In our family we have a tradition of celebrating birthdays with a special meal - the guest of honor picks all their favorite foods, including dessert. Now that our oldest is engaged, I thought it was appropriate to include our future daughter in law in this tradition. When asked, she didn't hesitate listing the items she wanted for her special dinner. Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Black Cherry and Raspberry Reduction, dinner rolls, and her childhood favorite green bean casserole. Oh, and for dessert - Creme Brulee. I love Creme Brulee so I was happy she asked for it. Yes, it's rich and super high in calories, but it's so delicious I don't mind splurging every now and then.
Note: If you're like me and prefer your creme brulee to be comprised of a crunchy caramelized top layer sitting on top of a COLD creamy custard, be sure to use deep ramekins (shallow ramekins allow the custard to warm too much during the torching process).
Mmmmmmmmmmm... please excuse me while I devour every luscious bite.
Classic Creme Brulee
makes six 8-ounce servings
4 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split (*or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)
1/2 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
Preheat oven to 325F.
In a medium sauce pan, heat the cream and vanilla bean* until the mix simmers.
Remove pan from heat and let sit for 10 minutes.
In a bowl whisk together the sugar and yolks until they are a pale yellow.
Whisk cream into the egg mixture and pour into 6 custard dishes. *If using vanilla extract, whisk it into the egg and sugar mixture (don't heat it with the cream).
Place 8-ounce ramekins or custard dishes in a large baking dish lined with a towel.
Pour boiling water into baking dish so the level of water reaches half way up the ramekins.
Bake for 30 minutes or until custard is firm but still wiggles.
Chill for at least one hour.
Top with an even layer of Turbinado sugar and use a kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar. Alternately, you can caramelize the sugar under a broiler, being careful to not allow the cold custard to warm too much.
Pure vanilla extract may be used instead of splitting a vanilla bean, but the vanilla bean gives a much better flavor.