Monday, October 18, 2010

Tasty Tuesday-Scorched Creme Brulee


The charm of a creme brulee is the the contrast between the sweet, creamy custard and the transformation of its crusty, scorched exterior.  The Scorch Trials by James Dashner has a similar charm.  His characters must undergo trial after trial that threaten to take away the sweet innocence of youth.  And yet, the reader gets the feeling that if the trials are successful, the result will be as delectable as the scorched crust on this creamy dessert.

Scorched Creme Brulee

1 quart heavy creme
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (in a pinch you can use 1 tsp of vanilla, but it won't be the same)
1 cup vanilla sugar, divided (can also use white sugar, but again, not as tasty)
6-8 large egg yolks (more if you like a more gelatin consistency, less if you like it creamier)
2 quarts hot water

Preheat the oven to 325'

Place the cream, vanilla bean and its pulp into a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat, cover and sit for 15 minutes.  Remove the vanilla bean.

In a medium bowl, whisk togeher 1/2 cup sugar and the egg yolks until well blended and it just started to lighten in color. Add the cream a little at a time, stirring continually.  Pour the liquid into 6 (7-8 oz) remekins.  Place the ramekins into a large cake or roasting pan.  Pour enough hot water into the pan to come  halway up the sides of the ramekins. 

Bake just until the creme brulee is set, but still trembling in the center, approximately 40-45 minutes.  Remove from the roasting pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.

Remove the creme brulee from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes prior to browning the tops.  Divide the remaining 1/2 cup sugar equally among the dishes and spread evenly on top.  Using a torch, melt the sugar and form a crispy top.  Alternatively, you can broil the creme brulee in the oven until the sugar crisps.  Be careful not to burn.  Allow the creme brulee to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.

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