If you are looking for a dessert that will send your taste buds into a frenzy, this is the one for you!
Don’t let the monotone-looking custard fool you, this dessert is packed with a flavor that ranges from deep almost toffee-like notes of the maple syrup, to the subtle essence of vanilla, finished with the delicate presence of sage. Topped with a bitter-sweet burnt sugar crust that provides the perfect partner to the velvet custard, this fall and winter-themed creme brulee will live in your dreams.
Crème brûlée, or simply “burnt cream,” as it translates to in French, is a classic dessert that is a essentially a custard that has been set and then topped with a thin layer of sugar that has been caramelized and allowed to harden.
The logic behind the creation of the dish is much simpler. The Crème was first brûléed to bring balance. While a well executed custard is divine in it’s own right, there are two things that it usually tends to lack: a crunch and a flavor-balancing component. That is where the burnt sugar comes in. After being torched, the sugar crust not only provides the perfect crunch to compliment the smooth custard, but it also offers the roasted and slightly bitter flavor that cuts through the sweet-richness of the custard, not unlike the charred exterior of a campfire marshmallow.
You'll notice this recipe calls for it to be cooked in a water bath. Using this technique helps to cook the eggs gently and evenly by helping stabilize the heat in your oven and protect against “hot spots” where the temperature runs hot. If you cooked the brulees without using a water bath, the eggs could overcook and curdle on the outer rims of the ramekins before the center is fully cooked.
When using a water bath, make sure that you place the ramekins inside the larger pan before you add the creme brulee batter, that way you can move all of the ramekins at once and have less of an opportunity of spilling. When adding the water to the pan, make sure you put the pan (with the ramekins inside) inside the oven, with a good portion still sticking out of the oven (just make sure it is balanced so it doesn’t spill when you add the water). Pour the boiling water into the pan while it is already in the oven then simply slide the pan slightly to close the oven. Boiling your water before putting it into the pan really helps reduce the cooking time.
Knowing how to make a great crème brûlée should be a right of passage given how classic of a dessert it is! Here's your grocery list:
Give it a try and you'll see that this might be the best crème brûlée out there yet.
Cheers and eat well!
This creme brûlée is packed with a flavor that ranges from deep almost toffee-like notes of the maple syrup, to the subtle essence of vanilla, finished with the delicate presence of sage and topped with a bitter-sweet burnt sugar crust.
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