When the weekend rolls around I have some expectations. I want to have slow, relaxed mornings, with plenty of time for two, or maybe three cups of coffee. There might be waffles. And, after that I may want to curl up in my favorite quilt with a good magazine and not move for several hours.
That’s when the problems start. I’m not good at not moving. And, if I have a magazine in my hands it’s usually got something to do with food which makes my yellow chair seem inhibiting and my kitchen irresistible. Meaning that my relaxing Saturday with no where to go turns into a spontaneous run to the store for heavy cream and an afternoon of tempering custard and blow-torching sugar. Hey, it’s called the weekend, it’s called flexibility.
This creme brulee is worth getting off the couch for.
I learned something new. I learned that contrary to what I had always been told, a baked custard should be placed in a cold water bath rather than a hot one. The cold water allows the custard to cook verrrry...slooooowly...resulting in a custard that is so smooth and creamy you want to spend every day of the rest of your life giving ramekins of custard cold water baths. Or something like that.
I get very excited about breaking out my blow torch. And, while we’re on the subject, please don’t go to the kitchen store and buy one of those wimpy painted-to-match-your-kitchen torches. Head on down to the hardware store and get the real deal. Not only will it save you a couple of bucks, but it will also gain you some major points with the men in your life. Respect.
There’s no argument, the best part of creme brulee is smashing through that caramelized sugar top.
Maybe you’re planning on spending your weekend doing nothing. That’s cool, but, if I were you I’d be running out for some heavy cream.
Bourbon Caramel Creme Brulee
makes 8 / recipe adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine
- quart heavy whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3 tablespoons bourbon
- 6 large egg yolks, room temperature
- 3/4 cup + 4 tablespoons granulated sugar (plus extra for bruleeing)
- pinch of kosher salt
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
In a medium saucepan, bring cream, bourbon and vanilla heat over medium heat. When the mixture reaches a boil remove from heat and reserve.
In a separate saucepan, bring 3/4 cup sugar plus 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons water to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir to dissolve sugar. When the mixture reaches a boil stop stirring and swirl the pan occasionally. After about 5 minutes the mixture will reach a deep amber color; remove from heat and slowly add cream to the caramel mixture. The mixture will bubble furiously. Return the pan to the burner and heat over medium heat, stirring often for about 2 minutes or until the mixture is smooth.
In a separate bowl ,whisk egg yolks, salt and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar until the yolks just begin to lighten in color. While continuing to whisk, slowly stream in cream and caramel mixture.
Divide the custard among eight, 6 ounce ramekins. Line the bottom of a large roasting pan with a tea towel and place ramekins in the pan. Fill the pan with enough cold water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake custards in the water bath for 60-70 minutes. Until the center of the custard is still wobbly in the center. Let cool to room temperature before chilling, uncovered, for 2-3 hours.
When the custards have finished chilling sprinkle the tops with about 1/2 tablespoon of sugar each. Using a propane torch*, carefully brulee the tops of each custard. Allow the sugar to set for 2-4 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
*If you do not have a propane torch you can prepare the custards same as above and transfer them to your oven on the broiler setting for 2-3 minutes.