Monday, May 4, 2009

Raspberry Creme Brulee

Before I go on be warned. I am a lover of all things creamy, pale and fluffy. I love flan, tres leches, quesillo (cross between a flan and cheesecake and if you've never had one, poor you), cheesecake, whipped cream you get the picture. Creamy custard in any form = heaven for me. So to even think for one moment that a creamy egg yolk and heavy cream custard topped by a crunchy sugar crust would not be enjoyed by yours truly is blasphemy. I'm just saying that if you're like certain people *cough*Mr. Maricucu*cough* who say that flan is too rich, too sweet, too creamy - this may not be for you. And that's okay, like they say in the south about fools, "bless your heart."

I'm kidding! Okay I'll stop channeling Scarlett O'Hara. Back to the important stuff for goodness sake. I've had creme brulee in restaurants. Blegh. You can taste a box custard a mile away and even if the caramelized topping could redeem a boxed custard, well they ruin it by not getting it even and all the way to the edges. I'm not Gordon Ramsey but if I'm going to pay for a dessert what I would pay for a good yard of fabric it has to be well done. What I like about this particular recipe is the raspberry layer at the bottom (sometimes I like popping about 5-6 fresh berries on the bottom too) and the use of brown sugar for the topping as well as the chilling time.

The chilling after caramelizing the sugar is not traditional but in this case allows the custard to cool, the sugar to harden and allows the cook to avoid having to wield a torch, hot sugar and delicate custard while guests are anxiously waiting. Three factors which in my house and with my clumsiness would lead to disaster. Yes, my insurance agent can sleep tonight. Bottom line though, it's easy and if you're wondering what to make with the egg whites you can do like my friend T. who scrambles them for breakfast or you can make meringues OR if you're patient I can teach you how to make dominican frosting in the near future which we call suspiro (meaning sigh because you sigh when you it eat).

Raspberry Creme Brulee
adapted from MsAllieD + ~Elias&Natalie~'s recipe

12 tsp raspberry jam
1 pint of fresh raspberries (optional)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
6 tbsp sugar
pinch of salt

12 tsp brown sugar

Preheat oven to 325 deg. Prep 6 custard cups, ramekins or other shallow oven/broiler proof containers. In a mixing bowl, add the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla. Mix well. Then slowly add the heavy cream and pinch of salt. Set aside.

In each custard cup slightly spread out 1 tablespoon of raspberry jam and if you're using them, 5 fresh raspberries. Mine didn't spread too much because this is all fruit spread instead of jam. That's what I get for trying to be healthy.

Pour the custard evenly into the six cups.

Then find a pan that will fit all six cups and enough water to go halfway up the custard cups. The creme brulee cooks in the oven in a baine marie, which is a water bath. The water bath gently cooks the custard evenly and keeps the creamy texture intact. Push one of the custard cups to the side, pour the hot water in halfway up the cups, then slide that cup back into line.

Bake 40 minutes or until set in the center. The custard won't brown but there will be a set top and slight bubbles like so.

Now, sit on those hands, put a lid on the custards and chill them overnight. Do not, I repeat, do not sink a spoon in these right now. You won't like them and you'll be emailing me complaining about my bad recipes and I'm going to have to set you straight about listening to direction. Heed the short dark woman like my sister says. She may not be wise but she's been there, done that.

The next day, in the morning or at least 2-3 hours before you plan on serving them, spread a teaspoon of brown sugar evenly over each custard. Do a little bit better job than I did on this batch. That one on the right with that clump of sugar is not done well. Spread it out more.

Place the custard cups on a sheet pan/cookie sheet and put them under the broiler until the sugar melts, caramelizes and just begins to turn too dark. Don't let them burn but do let them caramelize. One or two black spots, just beginning to look like it's burning but not.

Put the lids back on the custards and chill for 2 hours. Yes, this is necessary. Trust me.

Once the two hours are up, break out a custard, take the lid off and crack your spoon into that sugar crust with abandon. Scoop into the raspberry layer and taste the tart berries/jam, the creamy cool custard and the slightly bitter crispy brown sugar. Then proceed to convince your kids that they don't like creme brulee.

I'm kidding! But the final tally is one for the creamy lovers side, one for the "can you make me creme brulee without the sugar stuff on top?" and one too young to taste.


Maris said...

These look totally mouthwatering! And individual portions are always great for dessert!

Marielle said...

Thank you! My portion control is the eagle eyed three year old that worries momma will not leave any for him. ;)