Sunday, July 6, 2008

More fun with eggs: Crème brûlée

After going crazy last week with the meringues and custard experimentation, I ended up with 5 bright yellow, free range, happy chicken, egg yolks in the fridge. I also had some heavy cream left over from the custard. Not wanting to waste the pretty (and expensive) egg yolks, I ponder for awhile what to do with them. Crème brûlée fit the bill exactly.

Well almost. The recipe called for 6 egg yolks. I really did not want to break another egg because then I'd have one left over white. And, I don't know about you, but I think egg white omelets are gross. I decided to live on the edge and attempt it with the 5 yolks and 2 cups of cream instead of 2 1/2 cups.

Crème brûlée is a perfect recipe: uncomplicated yet totally sophisticated. The earliest known printed recipe for it is in a French cookbook from 1691 by Francois Massialot, chef to the Duc d'Orleans who was the brother of the Sun King.

I used a recipe from Mark Bittmann. Something went slightly wrong in my execution because the cream and egg yolks didn't set up as firm as they were supposed to. I wonder if this had something to do with me only using 5 yolks. I would have bet on that, except I noticed that I had different results depending on which ramekins I used. My old Fire King ramekins didn't do as well as the newer ceramic ones.

My other issue was when I put the ramekins under the broiler to "burn" the sugar. I recall that the crème brûlées I've eaten in restaurants were a nice combination of cold, creamy custard and warm, browned, hardened sugar. It's a nice contrast of flavors, temperatures and textures. Well, putting the ramekins under the broiler to brown the sugar made the entire dish hot. Next time I will definitely use the kitchen blow torch that my brother and his wife gave me years ago. The little blow torch is the key to browning the top without heating the entire dessert.

I wounldn't have called this attempt in the kitchen a success except my friends did eat every last morsel and nearly licked the ramekins clean. What's not to love about vanilla flavored, sweetened cream enriched with egg yolk?

I plan to try this recipe again. If I get it right, I'll post the recipe.


Marsosudiro said...

"And, I don't know about you, but I think egg white omelets are gross."

Agree agree agree!

Speaking of ramekins, the writers on Frasier featured them in the dialogue at least twice.

Listing Straight said...

Yummm. This is one of our favorite desserts- in fact, what we had at our wedding instead of cake.

As we've made it ourselves over the last few years, one of the tricks we have learned is to pop them in the freezer for 4 - 5 minutes before you brulee- and yes, you need to use the blow torch.

Anonymous said...

Another plug for the blowtorch. And it's fun!

--Lisa S.