Don’t go running to build yourself and the cat an ark and don’t fall on your knees asking for forgiveness. If you feel the need to do either on impulse after reading my headline, perhaps you need to adjust your lifestyle somewhat. I’ll leave that up to you to decide. No, when I say “It’s Judgement Day” I am not predicting the end of days or anything awful like that. I am referring to my Creme Brûlée.
They say that one can judge the quality of a restaurant by its Creme Brûlée. So I feel it’s time I laid my soul bare and asked you to pass judgment on my best effort at the classic dish. There is not a lot to doing this and I wonder how so many restaurants manage to get it so badly wrong. I am adding to my complication by using lactose free cream to suit the two lactards (one who is lactose intolerant) in our house.
- Half a litre of cream (Lactose free if encumbered by lactards.)
- Half a dozen eggs (Yolks only, I guess meringues are also on the menu.)
- 140 grammes of vanilla sugar (If you are organised enough to have made some.)*
- 1 quality vanilla pod (Don’t buy cheap ones, spend the money!)
*Vanilla sugar is simply a jar of sugar with a vanilla pod in. Do this a few days or weeks in advance and you will get beautifully aromatic sugar.
The instructions could not be much easier. Firstly, separate the eggs and add the sugar to the yolks. This calls for a pouring shot.
Next, split a vanilla pod lengthways and extract the seeds on the side of a knife blade. This is the most aromatic thing one can do, if it is possible to ‘do’ aromatics.
Add the seeds and the chopped up vanilla pod to the cream in a saucepan. Bring this to a gentle boil.
While that’s going on, beat the egg and sugar mixture until mixed nicely. It will look like this;
When you have them beaten, beat them again, only stopping when you have transformed them into a much lighter colour and much smoother mix, something along these lines;
Pour in the just simmering cream, beating as you go.
Transfer this, through a sieve, to a large jug and pour into six ramekin dishes.
Pop these into a Bain Marie (water bath) and put them into a 160° C oven for 35 to 40 minutes.
Take them out and let them cool. Refrigerate them for a couple of hours minimum (A day or two if you need to.). Next, sprinkle them with some more of the sugar and take the blow torch to them, being careful not to over burn the sugar.
Let the sugar set (a couple of minutes. Then serve and take the praise. I was very happy with the outcome and we were left wondering how so many restaurants make such a mess of this easy and delicious classic desert.
Share your thoughts please. Do we get judged as a Creme Brûlée success? Or, do I go and start on the ark?