Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Cinnamon Crème Brûlée at home!


There are a lot of things you probably don't know about me. Let's be real for a minute while I just let it all out.

-I tell people I'm 5'3, but really I'm 5'2.5. Only children lie about their height. I'm still a child.

-I can eat 6 cupcakes before lunch and not feel bad about it.

-The book on my coffee table right now is called "The food of Indonesia".

-I love receiving grocery store flyers in the mail! I can't pass up a special on whipping cream, but I can totally glaze over a 50% off shoe sale. Twisted.

-I still haven't printed off all of my wedding photos and that was over a year ago...

-I don't really like eating strips of bacon as much as the rest of the world seems to (but I love it as an ingredient).

-How many M&M's can I fit into my mouth at one time? I need to figure this out.

-I used to love going to the dentist as a kid. I'm slowly starting to hate it now.

-I'm hungry. I want a fish taco, like....pronto!

-Do people still buy calenders anymore?

-I don't text and I don't own a smart phone. I'm 26. I should text and I should own a smart phone.

-Before writing this post I accidentally deleted a whole slew of lovely comments from you in an attempt to delete spam. Urgh!

-The last time I made Crème Brûlée was on my anniversary. Not my wedding anniversary, my dating anniversary. Ya....we still celebrate that.


Crème Brûlée is kind of cliché but it's freakin' delicious! This swanky dessert is not as hard as its reputation has made it out to be.

It might be scary when you think of making it at home because it's the type of dessert you order in a restaurant. But I promise, it's easy.

First, you need ramekins. You can buy them at the dollar store. No biggie.

The most important thing about making a custard is to maintain a steady, even cooking environment to prevent the delicate egg proteins from cooking too quickly and curdling. Since creme brulée custard has a very high concentration of egg protein, it is especially important to use a water bath. Basically you place your ramekins full of custard into a rimmed baking dish or sheet pan and fill the base with about 3/4 inch of hot water. This will prevent the custard from drying out and also keep the temperature around the ramekins even.

The fat provided from the cream will also help to protect the egg proteins and leave you with a silky smooth texture.

Only bake until the edges are set but the center still giggles a bit when you shake the dish.

Let the ramekins cool completely in the water bath before removing them. This allows the custard to cool slowly so that the dramatic temperature difference doesn't cause it to contract and crack.

I like to use a small blow torch to make my "brûlée" mainly because I'm a bit of a pyro but also because I have more control this way. But you can totally put them under the broiler - just make sure you keep an eye on them.

Only apply the sugar and brûlée immediately before serving or the moisture from the custard will slowly dissolve the hard sugar and leave you with a caramel sauce over top.

Go on and get your fancy on with this recipe!



Cinnamon Crème Brûlée
Makes 4 servings

2/3 cup 35% whipping cream
1/3 cup milk
1 2-inch piece cinnamon stick
3 large egg yolks
¼ cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
4 tbsp coarse sanding sugar (such as turbinado)

Preheat oven to 300°F. Place four shallow, 1/3-cup oval fluted ramekin dishes in a shallow glass baking dish or rimmed hotel pan.

In a saucepot over medium-low heat, combine cream, milk and cinnamon stick. Heat slowly, covered, without boiling, for about 15 minutes. This will release the spice flavours.

Whisk egg yolks with sugar and salt just until blended and smooth. Do not beat to prevent air incorporation and the formation of air bubbles at the surface.

Pour the cream mixture through a sieve and into a 2-cup volumetric measuring cup with a pouring spout. Discard spent cinnamon stick. Slowly pour about ¼ of cream mixture into yolks while whisking until smooth. Switch to a spatula or wooden spoon and gradually add remaining cream mixture while stirring constantly until well blended. Pour mixture through a sieve and back into the measuring cup.

Divide custard among ramekin dishes and place the whole baking dish or tray in the center rack of your oven. Pour boiling water about halfway up the sides of the ramekins and bake until custard is set at the edges but still slightly wobbly in the center, about 25 minutes. Do not over-bake. Use tongs to transfer ramekins to a wire rack to cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

Just before serving, sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of turbinado or other coarse sanding sugar over the custard and shake the dish to coat the surface evenly. Tap off excess sugar and use a blowtorch to caramelize the surface evenly. The sugar will bubble up as it cooks and turn golden to dark brown. Let cool about 2 minutes to let the sugar harden. Serve immediately.


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