Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Lemon Créme Brûlée

Lemon Créme Brûlée
My Superbowl potluck dish this year is not any type of wings, dip or chili.
I had purchased a kitchen torch a few months ago and have been itching to make créme brûlée.  When my friend decided to host a small Superbowl get together, I immediately said that I will take care of dessert.  The recipe called for 6 eggs yolks to 3 cups heavy cream.  I think the custard turned out a little loose.  I decided to up the egg yolk to heavy cream ratio.
The recipe that I had altered promised 6 servings, but serving size depends on the size of your ramekins.  I suggest filling your ramekins up with water and then pouring the water into a measuring cup to figure out how much custard you need to make. Instead of vanilla bean, I opted for a bright lemon flavor instead.  The amount of sugar was also cut down since I am not a fan of overly sweet desserts.

Lemon Créme Brûlée
(makes about 3 1/4 cup custard)
3 cups heavy cream
zest of 1 lemon
8 large egg yolks*
1/4 cup white sugar
pinch of salt
Turbinado sugar

kitchen torch
large baking dish
tea kettle
cooling rack

*Tip: Freeze the egg whites into individual ice cubes for future use.

Preheat oven to 325 Fahrenheit.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together egg yolks, white sugar and salt.
In a 1 quart pot, combine heavy cream and lemon zest.  Heat over medium flame until scalding hot but not boiling.
Baked custard filling
Whisk 1 tablespoon of the cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture.  Repeat 10 times.  This will help temper the egg yolks so that you don't end up with sweet scrambled eggs.  In a steady stream, whisk in the rest of the cream mixture.  Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve.
Boil water in a tea kettle.
Place the ramekins in the baking dish so that they lay flat.  Bake in separate batches if necessary.  I had to bake mine 3 ramekins at a time since I have a teeny tiny oven.
Ladle the custard into each ramekin.  Carefully place the baking dish in the oven.  With the tea kettle, fill the baking dish (not the ramekins) with enough water to cover the bottom half of the ramekins.  Be careful not to get any water into the ramekins.  This will create a water bath to ensure even baking.
Bake for 30-35 min.  The custard will be set.
Remove baking dish from oven.  Using tongs, place ramekins on cooling rack.  Once custard has cooled to room temperature, place ramekins in refrigerator.  Chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Right before serving, sprinkle turbinado sugar evenly over custard. Use the torch to melt and brown the sugar evenly.  If you do the brûlée part ahead of time and keep it in the fridge, the top will get soft and you won't get the satisfying crack when you first dig in.  
Top to bottom: Brûléed, brûléed, not brûléed


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