Friday, September 30, 2011

Oo La La

Nothing could be more perfect to end my Brasserie Les Halles menu than Creme Brulee! The origins of Creme Brulee are disputed.  The French call it Creme Brulee, the Spanish call it Catalan Cream, and the English call it Trinity Cream or Cambridge Burnt Cream.  Who cares! It's a decadently chic dessert that will have you saying, "Oo La La"!

Creme Brulee:

Serves 6, Best made day ahead, perfect for dinner parties!

Note:  My ramekins are 1/2 cup and made 10, not 6!  So depending on the size of your ramekins, the serving size may vary.


1 quart heavy cream
1 vanilla bean
6 ounces granulated sugar
10 egg yolks
6 tablespoons brown sugar


"Put the heavy cream in a large pot.  Split the vanilla bean lengthwise with a paring knife and scrape the insides into the cream.  Put the empty pod in as well. Add half the granulated sugar to the cream, stir well, and bring the mixture to a boil.

Place the egg yolks in a large mixing bowl and whisk in the remaining granulated sugar, continuing to whisk until the mixture is pale yellow and slightly foamy.  Remove the cream mixture from the heat and slowly, gradually whisk it into the yolk mixture.  Make sure to whisk constantly to prevent the hot liquid from curdling the yolks.  Remove the vanilla bean pod and discard.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Place the ramekins in the baking pan and fill the pan with water so that it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins.  Divide the custard evenly among the ramekins and cook them in the oven for about 45 minutes, or until the top is set but still jiggly.  Remove the ramekins from the oven and let cool to room temperature. The custards can be held overnight, covered with plastic in the refrigerator."  (In order to easily remove the ramekins from the water bath, wrap rubber bands in an X-shape around the ends of your tongs to make a nonslip surface.)

To serve:
"Sprinkle 1 tablespoon brown sugar over the top of each custard.  Carefully run a propane torch's flame over each custard to caramelize the sugar.  Wait a minute, then serve the custards with spoons."  If you don't have a torch, you can pop them under a broiler, but watch carefully!

Recipe courtesy of Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook.

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