Crème Brulee

Crème Brulee

It may not stand up to croissants and baguettes when it comes to being pure French, but Crème Brulee is still a favorite around the world.

Crème Brulee is a brilliant dessert which combines seductively soft and creamy custard with a hard sugar crust topping which gives a satisfying crack when the spoon hits the surface. Popularly served in French restaurants, the true origins of the original crème brulee recipe is debated, however in general it is viewed as a French dessert today. No matter who lays claim to the invention, it is a modern delight in my book.

The traditional crème brulee recipe is actually quite simple. Heavy cream, vanilla bean, sugar and egg yolks are all that are required for the custard which gently cooks in a bath of water inside the oven. This method of baking is what gives crème brulee its amazing, moist texture. The ideal internal temperature of the custard when removed from the oven is 170 to 175 degrees. After it is baked, crème brulee is traditional chilled in the fridge until set, but it will be hard to resist digging in as soon as it exits the oven door.

The last step, the step which makes crème brulee different from everyday vanilla custard, is the topping. People use different sugars to produce the crackly top, but turbinado is often recommended because it melts well. You can melt and caramelize the sugar together using the broiling element in your oven (just be sure to watch it because it can go from golden to black pretty fast!) or you can purchase a kitchen torch which is safe for indoor use. Once the sugar is caramelized into a luscious layer the crème brulee is ready to be devoured.