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wrick2003's picture

am making creme brulee for the first time on sunday, and would appreciate any tips from you all.  


 

MadMom's picture

(post #27482, reply #1 of 63)

Be prepared to become addicted!  And I hope you're anxious to gain some weight.  Actually, I love creme brulee, and there are so many wonderful flavors to experiment with once you get the basic technique down.  I suppose the main thing is to be sure you don't overcook it.  The creme brulee should be jiggly in the middle when you remove it from the oven.  Yumm...I'll be glad to come help you taste test!

Things are going to get a lot worse before they get worse.
Lily Tomlin

MEANCHEF's picture

(post #27482, reply #2 of 63)

Use a good recipe.

gjander's picture

(post #27482, reply #3 of 63)

Be sure to allow plenty of time for the custard to set up in the fridge before serving.  I've tried to rush it a few times only chilling it for 3 or 4 hours and it ended up being not as firm as I like it.  I think a minimum of 6 hours chill time is probably necessary.


Gary


 

SallyBR's picture

(post #27482, reply #4 of 63)

I am sure there was a thread in the old CT... where MC tested a bunch of recipes and one of them seemed the best.

If my memory is correct, it was a recipe using heavy cream only, no milk. And a slightly higher proportion of egg yolks than most recipes call for.

If my computer was a bit less temperamental, I would try to find it for you, but maybe some good soul will.

as far as other tips - I find it very important to strain the liquid before adding to the ramekins (I detest those pieces of yolk's skins) - and I also like a creme brullee that has a large surface x small depth: you get more of the crispy caramel at each bite. Tastes might differ, though...

I always like to use shallow baking dishes, although they do pose more of a problem to bake in bain-marie as recommended.

last, of course, the burned top: back home, I like to use a torch, I don t have a fancy cooking torch, I use my husband's handyman torch.... Simple white sugar, burn it only after it's been refrigerated for many hours, preferably overnight. Work fast, serve immediately - the contrast between the cold custard and the still warm crust is a must (for my taste, that is...)

I also make some variations, like a banana creme brullee, pretty good, but for me, nothing beats the original.

 

RuthWells's picture

(post #27482, reply #5 of 63)

Ricky,


I make creme brulee often, and for the best topping, use light brown sugar.  Spread the sugar out on a baking sheet for 2 hours or so before topping the custards -- this allows some of the moisture to evaporate out.  Use a sifter to sprinkle the dried sugar over the custards before torching (or running under the broiler).


Have fun!


 


Ruth Wells


"I think that men make more mistakes
by being too clever
than by being too good." - G.B. Shaw

Ruth Wells

"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

www.lemonade-and-kidneys.blogspot.com

www.ruthssweetpleasures.com

http://www.pkdcure.org/Default.aspx?TabI...

Biscuits's picture

(post #27482, reply #6 of 63)

The best creme brulee, IMHO, is all cream, all yolks, sugar, vanilla bean and/or other flavors.  Raw sugar on top for torching.  Overnight chill!  Baked in a waterbath of course.  DON'T FORGET TO STRAIN TWICE!!!!  through a fine mesh strainer.  This is, IMHO, the biggest failing of people who make creme brulee.  You strain the hot cream into the yolks/sugar, then you strain THAT mixture before putting into your custard cups.  It makes a TREMENDOUS difference in texture.  I can always tell if someone hasn't strained their custard properly, and it annoys me, since custards are my favorite dessert.

 


 


wtf    - Biscuit

Ancora Imparo -

schnitzel's picture

(post #27482, reply #7 of 63)

Recommended reading...


Fine Cooking: A Trio of Silky Custards and Crème Brûlée


And The Perfect Creme Brulee thread: 8984.1


~Amy
RuthWells's picture

(post #27482, reply #8 of 63)

I just read the past thread with interest, and notice that there is little discussion of everyone's preferences for topping.  White sugar, brown sugar, turbonado?  What do you all prefer?


 


Ruth Wells


"I think that men make more mistakes
by being too clever
than by being too good." - G.B. Shaw

Ruth Wells

"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

www.lemonade-and-kidneys.blogspot.com

www.ruthssweetpleasures.com

http://www.pkdcure.org/Default.aspx?TabI...

SallyBR's picture

(post #27482, reply #9 of 63)

I prefer white sugar...

for my taste, the brown sugar gives it a slight extra punch that I don t particularly care for in the creme brulee. I like the tenderness of a simple white... :-)

 

MadMom's picture

(post #27482, reply #10 of 63)

I've experimented with all kinds of sugar.  I like plain white sugar, although turbinado is good, too.  Brown sugar is a bit heavy, IMO.

Things are going to get a lot worse before they get worse.
Lily Tomlin

RuthWells's picture

(post #27482, reply #11 of 63)

Interesting, MM & Sally.  I find white sugar to make a very brittle topping, and brown sugar straight out of the cannister to not crisp up enought.


I've never tried turbinado, so that may be a good excuse to experiment....


 


 


Ruth Wells


"I think that men make more mistakes
by being too clever
than by being too good." - G.B. Shaw

Ruth Wells

"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

www.lemonade-and-kidneys.blogspot.com

www.ruthssweetpleasures.com

http://www.pkdcure.org/Default.aspx?TabI...

Glenys's picture

(post #27482, reply #12 of 63)

I find brown sugar better with my salamander iron and white better with the torch. I definitely prefer the iron to the torch but practical application is another thing. My preferred finish is definitely a "glass", not just a melted sugar layer so I often do two thin sheets of caramelized white sugar, using the torch, and chill until needed. Last layer gives me the finish I desire.

As for the custard, it's a marriage of not overbaking with refrigeration. I still prefer to bake the custard until jiggly and chill for at least 24hours. The difference in the set is substantial. Personally, time not withstanding, I like them 2-3 days chilled. The custard is phenomenal.

RuthWells's picture

(post #27482, reply #13 of 63)

Glenys,


I'm going to try your underbake/overchill technique next time I make creme brulee.  It's on the list.


It sounds like you prefer a really brittle, hard sugar layer for the topping.  I prefer good crunch, but not so much that you have to use the spoon as a mattock to break through to the custard.  It's a delicate balance.


I don't have a salamander iron, I'm a torch girl.  I've tried double layers of both white and brown sugar, and the only method that gets me close to my goal is letting the brown sugar dry out for a good long while prior to sifting & torching.  It is rather a nuisance, though.


 


 


Ruth Wells


"I think that men make more mistakes
by being too clever
than by being too good." - G.B. Shaw

Ruth Wells

"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

www.lemonade-and-kidneys.blogspot.com

www.ruthssweetpleasures.com

http://www.pkdcure.org/Default.aspx?TabI...

doyenne's picture

(post #27482, reply #14 of 63)

What would happen if you nuked the brown sugar for a few seconds at a low power? Would that help dry it out?

I can't remember today what it was I  couldn't remember yesterday

Where is Monica Lewinski when you need her?

RuthWells's picture

(post #27482, reply #15 of 63)

Good question!  I'll have to try it.


 


Ruth Wells


"I think that men make more mistakes
by being too clever
than by being too good." - G.B. Shaw

Ruth Wells

"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

www.lemonade-and-kidneys.blogspot.com

www.ruthssweetpleasures.com

http://www.pkdcure.org/Default.aspx?TabI...

Biscuits's picture

(post #27482, reply #16 of 63)

I agree with Glenys.  Slightly undercook, then refrigerate.  I always say at LEAST overnight, but when I make creme brulee or any custard, I always make it at least 24 hours prior to serving.  A good chill sets everything up perfectly.


I really like turbinado for the topping.  It seems to caramalize more even (?I know that was bad grammar, but can't think of how to fix it~ (G)).  Have tried brown sugar, but don't care for it.  I think it produces a "heavy" tasting topping, when the topping of creme brulee should be nice and light tasting and crisp.


 


 


wtf    - Biscuit

Ancora Imparo -

UncleDunc's picture

(post #27482, reply #18 of 63)

Since you asked, ;) I think "it seems to caramelize more evenly" would be adequate.

wrick2003's picture

(post #27482, reply #19 of 63)

thank you all so much for your ideas. i was planning on using the torinado.


and it would be a plumbing torch, since i'm usually over at FWW or FHB.


thanks            rg


 


 

BondFBond's picture

(post #27482, reply #20 of 63)

Ricky:  There have been discussions about torches here, too, and I believe the final consensus was that the torches "made for the kitchen" s u c k e d ('scuse me), that the hardware-store kind were the preferred by far.  My DH gave me one and I have a really small "tank" attached, more appropriate for the kitchen...


 

madnoodle's picture

(post #27482, reply #21 of 63)

Only slightly off-topic--there's a great creme brulee reference in the movie Amelie, which I finally saw--and thoroughly enjoyed--last weekend. 

Canada:  where different coloured money makes sense.

What if there were no hypothetical questions?

 

RuthWells's picture

(post #27482, reply #22 of 63)

Have tried brown sugar, but don't care for it.  I think it produces a "heavy" tasting topping


I agree, Biscuit, and have found that drying out the brown sugar reduces that heaviness.  But clearly I'm going to have to try turbinado.  Creme brulee is one of the few desserts my hubby actually likes, and he's been carrying a huge proportion of the household load this month... I think he deserves a treat!  All in the pursuit of scientific exploration, of course.


 


Ruth Wells


"I think that men make more mistakes
by being too clever
than by being too good." - G.B. Shaw

Ruth Wells

"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

www.lemonade-and-kidneys.blogspot.com

www.ruthssweetpleasures.com

http://www.pkdcure.org/Default.aspx?TabI...

Biscuits's picture

(post #27482, reply #23 of 63)

You know, Ruth, I had one that was simply fantastic on my now-infamous trip to New Orleans.  I've managed to recreate the taste.  It had orange zest (strips not finely zested), cardamom pods and fennel seeds steeped in the cream.  You just put those ingredients along with some vanilla in the cream, heat the cream, then take it off the heat and let cool.  When you pour it into the cream, you just strain out the solids.  Go easy on the cardmom pods.  I used 2 green cardamom pods and about 1/8 tsp. fennel, plus 2 largish strips of orange zest and 1/2 of a vanilla bean per 2 c. heavy cream.  The flavor is supposed to be somewhat on the subtle side.


 


 


 


wtf    - Biscuit

Ancora Imparo -

RuthWells's picture

(post #27482, reply #24 of 63)

Sounds delish.  I haven't done alot of experimenting with flavors, as hubby is a bit of a traditionalist.... maybe I'll surprise him this time!  I don't happen to have cardamom pods on hand, but steeping with zest is certainly doable.




 


Ruth Wells


"I think that men make more mistakes
by being too clever
than by being too good." - G.B. Shaw

Ruth Wells

"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

www.lemonade-and-kidneys.blogspot.com

www.ruthssweetpleasures.com

http://www.pkdcure.org/Default.aspx?TabI...

MadMom's picture

(post #27482, reply #25 of 63)

I also had excellent luck by adding some rosemary to the cream and steeping it.  Very subtle but delicious taste.

Things are going to get a lot worse before they get worse.
Lily Tomlin

TracyK's picture

(post #27482, reply #26 of 63)

I posted a Bailey's Irish Cream version a while back that is TDF. :-)


"Noncooks think it's silly to invest two hours' work in two minutes' enjoyment; but if cooking is evanescent, so is the ballet."


Julia Child

plantlust's picture

(post #27482, reply #27 of 63)

Resurrecting this thread for a plea:


Any clues on making a decent Chocolate Brulee?  I was thinking about putting cocoa into the cream and heating.  Then I thought about mixing cocoa into the sugar/yolk mix.  Now I'm thinking maybe the heated cream should melt actual chocolate pieces. 


I have checked Cocolate and Bittersweet, no luck.  I suspect she may have put it in A Year in Chocolate.  Would appreciate any ideas. 


My preciousssss, I wantsss my precioussss NOW.

Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with parsley sauce, goat cheese garlic mashed potatoes, Galena Cellars Niagra grape wine & Pie Boss's apple crumble topped with Ruth & Phil's sour cream/cinnamon ice cream.

shoechick's picture

(post #27482, reply #28 of 63)

Valrhona Chocolate Crème Brûlée

 





2 cups heavy cream
3 oz. Valrhona or other bittersweet chocolate,
 chopped into small pieces
3 egg yolks
6 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat an oven to 325ºF. Have a pot of boiling water ready.

In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the cream until small bubbles form around the edges of the pan, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate until melted and blended. Let cool slightly.

In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and 2 Tbs. of the sugar until the mixture is pale yellow and thick ribbons fall from the whisk, about 5 minutes. Slowly stir in the warm chocolate cream, then stir in the vanilla.

Line a 3-inch-deep baking pan with a kitchen towel and place four 6-oz. ramekins in the pan. Pour the chocolate mixture through a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl. Divide the chocolate mixture among the ramekins. Add boiling water to fill the pan halfway up the sides of the ramekins and cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil.

Bake until the custards are just set around the edges, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the ramekins to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.

Just before serving, sprinkle 1 Tbs. sugar evenly over the surface of each custard. Using a kitchen torch, move the flame continuously in small circles over the surface until the sugar bubbles and just begins to turn golden, 20 to 30 seconds per custard. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.


This is the one that I use - Yum!!  it's from Williams Sonoma's website.


Born Free....Now I'm Expensive

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.  ~St. Augustine

plantlust's picture

(post #27482, reply #29 of 63)

Well, I feel totally inadequate.


I was feeling cocky after my triumph w/the beef stew so I decided to make creme brulee (another first).  And what happens?!


Liquid, after baking 25min at 300 I get liquid.  Tasty chocolate banana but still liquid.


Now I understand things can go wrong but I need a list.  I used MC's master recipe, 5 egg yolks.  Very little white at all.  I thoroughly mixed the eggs w/the sugar until it was almost triple in volume.  Heated the cream w/the bananas until it boiled.  Added the chocolate.  Too much cream maybe?  Poured a little of the warm cream mix into the eggs, mixed and then put in the rest.  Possible that the cream was too hot?  Placed mixed mix into the ramekins in a preheated over.  Warm water bath.  Not baked long enough?  How do you people figure this stuff OUT?!?


Hmmm, is this one of those recipes that is fussy about being doubled?
Didn't our resident scientist have a creme brulee disaster too? 


 


My preciousssss, I wantsss my precioussss NOW.

Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with parsley sauce, goat cheese garlic mashed potatoes, Galena Cellars Niagra grape wine & Pie Boss's apple crumble topped with Ruth & Phil's sour cream/cinnamon ice cream.

shoechick's picture

(post #27482, reply #30 of 63)

Now by no means am I an expert, but the creme brulee recipe that I use says 350 for 45 - 50 minutes.  That's probably the problem.

Born Free....Now I'm Expensive

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.  ~St. Augustine

plantlust's picture

(post #27482, reply #31 of 63)

You mean there could be hope?


Wooo Hooo!  I'm putting it back in the oven for more time.  Hot dog!  I hope this works.


Thanks


My preciousssss, I wantsss my precioussss NOW.

Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with parsley sauce, goat cheese garlic mashed potatoes, Galena Cellars Niagra grape wine & Pie Boss's apple crumble topped with Ruth & Phil's sour cream/cinnamon ice cream.