(Dec. 11, 2020) Perfection not only requires assumptions about reality, but also needs to address the issue of possibility.
But when one deciphers and contemplates this philosophical idea, is perfection really attainable?
Let us suppose for a moment that flawlessness is achievable. Then, a well-executed crème brulee has the potential to take top honors because of the simplicity of this dish.
Heavy cream, sugar, egg yolks and vanilla are the basic components of a crème brulee and raises the odds for distinction.
For those who have never had the pleasure of sampling this delectable dessert, you are truly missing out on one of the most quintessential French classics.
The luxurious custard can range from vanilla to lemon, salted caramel, chocolate truffle, and even bananas foster. To top it off, the custard is embellished with a contrasting layer of hardened caramelized sugar.
Following are a few pointers to ensure a luscious crème brulee.
As you combine the yolks with the sugar, you are looking to achieve a pale-yellow color and smooth texture.
In the beginning, the color of the egg yolk and sugar mixture will be orange. Continue whisking until the color becomes less intense and does not contain such a pronounced orange color.
The next stage consists of tempering the heated cream with the sugar and egg yolks. A small amount of hot cream is added to the egg yolk mixture.
Whisk until it is fully incorporated. Add a little more hot cream to the mixture, and again, whisk until it is fully combined. Continue this pattern until all ingredients are fully blended together.
These small steps may seem insignificant, but nothing can be further from the truth. If you rush this process, the hot cream will scramble your eggs and the dish is ruined.
One might ask, why temper the eggs with the cream? Tempering eggs allows for a natural thickening of the custard and is essential in developing the consistency of a creme brulee.
Choosing the proper dish is the next consideration. Sometimes it’s the smallest details that determines success or failure.
The key to preparing a crème brulee is making sure the dish is the right thickness.
Always use a dish that is designed specifically for a creme brulee. The dish should be wide and shallow to ensure an even bake.
A water bath is essential for a crème brulee’s velvety texture. A water bath insulates custards from the direct heat of the oven because the water cannot exceed 212 degrees, unlike the air in an oven.
Without a water bath, the outside of your custard would overcook before the center is done.
Understanding the science of a recipe not only enhances one’s knowledge, but also improves your confidence.
The holidays are around the corner and now is the time to add to one’s repertoire of easy, delicious recipes that will make your festivities more memorable.
The element of surprise is essential to the art of entertaining. Eggnog crème brulee is a fabulous way to spruce up one’s menu for the holiday season. Enjoy!
Crème Brulee Custard
¼ cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup eggnog
Crème Brulee Topping
1. Heat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Bring 1 quart of water to a boil. Turn off the heat, cover, and set aside.
3. Separate egg yolks from whites, reserving whites for another meal.
4. Heat cream and eggnog over medium heat until it just starts to bubble around the edges.
5. In the meantime, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks.
6. Temper egg yolks by slowly adding small amounts of warmed eggnog and cream into the egg yolk mixture, while whisking constantly. Repeat this process until all of the eggnog and cream is fully incorporated into the egg yolk mixture.
7. Create a water bath by pouring the warm water into a 9-inch by 11-inch pan that contains the empty ramekins.
If the water does not come up halfway, add more warm water. The amount of water will depend on the size of the ramekins. Do not allow any water to get into the ramekins with the custard.
8. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until the edges are set but the center has a slight jiggle when you nudge the pan.
9. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
10. Remove crème brulee from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature for 20 minutes. Top each ramekin with a light coating of sugar. Brulee the tops with a kitchen torch until the sugar is caramelized.
11. Crème brulee can be served plain, or garnished with fresh fruit or mint.
Secret Ingredient – Fire. “Success is not a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire.”
– Arnold Giascow