt spots on top. The sugar wasn’t really melting. We watched a couple of YouTube videos to see how it’s done. It worked better when he held the flame closer and moved the flame around faster.

Howard the Torcher

I have to let you in on a secret though. I’m actually the only one at our house that likes custard, so we only tried out one so far. This step will require more practice. The sugar wasn’t quite as crusty as I’ve had at restaurants, but there are 5 more dishes to try this on.

Overall, I liked my home-rendition of crème brulée. I liked the hint of fruit in the bottom of the dish. This would definitely be fun to serve to company, but no one was coming over before Friday. I’ll see if I can share some of the other 5 dishes in the fridge.

I’m looking forward to reading about what my fellow FFwD bloggers thought about this week’s recipe. Check out their links at French Fridays with Dorie. We don’t post the recipes, but consider getting your own copy of Dorie Greenspan’s book, Around My French Table.

Merry Christmas to all, and, to all, a good night!