Crème Brûlée, a classic French dessert literally translates to "burnt cream". This rich and creamy custard is topped with ...
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Crème Brûlée is more a classic English pudding than a classic French dessert. Jane Grigson describes it as the 'best of all English puddings' and discusses its origins in her 'English Food'.
It is most frequently associated with Oxford and Cambridge College dinners. Indeed its origin is usually accredited to Trinity College, Cambridge, although Jane Grigson provodes evidence for an origin in the eighteenth century (it appears in Elizabeth Raffald's "The Experienced English Housekeeper".
To be fair, there were earlier sightings in France. Helen Saberi, writing in Alan Davidson's Penguin/Oxford Companion to Food mentions its appearance in a seventeenth century French cooking treatise (Massialot: "Le Cusinier roial et bourgeois (1691) but points out that it subsequently fell into disuse in France.
I have only very rarely come across it in France, where crème caramel is much more usually found on the menu.
(Julia Child et al's claim that it is actually a Creole dish appears to be without foundation)
Dr Christopher Bunch
I ignore wether the very origin of Crème brûlée is French or British, however I disagree with you Christopher on the fact it is rare in French restaurants.
It is very common, and in my humble opinion you can often judge the overall quality of the restaurant at the taste of its Crème brulée. Too bad it is a dessert, and thus, coming at the very end of the meal ^^
Crème brûlée is a very commun dessert in most of french restaurants. Nowadays this dessert comes in a lot of different flavors, like café, pistachios and rasberries.
I really don't like in restaurants when they served this dessert warm. I really think the cream has to be cool with only the caramel crust on top of it warm.
We tried making this dessert with this recipe. The custard tasted really delicious without being too sweet and the hint of vanilla made it fantastic. However, the custard was a little too runny. We baked it for 24 minutes and chilled it for 4h. Can someone please tell us where we went wrong?
Gerald and Adele
How to tell when crème brûlée is cooked. First off I am glad you liked the flavor of the brûlée. As for the consistency, crème brûlée is a bit more runny then say... crème caramel. It's more like a pudding. You must give it a bit of a shake test to see if it is done. I use tongs and give it a bit of a shake to see how the brûlée moves. It should not look runny in the middle, rather the whole thing should jiggle a bit.
Even myself, I have made crème brûlée about 500 times and every once and a while I haven't let it cook quite long enough. Sometimes the oven may have been off a few degrees, or the water bath wasn't as high as usual. Really I don't sweat it, as the flavor is still delicious. Once you make this dessert a few times you will know when it is done.
Perhaps next time leave it for 2 more minutes and see what kind of a result you get. Just try not to over cook the crème brûlée (well maybe just once over cook it and then you will know why i say this). Also check you oven temperature.
Good luck, hope this helped!
I would never have tried this recipe if I hadn't seen the video. And, based on my experience, the video made the difference between success and a disaster: the part of the video which showed just how much "wiggle" I should see saved me from pulling the ramekins out of the baine marie a couple of minutes too early.
My only *slightly* negative comment is that the printed instructions didn't mention (though it was mentioned in the video) that the water should be boiling hot. Fortunately, I remembered that as I was creating (!) in the kitchen and the result was excellent.
My wife kids me that I won't buy a recipe book unless it has pictures. The vids here show just how useful vids and pictures can be.
You are right-on when you say be prepared and don't rush. Can you imagine using a microwave oven to temper the eggs?
As for the torch, it's a propane gas torch you want to get. This tool is in the top 5 of most often used in my kitchen. I use it to bring the flavour of BBQ grilling to my stove-top dishes. If I am stir-frying a bit of pork & veg., I always hit the meat with the torch while it fries in the wok. This flavour (the caramelizing of the sugars on the surface of your food) reaches way back in our primal minds. And the message is FOOD! GOOD! Try one for a while and see what you think.
Creme Brulee actually stands for "burnt cream". Without the torch, you can't caramelize it. Two suggestions:
1. Make Creme Caramel (close but you make a caramel and pour the custard over it). Different consistency as well in the end result but really great too.
2. Go to your local home hardware store and buy a butane torch. Make sure to get one with a "clicker-style" igniter. Should be able to buy one for about $25. Kitchen stores have smaller more expensive kitchen torches but I have always found them less effective.
all ingredients..are amazing together...(but..depending...how your oven baking....,be carefully about (20 to 30 minutos baking that creme.)and.. if it needs more time leave til 45 minutes.
Adding a little lemon zest , will be great!!
Is it possible to substitute the sugar with splenda? I tried making these 3 times with time adjustments till about 50 minutes in the oven at 300F but still runny eventhough it jiggles when i took it out. Or do i need to let the cream boil?
I have no problem with caramelizing. I used turbinado sugar for it.
Our recipe is not formulated to be used with artificial sweeteners, such as Splenda. Without adjusting the formula, artificial sweeteners cannot substitute sugar 1:1. They just don't contain the same properties.
Since we do not use artificial sweeteners in our Test Kitchen, perhaps you can contact the manufacturer to obtain replacement guidelines. We tried looking on Splenda's website for a brulee recipe, but didn't find one. However, if you search online for "creme brulee made with Splenda", you'll find quite a few recipes. Hope that helps. Good luck!
I followed this recipe exactly as shown in the video, except the size of my ramekins was a little bigger than what was used in the video so i has to cook it for a lot longer...even after being refridgerated for over a day its runny at the bottom.. help:(.. also because of the orange zest it tastes more like orange creme brulee or am i using too much??
Size of the ramekins may have made a difference, but there are many other factors that it could have been.
Maybe read the message I posted earlier called..."Cooking Crème Brûlée".
As for the orange zest, perhaps just use a bit less. It is supposed to give you a hint of orange flavor. However, you can omit the orange zest all together if you like.
There have been several comments about torches so I thought I'd add a little story of my own. The first time I made creme brule (see my other comment on this thread) I used a standard garage propane torch. It worked fine ... well, fine *except* ... it seemed to have a very strong gas flow and that -- even though I had it turned down -- still blew many of the sugar granules around.
So, next time, I went to a local kitchen store and bought an inexpensive torch. On the way home, I picked up a butane cartridge and, at home, I loaded up the torch and tried it out.
Wow! A yellow flame -- almost a metre long -- leapt out! Then, suddenly, it dropped back to a 5-10cm blue flame. Just what I wanted. But I was, naturally, worried so I tried the unit again. And again. And each time I'd get a long yellow flame for a few seconds before seeing the desired 5-10cm blue flame. Back to the store with the unit, a quick demo of the problem and I got a new one. This time, I loaded it in the store and tried it out while I was still there. The replacement unit worked perfectly.
So ... if you are going to buy a kitchen torch (instead of using one from Canadian Tire) then buy a butane cartridge first so you can try the unit out near the store in case you need to exchange it.
One other thing (which I have noted before): the printed instructions don't mention that the water in the bain marie should be boiling. If you print the recipe out then make a notation to that effect.
A final thought: this is a "do not rush", focus on what you are doing, watch your timing, and check your "jiggle" as you approach the end of the cooking time. If you take care you are almost guaranteed a perfect result.
Just to clarify...you are right, the water that gets added for the bain marie, should be very hot or boiling. But once the brûlée starts to cook inside the oven, the water should not be boiling. The water merely surrounds the brûlée with gentle heat, so it cooks evenly, and doesn't curdle.
Thanks for the blow torch stories! Have a great day.
John, you're right about that flame!
Why that happens: In a cold torch (just turned on), the gas from the cannister is cold and dense and can't burn all at once. Therefore it burns at a low temp and FLARES!
Once the torch is warmed up (a few minutes) the gas can vaporize and burn more efficiently.
If you shake the can, you can get the same effect; huge flame shooting out like a circus act.
N.B. Don't freak out and drop the torch, just point it away from you and maybe over the stove. It'll settle down and after a couple of minutes will be warmed up and ready for anything!
A restuarant I like to frequent makes creme brulee with spirits in it (tahitian rum, lemoncello etc.). I've never tasted a desert so good!
I'd like to try duplicating this at home. I was thinking that I should add the spirits just before pouring into ramekins. Does this make sense, or is there a reason to add it at a different timing?