When I first started this blog, posting regularly seemed like the easiest thing to do. I was still studying medicine; and cooking and baking were a way of escaping that reality… It’s been many years since then, and while all the hard work paid off – I graduated top of my class and am officially a pastry chef! – cooking and baking have now become work.
And yes, I love what I do, (Or I wouldn’t be waking up at 3 a.m. every morning to get to the bakery) but I’ve found that I’m so tired at the end of a long day that I seem to have no energy or inspiration to start cooking. Every meal was either at a restaurant or from one.
But just when it looked like ordering out would be part of my life for ever, fate (in the form of my husband) dealt me a swift kick in the pants.
He bought me madeleines from Starbucks!!!!!!!!!
Really. When you love cooking but haven”t cooked at home for months, that’s embarrassing. But when you’re a pastry chef -
Oh, the shame of it all!
It all ended with my cooking again.. and my fridge is filled with food (not take out boxes) that actually still tastes delicious the next day around… The truth is, the sheer volume of work that I do in the bakery made me forget how quickly you can whip up a three course meal for two every day, dessert included!
And because I am, after all, a pastry chef, lets start with dessert, shall we?
I figured I’d show you guys how to make creme brulee first. It’s one of the easiest desserts to make. And it never fails to impress!!
But enough said – it’s creme brulee!! Who doesn’t love creme brulee????
So here goes!
Oh, and two important things – ramekins and a blow torch/broiler.
Pour the cream in a heavy bottomed pan.
Bring to a boil, then take off the heat, cover and let it sit for 20 minutes, and remove the bean.
Whisk the eggs and sugar until the yolks get pale…
Whisk in the cream a little at a time.
Pour into ramekins. Place the ramekins in a roasting pan.
Fill the roasting pan halfway with hot water.
Bake until the sides are set and the centre still trembles.
Chill for two hours, then remove from the fridge, and let it sit for half an hour.
Sprinkle two tablespoons on sugar on the surface. Carefully caramelize the top. Let it set and harden for a couple of minutes.
I have been told that the true test of a good creme brulee is to tap a spoon on the surface. If you can hear a snap, then you know you’ve done it right!!
Of course, all this means spending a good 5 minutes, waiting for it to cool, then doing the snap test, blah blah blah…
This was 2 minutes after. So clearly, its not just good. It’s amazing!
- heavy cream – 1/2 quart
- vanilla bean, split and scraped – 1
- sugar – 1/2 cup + 2 tbspns per ramekin to caramelize
- egg yolks – 3
- hot water
Preheat oven to 325 F.
Place cream and vanilla in a pot. bring to a boil, cover, take off heat and wait for about 20 minutes for the vanilla to infuse. Remove the bean. (You can wash and dry the bean and stick it in a jar of sugar, and a few days later you’ll have vanilla sugar. MAGIC!!)
Whisk the yolks and sugar until the yolks lighten in color, add the cream a little at a time.
Pour the mixture into ramekins.
Place ramekins in a roasting pan.
Fill the pan with hot water until the water reaches about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake until the sides are set, but the centre still jiggly (yes, that is the technical term. I swear thats what the book says.)
Chill for 2-3 hours (you can chill it for a couple days if needed).
Remove from the refrigerator about half an hour before torching.
Get out the artillery! Sprinkle sugar on each ramekin.
Make sure you use common sense. Don’t place the ramekin on a wooden/plastic surface prior to brulee-ing. I like placing each ramekin on a upturned tall glass.
BE CAREFUL! I really don’t want you guys burning furniture or worse, your fingers or face. Try really hard, please.
Using the torch, caramelize the sugar.
Wait for a couple of minutes for the sugar to cool and set. Serve!!