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Jan 22, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘Crème Brûlée’

Baked: Coffee Creme Brulee

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014



This is an elegant and unbelievably easy dessert for any dinner party. It seems like you spent hours perfecting it, when in fact it’s quick and simple. You can even let your guests torch or “brulee” the sugar on top just before serving.

I’ve made creme brulee countless times, and this time I added espresso powder. The result was a lovely coffee flavor that wasn’t too overpowering. The custard is smooth, not too sweet and melts in your mouth, while the torched sugar adds the right amount of sweetness and crunch. Make this for a party, and it’ll definitely be the star. Enjoy and happy baking!


Coffee Creme Brulee
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
4 to 6 servings

2 cups heavy cream, divided
4 Tbsp. plus 4 to 8 tsp. granulated sugar, divided
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
6 large yolks
1 Tbsp. espresso powder (available at Kitchen Conservatory)
1 cinnamon stick (optional)
½ tsp. vanilla extract

Special equipment: brulee torch

• Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
• Stir ½ cup cream, sugar, espresso powder, cinnamon stick and salt together in a saucepan over medium heat.
• Meanwhile, put the ramekins in a baking pan and fill the pan with hot water very carefully.
• Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the remaining cream.
• In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks together and add in the vanilla extract. Slowly add in the cooled cream mixture and whisk it together. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer and pour it into the ramekins.
• Bake 35 to 40 minutes, until it is just barely set but the center still jiggles slightly. Let cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap refrigerate at least 4 hours.
• A few minutes before serving, remove and sprinkle 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar on top of each and torch until melted and dark.

Extra Sauce: Carl McConnell’s Creme Brulee with Strawberries

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

“Creme brulee is my favorite thing to eat,” remarked Carl McConnell, chef-proprietor of Stone Soup Cottage. “It goes back to my childhood.” McConnell first tasted creme brulee when he was 7 or 8 years old and his mother took him to dine at The Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco. “I ordered a creme brulee for dessert and have been in love with it ever since.”

Creme Brulee with Strawberries
Courtesy of Stone Soup Cottage’s Carl McConnell
4 servings

5 egg yolks
1 egg
¾ cup sugar, plus ¼ cup for dusting
Pinch salt
¼ tsp. vanilla
1 pint heavy cream, heated
8 fresh strawberries, stemmed and halved
Drizzle of lavender honey

• Whisk the egg yolks, egg, sugar, salt and vanilla together in a stainless steel bowl. Temper eggs with one ounce hot cream (add cream to the eggs, whisking vigorously). Add remaining cream and stir well.
• Skim the accumulated foam off the top of the custard with a spoon. Evenly distribute the custard base to 4 to 6 ounce ramekins. Place the ramekins in a roasting pan and fill the roasting pan with very hot water, to a level half way up the side of the ramekins. Place in a 350 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until the custards are firm. Refrigerate custards for at least 3 hours.
• Dust the tops of the chilled custards with sugar. Shake off excess sugar. Using a creme brulee torch, flambe the sugared tops until caramelized.
• In a bowl, toss strawberries with lavender honey. Serve the berries with the creme brulee.

Read more on McConnell, Stone Soup Cottage and his business partner and wife, Nancy McConnell, in this month’s What I Do.


Baked: Lemon-Ginger Creme Brulee

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013


Whenever a friend’s birthday approaches, I ask them what he or she would like me to make. Some people always know what they want, while others would be happy with almost anything. After years of asking one indecisive friend what she’d like, I took a risk this year and decided to just make something with her favorite flavors. Luckily, I was right – she loved it. Like practically-licked-the-bowl loved it.

I decided to make a classy creme brulee incorporating lemon and ginger. I didn’t realize that this friend had never tasted creme brulee, so it was an important milestone. The dessert was a success, and although neither of us are huge fans of ginger, for a while we all sat in silence with only the sounds of our spoons scraping the ramekin bottoms.

The cream is smooth, luscious and melts in your mouth. I added bits of candied ginger into each bowl for an extra pop. The cream isn’t very sweet, which makes it perfect when combined with the crunchy sugar topping. Note: you do need a kitchen torch for this, but they aren’t expensive and are worth keeping around for an emergency brulee.

This recipe makes enough for about two standard ramekins, which is perfect for you and a date, but double or triple as needed for more. Happy baking!

Lemon-Ginger Creme Brulee
Adapted from a recipe in Cook’s Illustrated
2 Servings

1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp. plus 3 to 5 tsp. sugar, divided
Pinch of salt
3 large yolks
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp. lemon oil or lemon extract
1 Tbsp. candied ginger, divided

• Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place a large pot or kettle of water on the stove to heat. Put two ramekins in a large baking pan with high sides.
• In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together the cream, 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon of sugar and the salt until the sugar dissolves. Set aside and let cool.
• In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks together and add the lemon extract. Slowly add in the cooled cream mixture, whisking constantly.
• Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve, then divide it evenly between the ramekins. Drop ½ tablespoon candied ginger into each ramekin.
• Place the baking pan on the oven rack and pour the hot water into the pan until it is about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Gently push the rack into the oven and close. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes*, until the centers are still slightly jiggly and just barely set.
• Let them cool to room temperature, then cover the ramekins with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours.
• Evenly sprinkle the remaining 2 to 4 teaspoons of sugar on top of each chilled creme brulee. Use a kitchen torch to evenly melt the sugar until it browns.
• Refrigerate uncovered another 20 to 30 minutes, then serve.

*Bake time will depend on the depth of the ramekins. The center of each ramekin should be 170 to 175 degrees according to an instant-read thermometer.



By the Book: Christophe Felder’s Crème Brûlée Vanille au Zeste de Citron Vert

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Christophe Felder’s Patisserie is an encyclopedic tome of French pastry. Wanna learn to make croissants or macarons? The book has complex recipes like these, broken down step-by-step and interspersed with process photos to guide you along the way (particularly useful for novice bakers). The vast collection of French desserts in this book is impressive alone. I chose to make crème brûlée because, surprisingly, I’ve never made it, and I’ve always loved it. It’s a quintessential French dessert but so much easier than the odyssey that is Marronnier (chocolate-chestnut layer cake) on page 346.

Many crème brûlée recipes have you bake the custards in a bain marie, which is a water bath, but this one didn’t, which I thoroughly appreciated. It’s always a pain to set those things up, and I inevitably spill water everywhere. Instead, the recipe instructs to place the custards in a 200-degree oven for an hour and fifteen minutes.

When they came out, I was excited that they were solid but trembling slightly in the middle – just like the recipe described.

The recipe does not tell you to chill the custards but to just let them cool completely. Well, my impatience got the best of me. I chilled one in the freezer for about 30 minutes and then brûléed the top under a broiler. It was not good. The custard was still loose, and because it wasn’t completely chilled, it still had a really strong egg taste, like a vanilla-citrus-scented soft scramble. Weird.

However, the next day, I tried another custard and the time-alone-to-itself period made a difference. The custard had a chance to condense; albeit, still runnier in texture than the thick, velvety versions I’m used to, it was much better. Perhaps an hour and fifteen minutes was not long enough to make it set in my oven. The flavor improved overnight too … less eggy and a lot more like the flavor of well … crème brûlée.

Crème Brûlée Vanille au Zeste de Citron Vert
(Lime-Vanilla Crème Brûlée)
Serves 4

Special equipment: individual gratin dishes

2½ vanilla beans
1 cup milk
5 eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
½ lime
½ cup light brown sugar

• Split the vanilla beans lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with a paring knife. Bring the milk and vanilla seeds and beans to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat and let infuse.
• Separate the eggs and place the yolks in a bowl. Whisk the sugar into the egg yolks, just until the sugar dissolves. The mixture should not pale in color.
• Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
• Add the cream to the egg yolk-sugar mixture, whisking until smooth. Then whisk the cooled milk into the mixture until smooth.
• Using a citrus zester, remove the colored zest from the lime in fine julienne strips, leaving the white pith. Or use a vegetable peeler and cut the zest into julienne strips with a knife.
• Divide the zest among the grain dishes. Ladle the custard into the dishes
• Depending on the size of the ramekins, bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes, just until the custard is slightly wobbly. Let cool completely.
• Sift ½ of the brown sugar in an even layer over the custards. Using a kitchen torch, caramelize the sugar. Or broil the custards on the top shelf of the oven. Sprinkle the crème brûlées with the remaining brown sugar and caramelize again.
• Serve immediately.

Reprinted with permission from Rizzoli International Publications.

What’s your favorite dessert to order out and why? Tell us about it in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy Patisserie. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Katie, whose comment on last week’s By the Book has won her a copy of French Bistro. Katie, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew. 

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