Wednesday, July 27, 2011

National Creme Brulee Day

Desserts hold a special place in my heart. As a child growing up, I was without a doubt the pickiest eater in my family. Every meal basically revolved around whether or nor I wanted to eat something found on the menu, at the establishment of choice. But over time my family discovered a sure fire way to get me to act accordingly, and that came in the greatest form of payment known to mankind, bribery.

If I knew before hand that we were going to a place that had just one single dessert that I liked, most likely I would be a perfect angel the entire evening. One evening while visiting my Grandmother who lived just a stones throw away from the beach in San Clemente, I was introduced to something that would later play a small part in inspiring me to attend culinary school, Crème Brulee.

Crème Brulee, a wonderful dessert made of Crème Anglaise and Burnt Sugar, at the time to me was the most fascinating thing I had ever had the chance of eating. That dessert has long stuck with me and has been ordered on some of the most amazing nights of my life, where food has played a part in making wonderful memories.

Having introduced many of my friends to it over the years, I feel like each and every time I pass on the knowledge of such a delicious treats existence, I am tipping my hat in honor of my beautiful Grandmother who to this day, checks in to see if I am eating what I like and what makes me happy.

In my Grandmothers honor and in honor of National Crème Brulee Day, I give you my personal Crème Brulee recipe.

1 qt. heavy cream
1 cup sugar, plus more for dusting
1-oz chocolate liqueur (recommended: Godiva Liqueur)
½ TBS vanilla extract
2 oz cocoa powder
1-oz unsweetened chocolate
11 large egg yolks

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium sized saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the heavy cream, sugar, liqueur, and vanilla.
When the mixture is warm add the cocoa powder and chocolate and whisk until blended.

Place the egg yolks in a large stainless steel bowl.
Slowly add the warm chocolate mixture to the eggs, a little at a time, while whisking. Strain and pour into individual porcelain ramekins.

Place the ramekins in a large baking pan.
Pour enough hot water into the pan to come half way up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake until firm in the center, about 30 minutes.

Remove the ramekins from the water bath and let cool completely.
Place in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Dust with sugar and caramelize with a propane torch.


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