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Creme Brulee: An elegant end to dinner party

January 4, 2011
By Wendy Monro

I do not often write about desserts. I really don't like desserts very much; and, I am no good at making them either. This probably stems from the fact that I don't love desserts. It's difficult to be very good at something which you don't enjoy. I think I am also not very good at making desserts because you need to be very precise with measurements when baking. I don't really cook like that. I don't measure much. I do pay attention and write down my measurements when I cook for my article so I can have a recipe to share; but, when I cook regularly, I don't measure.

That being said, I just discovered a dessert that I am great at making. So, it must be foolproof. Also, I do love this dessert. The incredible dessert is creme brulee. I absolutely love creme brulee. I always have. Every time I say I don't like desserts, I am reminded of a dessert I love. I should just stop saying it. I am such a liar. I DO love some desserts. I love the hot lava cake or anything with hot fudge on it. I would devour a slice of classic cheesecake with graham cracker crust. I also love anything with hot caramel drizzled on it. I wouldn't turn down a slice of hot apple pie with some vanilla ice cream on the side. However, if I ever order a dessert when I am out to dinner, creme brulee is what I order. I always eat the whole thing. Creme brulee is Claud's favorite too; so, it's best if we order two. Sharing is not an option.

My mom taught me how to make these last weekend. She constantly amazes me with her cooking abilities. Now that I know how to make these easy desserts, I will definitely make these for my dinner parties in the future. If my mom hadn't decided to show me how to make these, I never would have even looked into it. Luckily, my mom is an excellent dessert maker. She makes cheesecakes with fresh berries on top, chocolate fudge cake that make people beg for more, chocolate covered strawberries that are fit for royalty, and so many more beautiful and delicious desserts. I used to watch her in the kitchen, when I was young, making desserts for her parties. I never saw her make a creme brulee before. I don't know where she learned how to do it. Sometimes, it's best to leave it a mystery. So, I didn't ask.

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Burning a crust of caramelized sugar on top of creme brulee is a fun, final step before serving.

You have to have ramekins and a kitchen blow torch. I know, fun right? These are two things that I don't have. However, after making these, I will run out and buy these items. It's so fun to blow torch those babies just before you present them to your guests. Make sure you don't drink too much wine at dinner before you start torching. That could be a recipe for disaster.

I always thought creme brulee must be so difficult to make. This is because I know very little about making desserts. It seemed like such an amazing treat after a delicious dinner at a fancy restaurant. Even the name sounds so aristocratic. Often times, some of the most delicious foods are quite simple to make. I did know that I love cracking through the caramelized sugar with the back of my spoon. I also knew that the combination of the crunchy sugar and the creamy custard on my tongue was heavenly. I love to savor each crunchy creamy bite.

In this recipe, we used orange liqueur to flavor the custard. I have had it with fresh vanilla beans and lavender before. So, you can be creative with the flavorings you want to use. Make it your own delicious treat. I know these were a big hit because each ramekin came to the sink completely empty. Furthermore, they had to be good, because my sister woke up the next morning and ate one for breakfast. That's love.

Fact Box

Creme Brulee

Serves: 6

Time: One hour (plus, overnight

in the refrigerator)

1 egg

4 egg yolks

cup sugar, plus 6 tablespoons

3 cups heavy cream

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon orange liqueur

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix the egg, egg yolks, and cup of sugar on low speed with an electric mixer. Scald the cream in a small saucepan (do not boil). Slowly add the hot cream to the egg mixture. Mix in the vanilla and the orange liqueur. Pour this into 6 eight-ounce ramekins until almost full.

Place these ramekins in a baking pan and carefully pour boiling water into the pan. The water will surround the ramekins and come up halfway. Bake for 40 minutes. You can check to make sure the custards are set by slightly shaking them. Remove from water and let it cool to room temperature. Refrigerate overnight.

When you are ready to serve, spread 1 tablespoon of sugar evenly on the top of each ramekin and heat with a kitchen blowtorch until the sugar caramelizes evenly. Allow the creme brulee to sit for one minute until the caramelized sugar hardens.

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